Selena Quintanilla Perez: the Queen of Tejano Music

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Updated: Aug 18, 2023
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Known as the queen of Tejano music, she was an irreplaceable icon. One of the first female artists to succeed, she touched many Tejano hearts. She made numerous incredible records and dreamed of achieving all her goals. Selena Quintanilla is known for her great vocals, unique dance moves, and, sadly, the tragic circumstances of her death.

Recognized as “The queen of Tejano music,” Selena was one of the first female performers to find success. She put her heart and passion into her music, conquering the hearts of many Tejano and Latin Americans.

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Selena was not only a successful singer but also a fashion designer and entrepreneur. Beyond her artistic achievements, she was a role model to many fans.

Selena was a diligent student. Her first-grade teacher remembered her big smile and perky personality, saying, “Children who have a very cheerful personality frequently do go on to influence people, and that’s the strength I saw in Selena.” She began her schooling at Oran M Roberts Elementary in Lake Jackson. She was a helpful student and eager to learn, but her commitment to the band often pulled her away from the classroom. Consequently, Selena dropped out of school in eighth grade, pursued a home school program, and completed her education. By the time she was a teenager, she was already a professional artist. Despite her rising stardom, she helped her family earn a living, stating that she didn’t mind not having the freedom to party or have a boyfriend.

When Selena was growing up, oil prices plummeted, causing many to lose their jobs. Consequently, going out to eat became a luxury. With her family owning a restaurant, they faced bankruptcy and lost their home and restaurant within a year. “That’s when we began our musical career,” Selena explained to a news reporter (Salem, 2013). Following this hardship, Selena’s family moved to Corpus Christi and started performing at special events. From a west side barrio, Selena became a symbol of hope for achieving success. According to Olga (March 27,2005), “She never acted like the big star she was and she always spoke of wanting to have a family and children.” Despite her fame and success as a music artist – leading a band managed by her father and comprised of her brother, sister, and husband – Selena remained humble, never bragging about her achievements or Grammy awards. She knew what it felt like to be at the bottom, which is why she always stayed grounded.

“As Selena once described it herself, ‘It’s got polka in it, a little bit of country, a little bit of jazz. Fuse all those types of music together; I think that’s where you get Tejano,'” (Salem, 2013). Tejano, meaning Texas in Spanish, is a term used to describe a certain style of music played in southern Texas and along the Mexican border for almost 100 years. Selena listened to this type of music in her childhood. Tejano music is a modernized form of Conjunto, and above all, it is dance music, also known as Tex-Mex music. “Amor prohibido, bidi bidi bam bam, techno cumbia, como la flor” — these songs are some of Selena’s top hits and were part of her last recordings before her untimely death. The album, featuring several cuts in English and two bilingual duets, sold 175,000 copies on the first day of release.

Her albums reached the number 1 spot on Billboard’s pop chart. Selena’s first English-language release was a huge success. Many people believe Selena had an amazing voice; she could hit low and high notes flawlessly. Her father was instrumental in nurturing her vocal talent, providing constant encouragement and feedback. He was protective, often asserted as controlling, but always motivated by his daughter’s safety and wellbeing. Unlike the typical teenager, Selena wasn’t given to partying due to her parents’ strictness and the ever-increasing demand from her fans. Her father took this role seriously, recognizing the potential dangers associated with her growing fame. Despite the restrictions, Selena was a vibrant performer, always infusing her performances with a touch of dance and excitement, which made her a beloved entertainer to her fans.

Selena’s sudden demise was a catastrophic blow to her fans and caused widespread shock and sorrow. Her loss was particularly poignant considering her staggering talent and the inspiration she provided to many. She became an icon, especially to young girls who were born after her death. They still see Selena as a woman who was proud of her roots and achieved many dreams. She remains an enduring icon and a source of inspiration for many. Selena Quintanilla is famously known for her singing, dancing, and acting and is also remembered for her tragic death. She holds a special place in many Tejano hearts and continues to be an irreplaceable artist.


  1. Barbour, M. (1997). Biography Today 1996: Profiles of People of Interest to Young Readers. Omnigraphics.
  2. Chinchilla-Gonzalez, G. (2013). Selena. Salem Press Biographical Encyclopedia,
  3. Garcia, J. (1996, Apr 08). Living proof; father sees himself as the guardian of selena’s legacy. Austin American Statesman Retrieved from
  4. Rodriguez, O. R. (2005, Mar 27). 10 years after her death, selena’s draw is stronger than ever. The Record Retrieved from
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Selena Quintanilla Perez: the Queen of Tejano Music. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from