Selena Quintanilla Perez made history at the 1994 Grammy Awards when she took home the trophy for Best Mexican-American album. She was the first female Tejano singer to win in that category.
Selena was back in the spotlight at this year’s Grammy Awards, which aired on March 14 on CBS. The academy posthumously honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Watch her acceptance speech below:
Selena Bought Her Grammy Dress at a Mall in Houston & the Dress Is on Display at the Selena Museum
Selena turned heads at the 1994 Grammy Awards with her now-iconic white sequined halter dress and upswept hair. According to The Caller-Times, Selena bought the dress herself at the Galleria shopping center in Houston.
She found it at a store called Lillie Rubin. As Vice reported, the clothing company was launched in Miami and Selena’s gown was a Lillie Rubin original. (Lillie Rubin was acquired by Cache Incorporated in 1998, according to Funding Universe).
Her sister, Suzette Quintanilla Arriaga, told The Caller-Times Selena received many compliments for her look that night. “She looked so amazing. She looked hot,” Quintanilla Arriaga said. “Someone even told her, ‘You looked like a superstar up there.’ It was such an awesome day.” The dress is on display at the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi.
According to a clip of Selena’s acceptance speech shared to YouTube by the Recording Academy, Selena was calm and collected upon winning the Grammy. She thanked the management company “for making tonight possible and having faith in us, putting faith in us four years ago. She thanked her band, Los Dinos, and her father. Selena singled out both of her siblings in her speech.
She specified that her brother produced her music and thanked her sister “for all the support.” Selena ended her speech by addressing the Latin community. “I’d like to thank all my Latin family. Thank you for having faith in me. I love you. Thank you.” Selena’s husband, Chris Perez, played the guitar in her band but she didn’t mention him by name in the speech.
According to Hola magazine, Selena revealed afterward that she had been nervous about tripping as she walked onstage. “I was wearing this crystal beaded gown and I remember thinking ‘geez Selena if you fall you’re going to be so embarrassed.’ I was trying to be all cool walking up there. It was great. Thinking back, it was an experience I will never forget.”
Selena’s Grammy win came just one year before her untimely death. Selena was shot in the back by her fan club president on March 31, 1995. She was just 23.
Selena Recorded the Award-Winning ‘Live’ Album During a Concert in Her Hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas
Selena won a Grammy Award for her only live performance album. She recorded Live on February 7, 1993, during a concert at the Memorial Coliseum in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.
The album was released a couple of months later. It spent seven weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 list and peaked at #79 on May 13, 1995.
Live quickly went gold, selling more than half a million copies within weeks of its release. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Live has exploded in popularity in more recent years. As of 2017, the album had gone platinum and sold more than eight million copies.
Selena Would Have Been ‘Over the Moon’ by the Lifetime Achievement Award, Her Sister Says
It has been nearly 26 years since Selena was killed but her legacy has continued on as new fans discover her music for the first time. As People reported, Selena was “ranked No. 3 on Billboard’s Greatest of All Time Latin Artists chart” in 2020. According to the New York Times, Selena’s music attracts more than five million listeners per month on Spotify.
Her father, Abraham Quintanilla, described his daughter’s enduring popularity as “incredible” for the family to witness. “Selena’s life was cut short, but her fans have carried her throughout the years and her legacy is being passed on from generation to generation. That in itself is incredible.”
Quintanilla told People his daughter would have been honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. “Selena would have been very excited for this honor, just like she was when she won her Grammy back in 1994.” Quintanilla added, “This award represents all the hard work and more importantly, represents our Latin culture.”
Suzette Quintanilla told Entertainment Tonight her sister would have been “over the moon” over the award. “I think she would be very giddy about it. I think that she would probably have her social media handles and she would probably be posting tons of photos with it, I’m sure,” Suzette said. “I think that this award, I hope that the younger generation, the younger Latinas, young [people] overall, they can go back and they can look at this and think, ‘Wow, she’s still doing it and she’s not even here. She’s been gone for 25 years.’ And that’s a powerful, powerful message. And I hope that that resonates in our youth. I really do.”
The Recording Academy selects artists for the Lifetime Achievement Award who “during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.” The other Lifetime Achievement honorees this year are Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa and Talking Heads.
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