As fans of Selena Quintanilla remember the Tejano music star on what would have been her 50th birthday, tributes and posts have flooded social media, causing the hashtag #Selena50 to trend for much of April 16.
It’s been 26 years since Quintanilla was shot and killed on March 31st 1995, but the late artist’s legacy lives on in fashion, makeup collections and tens of millions of streams of her songs — not to mention the Spanish-language singers that follow in her influential footsteps.
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Quintanilla served as a source of Mexican-American pride, as one of the first artists to take risks and meld niche genres like cumbia with rock-style beats. These fusions, co-written and backed by the group Los Dinos, consisting of her brother and sister, resulted in some of her most popular songs, among them: “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Como la Flor” and “Amor Prohibido.”
While Quintanilla’s own influences included Madonna, Paula Abdul, Gloria Estefan and Donna Summer, artists such as Beyonce, the late Whitney Houston, Katy Perry and, of course, Jennifer Lopez, are among the many who have cited admiration for the singer simply know as Selena. And today, with the popularity of Latin music exploding worldwide, many are nodding to or incorporating Quintanilla-like melodies and vocal styles for their own modern sound.
Listen for Selena Quintanilla’s influence in these six current artists (listed in alphabetical order):
The daughter of the famous regional Mexican singer Pepe Aguilar is now paving her own way in music — being hailed as the Mariachi Princess. Last year, Aguilar paid homage to the queen, releasing a Selena tribute EP, “Baila esta Cumbia,” which included such favorites as “No Me Queda Más,” “Dreaming of You,” “Baila esta Cumbia,” “Como la Flor,” “Si Una Vez,” “Amor Prohibido” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”
The Mexican-American singer gives Selena Quintanilla full credit as the main influence on her music. Look no further than the 2017 song “Díganle,” featuring Dominican artist Leslie Grace, during which they flirt with the sounds of cumbia coupled with urban beats. Becky G also performed several Selena songs at the Houston Rodeo in 2020, while Grace paid homage to Quintanilla last year, on the 25th anniversary since her passing, with a heartfelt post on Instagram.
The Colombian artist is currently reaching a chart high with his latest album “En Tus Manos.” Merging traditional cumbia sounds and cadence with pop, you can hear similarities to Quintanilla style in the song “Vida de Rico,” which, like “Amor Prohibido,” tells of love overpowering divisions by money and social class.
The pop star of Mexican-American descent, who also hails from Texas, has mentioned numerous times that she was named after Selena Quintanilla. With the recent release of Gomez’s first Spanish language album “Revelación,” it’s easy to see why the two artists share a spiritual bond. Fans of both can hear that love in a 2012 remix of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” from the album “Enamorada de Ti.”
With a tattoo of Quintanilla on her arm, Karol G has affirmed what she’s stated at concerts — that “Selena is and has always been” her idol. The Colombian star released a song off her recent album, “KG0516” called “200 Copas,” where she plays with the sounds of rancheras and regional Mexican — not unlike Quintanilla’s “No Me Queda Más.”
Greeicy Rendon and Tini Stoessel
Argentine singer Tini’s hit “22”, which she sings alongside Colombian artist Greeicy Rendon, offers a mix of cumbia with alternative rock — a combination popular in the Selena catalog, particularly as the early ’90s brought a boon of guitar-based. bands. In 2020, Univision’s Premio lo Nuestro hosted a tribute to mark 25 years since Quintanilla’s death. Among the performers were Greeicy, Natti Natasha and Fifth Harmony’s former star Ally Brooke, who performed a medley of Selena’s biggest hits.
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