It’s been 25 years since Selena Quintanilla was shot and killed at the age of 23 by her fan club president and former boutique manager, Yolanda Saldívar, in March 1995.
Quintanilla was born on April 16, 1971, to Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Marcella Quintanilla in Lake Jackson, Texas. Her father was the frontman of a band that played Tejano, a mix of American rock music and traditional Mexican music. Abraham Jr. recognized Selena’s singing talent when she was just 6 years old and decided to form Selena y Los Dinos, a band with her and two of his other children. The group performed at the family’s restaurant as well as weddings and parties.
After their restaurant was forced to close its doors in 1981, their band became the family’s primary source of income. Selena y Los Dinos released albums under smaller labels until Selena landed a record deal with EMI Records in 1989. Two years later, she released her first hit song “Buenos Amigos” with Salvadorean singer/songwriter Alvaro Torres, which landed at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin chart.
Selena explained in a 1994 interview with Orale Promo that being a female singer in a male-driven industry was difficult for her.
“Tejano music was hard for us because I was a girl. My dad had a lot of problems while trying to set up shows for us or presentations because there are a lot of men who don’t think that women can get the attention of the public. But … wrong,” she said at the time.
The songstress earned her first and only Grammy award for her album Selena Live in March 1994. Later that year, Selena’s album Amor Prohibido sold more than one million copies and became the best-selling Latin album of the year.
Selena married the lead guitarist in her band, Christopher Perez, in 1992. The couple remained together until her death.
Her final album, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously in July 1995 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Jennifer Lopez took on the role of the late singer in the 1997 film Selena, which skyrocketed the Hustlers star to fame and earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 1998.
Scroll down for some highlights of Selena’s life.