Today marks the 21st anniversary of the death of Selena Quintanilla, the Tejano music star who was murdered at a Days Inn Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 31, 1995.
The performer was just 23 years old, but already acclaimed for her unique talent, which brought Latin music to the mainstream by blending traditional Tejano style with modern pop music. She excelled in the male-dominated world of Tejano music, bringing Mexican-American culture to a national audience and inspiring people around the country to embrace their cultural roots and chase their dreams along the way. To honor the memory of Selena, we’re taking some time to look back at some of her best songs.
“Contigo Quiero Estar”
Selena got her musical start as a child in the early ’80s, performing at fairs, quinceañeras, weddings and on streets corners with her band, Selena y Los Dinos. The group released 6 LPs during the mid-to-late ’80s, but the performer didn’t find crossover success until her debut studio album, 1989’s Selena. The lead single from the album, “Contigo Quiero Estar,” became a precursor to her future fame, garnering solid response that paved the way for even bigger hits.
“Baila Esta Cumbia”
With her second album, 1990’s Ven Conmigo, Selena really began to become a star. The traditional cumbia rhythm of single “Baila Esta Cumbia” helped her gain exposure across new radio stations that were initially reluctant to play the performer’s releases. Even better, the song proved how well Selena could blend traditional Latin music styles with ’90s pop flair. Watching this live video, you can really see her star quality, turning in a great performance and engaging with the crowd like a pro.
“Como La Flor”
For many fans, 1992’s Entre Mi Mundo is Selena’s best album, marking her true breakthrough to music’s mainstream. The singer was finally being accepted and embraced by a community that was originally reluctant to give her Mexican-American style a chance. Fittingly, the album’s lead single “Como La Flor” became one of her signature songs, a quintessential sample of Selena’s style and a symbol of her success.
By 1994 Selena was probably the best known Latin music artist in the U.S.,if not the world, and with Amor Prohibido set out to create an album that embraced a wider range of styles while remaining accessible to new fans. The title track off the album is a perfect example of that, with a smooth inviting dance-pop rhythm that provides the perfect backing for her Spanish vocals.
“No Me Queda Más”
Though much of Selena’s catalog included fast, dance-focused songs, but the singer was equally adept at bringing luscious ballads to life. That’s maybe most obvious in “No Me Queda Mas,” a beautiful display of Selena’s vocals on a down-tempo flamenco-influenced ballad. The sheer emotion in her words is seriously impressive, proving without a doubt that she was an incredible singer.
How are you honoring the memory of the singer today? What’s your favorite Selena song? Let us know in the comments below.