The death of Selena Quintanilla was one of the saddest events in music history. Selena was just at the beginning of a promising career. People referred to her as the Queen of Tejano music, or the Tejano Madonna, considering her the most prominent name of Tejano music (a music style that mixes Mexican and Amerian influences). And her murder shocked everybody because of her young age (she was only 23) and the dynamics of how it happened. This article will explore Selena as an artist, her life, and her death.
The Tejano Madonna
Selena Quintanilla was labeled the “Tejano Madonna” because of her fashion style and the many similarities to the other Madonna. She started making music when she was only 13, in the group Selena y Los Dinos, which also included some of her older siblings. She released six albums as a group member, and then, after her 18th birthday, she started releasing solo albums. After all, Selena was the public face of her group, and people already loved her.
With her solo career, she intended to launch her image in the international Latin music market. She kept singing in Spanish; however, she aimed not only at the Latin world but also at the United States. In 1994 her album Amor Prohibido broke her personal sales record and convinced her that it was time to try the following crucial step: an English album. She started working on her upcoming English disc immediately, while the singles of Amor Prohibido spread in the Latin world. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom was one of her most successful singles ever.
Her next album was supposed to be her final breakthrough in the English-speaking music market. The last single she published before her death was Fotos Y Recuerdos, still in Spanish. The album counted several English songs, like the one that gave the title to the record, Dreaming Of You: a single released posthumously that quickly became one of her most popular tracks.
When Dreaming of You was released, Selena was already dead. And people were still coping with her unexpected death.
The shocking death of Selena Quintanilla
On March 31, 1995, Selena Quintanilla was shot in the back by Yolanda Saldívar in a room of the Days Inn hotel in Texas. Her death arrived a short time after the shot, despite the attempts of the hotel’s first-aid team to reanimate her.
Yolanda Saldívar was the girl who founded her fan club. She considered herself Selena’s biggest fan, and Selena’s father and manager appointed her as head of the fan club in 1991. Some years later, in 1994, Selena’s father asked Yolanda to manage also Selena’s boutiques.
During Yolanda’s management, Selena received many complaints from angry fans who tried to buy items in her boutiques and received nothing in return. After some internal checks, Selena discovered that Yolanda embezzled 60 thousand dollars from the fan club and the boutiques.
That day in 1995, Selena went to Yolanda’s room in the hotel to confront her about the issue. She intended to fire her as the boutique’s manager. According to the investigations, that morning Selena followed Yolanda into her room and asked her for proof that she didn’t embezzle the money. Yolanda pulled out a revolver from her purse and shot Selena in the back. Obviously, Yolanda couldn’t accept the firing. She had purchased the gun the day after Selena removed her name from the boutique’s bank account.
After she shot Selena, Yolanda entered her pick-up and tried to drive away. The police blocked her, and she threatened to commit suicide with her revolver. A special unit intervened and convinced Yolanda to come out of the pick-up after a 4-hour standoff.
Yolanda pleaded not guilty at the trial, saying the shooting was accidental. According to her explanation, she intended to use the revolver to shoot herself, but she accidentally shot Selena.
Selena Quintanilla death was unexpected to the whole fan base, and her music survived her for years.
In 2022, Selena’s family helped to release a new posthumous album, Moonchild Mixes, with songs recorded before the start of Selena’s solo career. The new album’s first single is Como Te Quiero Yo A Ti, and you can stream it below.