In 1995, Selena was shot to death in Corpus Christi by the founder of her fan club. Yolanda Saldivar was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
At 23, Selena broke concert and attendance records at home and abroad. She became the first Latino singer to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Selena continues to inspire many artists across all music genres.
She started singing Tejano music in her father’s restaurant in Lake Jackson, Texas. Her father Abraham taught the family band and named them Los Dinos after his own group from earlier years.
Selena was only 15 when she won female entertainer of the year at the Tejano Music Awards. In 1994, she won a Grammy for best Mexican-American album for “Selena Live!” Her English-language album was months from release when she was shot and killed.
Selena didn’t grow up speaking Spanish and neither did her husband, Chris Perez, who played guitar in her band and fell in love with her on the road.
In his book, “To Selena, with Love,” Perez said they practiced speaking Spanish before their first big publicity blitz in Mexico.
“In Mexico, Selena mangled her conversations in Spanish like the rest of us, but not for long,” Perez wrote.
“She said, ‘It’ll be cool. You watch. I’m going to learn Spanish and surprise everybody,'” Perez said. “She got better and better, to the point where I’d have to ask her to slow down so that I could understand what she was saying.”
She sold out the Astrodome
Selena performed several times at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at the Astrodome to sold-out crowds of more than 60,000.
“We had 20 performances this year,” Leroy Shafer, assistant general manager of the show, told the New York Times in 1995. “We had Reba McEntire, George Strait, Clint Black and Vince Gill. She had the highest-selling show concert at our show this year, at 61,041 in the Astrodome.”
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