Selena Quintanilla Perez – Revolutionizing Latin Music


Selena Quintanilla Perez was a Mexican American Singer born and raised in Texas. Her birthday is on April 16th. Despite her music being over 20 years old, many still hold her in high regard. 

Selena leans more towards our parents’ generation. Many of her listeners didn’t grow up listening to it, while others heard it blasting in the kitchen at six in the morning. 

“My mom would make me dance to her music. That’s how I learned how to dance cumbia,” said senior Ariadna Gracias Lopez. “My dad used to be a DJ, so he always puts in old music that was popular in his era so like to me it’s like, ‘oh this what they used to listen to.’”

A lot of non-Spanish speakers listen to her music as well.

“I like her Spanish album more even though I can’t understand it,” said junior Rhegan Cladwell. “It just sounds better.” 

Students are not the only ones who religiously tune into her albums, as several teachers at Grandview listen to her as well. 

“I like more of her Spanish [music]. I think her accent is beautiful and I just love hearing her voice,“ said Missy Winternitz, an ELL teacher. “Bidi bidi bom bom is one of my favorites.”

Her Spanish album is the more upbeat of her works and has more of the beats of Latin culture like Cumbia — a dance that started in Colombia but has now spread all over Latin America.

“What I like the most is that her songs are quite energetic and have a rhythm you can dance to,” said junior Valeria Rondon. 

She won her first Grammy in 1994. Many think she would have gone and won many more. 

“I think she would be like one of our top Grammy award winning artists,” said Winternitz. “I think that she would have taken music to the next level.” 

Selena was one of the first to originally sing songs in Spanish then switch over to English. With her doing that, it helped a lot of other Latin artists as well as allowing her to be more accepted for who she was. 

“I think she would have become a superstar,” said Spanish teacher, Joanne Russum. “I think she really was the beginning of what became the Latin boom of music, where you ended up with Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias crossing over to mainstream music in the late 90s.”

Selena would be turning 51 in 2022 on April 16th. Even though she passed away 27 years ago, her memory lives on and countless people still look up to her.

“For my students and the reality we live in was that she was a Mexican-American that grew up speaking English and learned Spanish to sing,” said Russum. “I think that she is a great representation for a lot of kids [who] can be successful in both cultures, in both languages, and that you don’t have to be perfect. I always loved that about her.”