Thursday, March 31 will mark the 21st anniversary of Selena Quintanilla’s tragic death in 1995. At just 23, the Tejano singer built an astoundingly impressive career. She won “Best Female Vocalist” at the Tejano Music Awards nine years in a row, became the first Latino singer to debut at number one on U.S. Billboard 200 and released the best-selling Latin album of all-time (Amor Prohibido).
In addition to her countless hits and broken records, Selena was the first artist to reveal the power of the Latino audience. In many ways, her success and the outpour of love after her death formed the catalyst for the “Latin invasion” in the late ’90s that saw artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez (who owes her own stardom to her breakout role in the biopic “Selena“) find crossover success.
She’s been marked as inspiration for artists in all genres, from traditional Tejano music to hip-hop to pop. Whether artists have cited her as a direct influence or have paid homage to her spirit and talent in other ways, there’s no denying that her legacy as a performer and style icon will continue to live on.
Below are 17 artists who have all been inspired by Selena’s glorious career.
Adrienne Bailon paid tribute to Selena last year
on an episode of “The Real.” She returned to the stage for the first time in six years to perform a cover of the late singer’s hit ballad “I Could Fall In Love.”
Before the performance, Bailon said that Selena is “the woman I consider my idol.” She then went on to add, “She single-handedly put Tejano music on the mainstream map and shes the reason I am who I am today.”
Demi Lovato has cited Selena as an inspiration for her own career many times. In 2014 she told The Huffington Post
: Growing up, I loved Selenas music […] I was really young when she passed, so I didnt know much about her until I got a little older, and when I saw the movie there was just some sort of connection… There is something about the movie that was really inspiring to me.
The “Orange is the New Black” actress released a beautiful video tribute to Selena in October, singing a cover of the singer’s iconic song “Como La Flor.” Cruz toldBillboard
,”She’s one of my biggest idols, and her music still lives on.”
On the 20th anniversary of Selena’s death, singer Becky G shared this photo, adding in a caption: “Selena is one of my biggest inspirations. Beyond just her music, her way of being with her family and fans was so special and so relatable. Every show, interview, and song had something special. Something Selena. Thankful for the path she had created for young women like myself to be ourselves.”
Singer Kat De Luna, best known for her 2009 single “Whine Up,”
can be seen here at the age of 9 singing a rendition of Selena’s “No Me Queda Mas.” She says prior to her performance, “I want to become a singer [and] be famous, like Selena.”
Drake paid homage to Selena with this custom-made shirt featuring a hand-painted image of the late singer’s face, which he posted to his Instagram in March 2015.
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images
Growing up inTexas, Beyonce couldn’t help but be touched by Selena’s music.I did actually meet Selena in the Galleria Mall in Houston, but I didnt say much to her because I wasnt a celebrity,” the singer said in an MTV Tres
interview. “I just saw her and said hello and kept it moving. Definitely growing up in Texas, I heard her on the radio. I think listening to her album — even though I didnt know exactly what she was saying — it helped me in the studio with my pronunciation.I think she is a legend. I admire her. She was so talented.”
Selena Gomez was named after the Tejano singer and has said that she’s been a huge influence on her throughout her childhood. Gomez regularly performs “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at her concerts, and in 2012, she got to record a special duet version of the song on the Selena tribute album “Enamorada De Ti!”
When I went into the studio to record they actually had her vocals in the booth that she was in, so I felt like she was singing right next to me,” Gomez said of the experience. “It gave me chills! It was incredible and it was a great experience and it was a great song… its such a honor to be named after someone so amazing.”
For Tejano singer Jennifer Pea, Selena is the reason why she wanted to become a singer. I feel Selena has influenced my life in tremendous ways,” said Pea toLatina
.”She was definitely a huge inspiration for me to even try singing in Spanish.
Danny Moloshok / Reuters
Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee was influenced by Selena’s rise to mainstream success. Selenas story is a great and sad story,” Yankee said to Latina.
“Because when youre a Latin artist, and really know everything that she achieved in her career — it motivates you. She motivates me.”
During her 2013-2014 U.S. Tour, Solange Knowles covered Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love,” which just so happens to also be the one of Knowles’ favorite songs.
Lady Gaga gave a nod to Selena when she shared her “favorite t-shirt,” featuring Selena’s name, on her Twitter in 2012.
Singer Bruno Mars paid tribute to Selena while touring in Mexico last year, singing a beautiful rendition of “Dreaming Of You” in concert.
Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA
Singer Ally Hernandez, a member of the girl group Fifth Harmony, told The Houston Chronicle
that Selena is her “favorite of all time.”
“She always be. Oh my gosh. I think the most important thing to me was her personality and how she just loved everybody. She was just so radiant. She was so charismatic and funny. And of course her voice was gorgeous. She was such an amazing entertainer. Even watching interviews, you feel like she was your best friend.”
Posted by Kat Von D on Thursday, March 17, 2016
Tattoo artist and makeup guru Kat Von D is ahugeSelena fan, and proved her love for the singer in March when she uploaded a video of her acoustic”Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” cover to Facebook.
Big Sean is another one of the many celebs who’ve paid tribute to Selena in the form of custom t-shirts. “Selena’s a legend. She did it big; she was the first,” Sean told Billboard
in 2015.”I’m going to rock her on the tee, just like I rock Tupac, just like I rock Biggie.”
Selana’s legacy is obviously strongly intertwined with Jennifer Lopez’s success: the Puerto Rican singer and dancer found her first taste of international fame after starring in the music biopic “Selena,” which chronicled Selena’s rise to fame and her untimely death. In 2015, Lopez performed a special tribute medley to Selena at the Billboard Latin Music Awards.
“There is only one Selena,” Lopez said on “The Today Show”after her performance. “The impact that shehad on my life, on my career… It was a great thing for her to be my mentor. And it was a great thing to have her teach me so much about how to navigate this business, but also how to navigate through life.”