Selena Biography


Selena Quintanilla-Perez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16. 1971; Easter Sunday. Her parents, Marcella and Abraham Quintanilla Jr. were delighted to have a new addition to their family which already had two children; Abraham Quintanilla III (A.B.) then 8, and Suzette then 4.

Abraham always had a passion for music. In the late 50's and early 60's he was part of the group Los Dinos (The Guys). When his children were very young, he began to teach them an instrument. A.B. the bass and Suzette the drums. When Selena was just 3 years old, she demanded to know why her father was leaving her out of the music. Abraham simply said she was too young. Right then Selena showed him she was not too young, she showed him her own instrument, her voice. Abraham couldn't believe what a beautiful sound she heard. By the time Selena was 6, she was already singing like a pro in English and in Spanish, even though she didn't speak the language, alongside her brother, sister, and father.

When Selena was 9, her father started the group Selena Y Los Dinos (Selena and The Guys). The group's first performances were in Papagallos, the Quintanilla family's restaurant opened in 1980. Everyone who saw her, even at that young age, knew she was going to be a star someday.

Soon the restaurant fell and the Quintanilla family went bankrupt, they were out on the streets without a roof over their head. The family moved to Corpus Christi, Texas where they piled into an old bus with all their musical equipment. They played everywhere they could, on streets, at weddings... Soon all the hard work paid off. Selena recorded her first album in 1984 under the Freddie label. This album was not released just then and the original copies were bought by Abraham. However, the album was released in 1995 titled "Mis Primeras Grabaciones."

Because Selena was getting even more popular and the traveling to perform was interfering with school, Abraham pulled her out of school when she was in the 8th grade. Even though she was not attending school anymore, Selena earned a high school degree from a correspondence school in Chicago.

In 1986, Selena's career really began to take off. Her second album, Alpha, was released then. At the Tejano Music Awards, she took the award for Female Vocalist of the Year (this was just the start of Selena sweeping the Tejano Music Awards for the next 10 years). Another important thing that happened in 1986 was she was discovered by two huge names in the Tejano music industry; Rick TreviÒo, founder of the Tejano Music Awards, and Johnny Canales, an entertainer with one of the top Spanish television shows.

In 1988, two more Selena albums were released, Preciosa and Dulce Amor. But it was in 1989 when Selena got her big break. That year, she signed with Capitol/EMI Latin label. By this time, Selena's concerts were drawing thousands of people and her band was expanding. Pete Astudillo joined Selena Y Los Dinos and can be heard on such hit duets as "Yo Te Amo" ("I Love You") and "Siempre Estoy Pensando En Ti" ("I'm Always Thinking Of You"). A.B. (who was already writing most of Selena's songs) joined Pete and wrote such it songs as "Como La Flor" ("Like A Flower"). Pete stayed with the band for 4 years but left in 1993 to go solo.

In 1988, Selena met a guitarist named Chris Perez. Chris had performed with the popular singer Shelly Lares and even had his own band. The Quintanilla family hired him to be in the band in 1990. On April 3, 1992, Selena married Chris Perez.

In 1990, a fan approached Abraham with the idea of starting a fan club. Her name was Yolanda Saldivar. Her wish was granted. She was often referred to as Selena's biggest fan. Yolanda became a very close friend of Selena's, but later on, one of her worst enemies

Ven Conmigo (Come With Me) was released in 1990. That album had such hits as "Baila Esta Cumbia" ("Dance This Cumbia"). Another hit album, Entre A Mi Mundo (Come Into My World), was released in 1992. Such hits from that album like "Como La Flor" and "La Carcacha" ("The Old Car") made Selena a star. Her 1993 Live album one her a Grammy award for Best Mexican American Performance. But 1994 was her best year, that was when she truly became a superstar.

In 1994, Selena released Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love). An album that even knocked Gloria Estefan's "Mi Tierra" off the number one spot on the charts. By March of 1995, it had sold over 400,000 copies. Amor Prohibido included such hits as "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom," the title track, "Fotos Y Recuerdos" ("Photos And Memories"), "No Me Queda Mas" ("I've Got Nothing Left"), and "El Chico Del Apartamento 512" ("The Boy Of Apartment 512"). Also in that year, Selena opened her boutique and salon, Selena Etc., in Corpus Christi. It had been her dream since she was a little girl to sell the clothing and jewelry that she loved to design. In January of 1995, another boutique opened in San Antonio, Texas.

In February of 1995, Selena sold out the Houston Astrodome with her last concert for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. A record attendance for any Tejana.

Also in February, trouble started with the Selena Fan Club. People were complaining that they weren't receiving their packets they paid for. The Quintanilla family confronted Yolanda, who by this time was also manager of the boutiques. Money also started to turn up missing from the Selena Etc. account. Yolanda was stealing from them. On March 12, 1995, Selena fired Yolanda. Although she was fired, Yolanda continued to work because there were papers missing. On March 30, Selena went to where Yolanda was staying in Corpus, a Days Inn motel, to get the missing paperwork. When Selena and Chris got home that night, they found out that some of the papers were still missing. Early the next morning, Selena got up and went to face Yolanda again. There Yolanda told her she had been raped in Monterey, Mexico and needed to go to the hospital. Being the kind person that Selena was, she took her. After about an hour, Selena and Yolanda returned to the motel and argued. Selena told her that she just couldn't be trusted anymore. At 11:48 am, Yolanda took out a gun, and fired at Selena. The bullet struck her in her right shoulder. With all her strength, Selena ran towards the lobby to get help. She collapsed on the floor as the clerk called 911. Soon an ambulance came to take Selena to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 1:09 PM.

News of Selena's death spread all over the world. Selena fans mourned the loss of their queen, the queen of Tejano music. Thousands and thousands of fans passed by her coffin. The Friday she died, will always be known as Black Friday...

In July of 1995, her dream of crossing over into the pop market was accomplished. The first single released from her English album Dreaming Of You, "I Could Fall In Love," instantly became a hit and was in heavy rotation all across the US. Dreaming Of You instantly hit the charts at number one, if only Selena was here to see her dream come true. Selena will always be in the hearts of her millions of fans, she will never be forgotten. We love you Selena!!

Biography by Anna Haarsager

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