Tejano Singer. A Hispanic singing idol, she was murdered at age 23 at the Days Inn, Room 158, in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was the Grammy winning queen of Tejano music and sold more than 1.5 million records. Born in Lake Jackson, Texas, her father, Abraham Quintanilla, was a respected Latino musician who played with a group called Los Dinos. By the time she was ten years old, Selena would join Los Dinos, singing with the group. Although English was her native language, she sang almost exclusively in Spanish, in a Tex-Mex pop style called Tejano. Selena came to national attention in 1987, when she won Female Vocalist of the Year at the annual Tejano Music Awards. Two years later, she and her band were signed to EMI Latin Records, releasing their first album in 1990. Between 1990 and 1994, Selena became a major force in Latin music, although she was virtually unknown to English speaking American audiences. Her first national exposure came in the film "Don Juan DeMarco" (released in 1995), in which she played a singer. In 1994, she won a Grammy Award for her album "Live," and the following year, was nominated for a Grammy for her song "Amor Prohibito" (Forbidden Love). She began to make an English-language pop album, "Dreaming of You," to appeal to more English-speaking Americans, which was released after her death. Selena was killed by Yolanda Saldivar, the president of her fan club and manager of the singer's chain of beauty salons and boutiques. Selena believed that Saldivar had stolen over $30,000 from her businesses, and when Selena confronted her in her motel room, Saldivar shot her once in the back; Selena made it to the motel lobby, where she collapsed, naming Saldivar as her assailant, but died shortly afterwards from blood loss. The Latino community mourned her as a Mexican-American Elvis, and her records had steadily climbed in popularity since her death. She was buried three years and a day after her wedding to guitarist Chris Perez. On October 23, 1995, Yolanda Saldivar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Yolanda will be eligible for parole in October 2025.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson