All she ever wanted was to sing—a simple enough wish for a young girl, growing up in Corpus Christi, Texas.
And every single time Selena Quintanilla took the stage, any stage, whether at a local festival or a sold-out Houston Astrodome, the power of her vision and scope of her talent was evident to all in attendance.
Selena not only reached every Latinx looking to identify with greatness, she inspired them to reach for las estrellas, to demand to be heard. She shook them, woke them up, and left us, so cruelly, at the age of 23.
And nothing has been the same since.
Today, March 31, marks the 22nd anniversary of her tragic passing, and her influence has never been stronger—just ask Drake or Katy Perry or Jennifer Lopez. If you’re a Latinx musician, in particular, you’re forever indebted to the “Queen of Tejano.” She laid the blueprint on how an American Latinx artist could move seamlessly between both Spanish language and Anglo markets.
To commemorate her life and impact, present day superstars (J Balvin), promising up-and-comers (Karen Rodriguez) and even legends (Ednita Nazario) share their thoughts on Selena’s wide-reaching influence and impact on a community who could finally claim a superstar as their own. #AnythingForSelenas
“Selena showed me that by embracing my culture and rich heritage, I could achieve my own dreams of being an entertainer and singer without sacrificing my identity. Selena is my biggest artistic influence. She stood out amongst the Mariahs, Whitneys and Madonnas of the world and made her mark by staying true to the things that made her different—instead of conforming to the norms of the mainstream. My favorite songs ‘No Me Queda Más’ and ‘I Could Fall In Love’ influenced me because I saw how flawlessly she could sing in both English and Spanish”
“She inspired me to sing at a young age. I used to sit in my room with my CD player and try to sing along to all her songs. She is also a fashion icon—her style inspired my style as well. Her energy and talent were so magical that 22 years later she is still making an impact on pop culture. She was a pioneer in making Latin (bi-cultural) culture mainstream. From her music, The Selena Mac Collection, merchandise, La Fiesta de la Flor Festival, people still can’t get enough of her!”
“Selena was always one of my role models. I grew up listening to her but her story is what resonates with me personally. Her music influenced me in many ways from sound to her impact on style and culture. Selena has fans from different backgrounds and her music joins people together, which is something I also wish to do. Selena is still so popular because she was one of one. Her style, her poise and talent can’t be duplicated so generations to come forever appreciate what she brought to the world and what she did for Latinas.”
“Selena is and will always be a worldwide legacy for Latin music culture. Her music and career is a huge inspiration and example for me and many others.”
“Man, Selena means . . . everything! Selena forever! She’s the first artist that I really identified with; I remember watching her on Siempre en Domingo, and watching her play with her band and how she had this very R&B kind of voice but she was singing cumbias and Tejano music. And then when I heard her accent and realized that she was from Texas, that she was Mexican American, it made me connect with her even more. Because here was this Mexican American girl singing in Spanish even though she spoke very broken Spanish. I felt very proud of that. I discovered her when I was living in Mexico and she made it. She made it out there in Mexico, she made it in the States and that made me feel like maybe I could have the possibility of one day, with my sueños of being a singer that I could too. I remember playing her tapes and singing at home con la escoba trapiando and pretending that I was Selena. She is a big influence.”
“She is one of our biggest icons and represents the word ‘Latino.’”
“Selena means hope. Coming from the same city [Corpus Christi] as her, shows that someone like myself can make it in this industry no matter where you are from. Her being a Hispanic woman, facing many obstacles and still winning is inspiring! Her music has always inspired me to use my cultural roots, as well as what I am into now and mix the styles together to make my own sound! Kumbia!”
“For me Selena is everything that as a woman I want to achieve in my career. I identify closely with her story: A girl who started small, a family of musicians, with the support of her father and entering a genre led by men; it’s my same journey. Beyond good music, good image, Selena created a brand, a true artist, an idol and has managed to be a legend that lives on even though she is no longer with us.”
“When I think of Selena I can’t help but to smile. She really made my childhood so much better. Her swag, her story, her personality, all of it just captivated me until this very day. She gives me hope in so many ways and for so many reasons. Selena’s music has influenced me in my own career because just like her I’m also a Mexican American trying to make it in the Spanish world of music. She made it big in Mexico, and that’s not easy to do when you’re not born in Mexico, but she accomplished that and so much more.”
