Name at birth: Selena Quintanilla
Until her untimely death at age 23, Selena was the sexy and charismatic 'Queen of Tejano.' (Tejano music is a South Texas creation which uses guitars and accordions to blend Mexican musical styles with European polkas and waltzes.) Selena was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, and before she turned 10 she was already fronting the family band, Los Dinos. Their 1989 album Selena y Los Dinos put them on the map, and the 1992 album Entre a Mi Mundo (Enter My World) went gold. Still unknown in much of America, Selena became a star in Mexico and Latin America, known both for her Spanish-language hits and her wholesome sex appeal. A fashion plate who liked to design her own clothes, Selena favored snug pants and midriff-baring bustiers that earned her the nickname "the Mexican Madonna." Selena Live! (1993) won a Grammy as best Mexican-American album, and Amor Prohibido (Forbidden Love, 1994) was another hit
In 1995 Selena began recording her first English-language album, Dreaming of You, and seemed poised to cross over to mainstream success. But on 31 March that year she was shot and killed at a Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi. The shooter was Yolanda Saldivar, the founder of the Selena fan club and manager of Selena's clothing boutiques, who apparently realized she was about to be fired for embezzling money from the singer. Saldivar was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 30 years.