Thirty years ago, our queen, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, best known as only Selena, graced the world with a piece of heaven through her music. Musically, we might not even be where we are if it weren’t for the phenomenon she was on and off stage. Her experimental melodies and unmatched charisma led her to become one of the most influential Latinas in the history. Because of this, today we are honoring the girl who used her voice to change the world without even realizing it. So, here’s to Selena, the eternal “Queen of Tejano Music.”
Before the energetic sound of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and the hybrid of sounds radiating from one of her classics, “Amor Prohibido,” she gave us plenty of bops to obsess over from her first studio album. The magical moment happened on the 17th of October in 1989. This is when she released her adequately self-titled debut album, Selena.
After performing endless nights in small events, Selena got signed by the record label, Capitol EMI. This helped her create her first studio album, which had been a goal for so long. Not only for her but for her family as well. Almost immediately after becoming acquainted with the label, Jose Behar, a producer at Capitol EMI, took Selena under his wing. While hearing her music, he felt that he had found the next Gloria Estefan or a singer that had similar talents to matched established top artists. He knew he had to develop her as best as possible. Selena did not waste this opportunity, either. She went on to make the most of it and thank goodness for that. We didn’t know it then, but we needed that.
In her self-titled album, Selena, she was able to give us a taste for what she had in store for her lifelong diehard fans. She gave us a timeless taste of what she wanted the world to feel in 1989. Each note was carefully laced with complex notes only her voice had mastered in those times. She gave us cumbia, pop, Tejano, and R&B, all in one, making it sound so effortless. You can dance, cry, laugh, and scream the lyrics at the top of your lungs. Somehow, I feel this is how Selena would have wanted you to enjoy her music.
Someone please queue “Tengo Ganas de Llorar” from the Selena album right about now.
Selena’s voice and music style was not the only thing that set her apart from her peers. It was who she represented that made her different as well.
At first glance, Selena was stunning. She wore a continuous large smile that was always paired with colored lips, flashy outfits (which she always designed herself), and bombastic energy that left everyone wondering if she ever got tired. And can we forget her hairstyles? God, I used to fawn over her extravagant up-dos so much. I even had some style on me a few times. However, what we also loved about her (without realizing it) was that she was a Latina of color. Selena obviously had Latina features, something Americans, or even our community, wasn’t used to seeing, or at least in the artists they celebrated. But, none of that mattered back then. For once, someone’s vibe was enough to unite everyone. She was one of the first artists, a Latina artist nonetheless, who became an international sensation in every sense of the word. Her vibrant personality acted as a glue to pull people together, despite their differences. An interconnection through music, if you may. Maybe we wouldn’t have been thinking of this in the ’90s (the ’90s were different), but looking back into it, her influence was astronomical.
Her impact has transcended her tragic departure for this world almost instantly. Rather than forgetting her, we’ve been celebrating her as the immortal icon she has become through her music.
Proof of this is how the public reacted to her passing. Shortly after Selena’s fans and families received the worst possible news, George Bush, who was the governor of Texas at that time, declared Selena Day on April 16 that year. He said this was important to do since she had represented the essence of South Texas. This was just the beginning of the world expressing their love for the late Selena.
Below are some places you can visit at some point in your life to commemorate our Queen Selena:
- The Mirador de la Flor
- The Selena Museum
- Selena Star at South Texas Music Walk of Fame
- Selena’s Gravesite
Her eclectic music and the person she once is an undying force that continues to live on within our world. I know some people may think that Selena fans are a bit much, but so what? I’m never going to get tired of keeping Selena’s legacy alive. It’s the least we can do. Don’t you think so? Anyway, before we continue, can someone play “La Bamba” from the Selena album? It’s time to dance in honor of our beloved Selena.