“Being an artist that feels 100 percent American and 100 percent Hispanic can be tricky at times, especially, in the era we are living in today. Selena gave me a sense of belonging and created an opening in this industry and a market in the U.S. and the rest of the world for bicultural artists like myself. I will forever thank my immortal goddess Selena for not being afraid to be herself and in doing so inspiring others to do the same. It’s one thing to be a powerful, brave and outspoken Latin American woman in today’s world but to do it when she did it took a special type of person and we are all indebted to her for it.”
“I met Selena when she was starting out at a EMI showcase when she was just signed. She was full of life and dreams. Her music was fresh and her voice was very distinctive. We talked about music and what she wanted to accomplish in the industry. At that point, her dream was to be recognized in México. I saw the beginning of that dream coming true, and then some! I loved her energy and that amazing smile that won so many hearts, including mine. Her music will always be a reference of a time when Latinos were beginning to break barriers in the U.S. and the Hispanic American market. Too young to leave us, too soon! But what an amazing legacy in such a short span of life. She will never be forgotten. And I’m lucky to have met her. Selena Vive!”
“Selena was an artist full of talent, dreams and passion. Her music has definitely influenced many female vocalists and still remains very relevant in the industry. We need more powerful female vocalists in our market like her.”
“Selena was pure passion, pure character. Her rhythm and musical feeling is present in Mexico, Colombia and many other Latin countries. She is undoubtedly one of the real Latin divas.”
“I would listen to her music in my abuela’s house and I watched her last concert with my abuela. It really changed my life. She gave me the courage to want to sing and act. I was blessed with the opportunity to get up on stage and jam out with Los Dinos this month and perform my favorite song, ‘Como La Flor’—it all came full circle. My dream did come true! She’d been through heartbreak when she recorded that track and I went through a break up, when my boyfriend at the time fell in love with someone else. I felt like she went through this heartbreak with me. She has influenced me as a Latina, as a singer and as a human being. All the feels!”
“Selena and her band were trailblazers, making música en Español in the U.S. cool and liked by many, not just by Latinos. She was the perfect crossover artist, combining her cultural roots with the pop sensibilities of the moment. She showed me that a smart, well-written pop song can transcend any language barrier. And also, who would of thought that a Pretenders cumbia cover (“Fotos y Recuerdos”) could rock so hard? Pure genius.”
“Selena means the world to me, as she was one of my biggest influences in music growing up. I started singing when I was 8, and her music was a big part of my upbringing and was the main source of my daily vocal rehearsals. Her voice was a powerhouse with such a unique sound, and I was absolutely obsessed with it. I can’t wait to have a daughter, and one day play Selena’s music for her. It’s timeless.”
“I used to sing and dance her songs in every talent show that I can remember. I fell in love with performing through her music because it was fun, and she told stories and she made us feel. Those three elements are the ones I seek the most when writing songs. I aspire to transmit these things to other people the same way she did to me. This is how her music continues to influence me.”
“Selena means Queen of Queens, world icon, magic, talent, feeling, beauty and inspiration. Her lyrics have influenced my lyrics in an unimaginable way. Songs like “Techno Cumbia” allowed me to fall in love with the urban genre. “Como La Flor” and “Si Una Vez” allowed me to fall in love with love and falling out of love. Her voice and interpretation taught me to live what I am singing and not to be afraid to push forward.”
“She was an incredibly strong woman who was in an industry that doesn’t always have room for women with different body shapes or skin color and she was always proud of who she was, of her heritage and her body. She was a border artist, a feminist and an inspiration to many children of color, especially girls. She helped them believe they could do anything if they set their minds to it.”
“Selena influenced me with her leadership by being a Latina woman who pursued what she wanted while staying true to her roots though she was born in the US. Her music has soul.”
“She influenced me through my sister. My sister used to listen to her and I got to listen to her too. I remember when she died it was a sad day in Puerto Rico. Her voice was very important for immigrants as well. She is important because she proved that when you have a goal and you are determined you can make it. She started from nothing to have everything.”
“To this people embrace her music and doing movies, books and so many things about Selena. She has influenced so many artists like J. Lo, the late Jenni Rivera. She is a huge icon even though she’s not with us. May she rest in peace. Her music still lives on and you realize how music is endless.”
TIDAL is proud to announce the world's first music service with High Fidelity sound quality, High Definition music videos and expertly curated Editorial.