Lyrics with Laura

By Laura Valentine

This second edition of Lyrics with Laura is dedicated to celebrating Selena Quintanilla Perez, aka Selena. I have been listening to Selena’s music, both in Spanish and in English, for as long as I remember. I saw the movie Selena – with J.Lo playing the lead role – when I was a little girl, and the rest was history. The movie was amazing; it exposed me to Selena’s incredible music, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was heaven for this music-loving, Cuban-American girl from Miami.

Selena was born in Southeast Texas in 1971 and was one of the most celebrated Mexican-American artists of her time. She started her career as a young girl in a band with her elder siblings and her dad as their manager. The band was called Selena y Los Dinos, and she was the lead singer. They performed Tejano music: a genre born in Texas with Mexican and American influences that was mostly dominated by men.

In her own words: “Tejano music was hard for us because I was a girl. My dad had a lot of problems while trying to set up shows for us or presentations because there are a lot of men who don’t think that women can get the attention of the public. But… wrong!”

Even in the face of such adversity throughout her life, she was the epitome of tenacity and talent. After several albums with Selena y Los Dinos in the ‘80s, she came out with the first of five solo albums in 1989. Her last album, Dreaming of You, was released posthumously in 1995. Two months prior, Selena was shot and killed at the age of 23 by Yolanda Saldivar, the manager of her fan club and clothing boutique. Luckily for us, she was prolific in such a short period of time.

Below are my five favorite songs by Selena:

  1. Amor Prohibido
  2. Dreaming of You
  3. Bidi Bidi Bom Bom
  4. Como La Flor
  5. I Could Fall in Love


I do have to draw attention to one more, though, because, as I was listening to Selena’s music and getting inspired for this post, I came along the song Fotos y Recuerdos. The whole song sounded incredibly familiar, and I thought it had to be a cover of something, but I didn’t recognize the words and was very confused. A quick Google search taught me that it’s a Spanish-language cover of Back on the Chain Gang by The Pretenders – one of my favorite songs. I haven’t stopped listening since!

You can listen to the The Thread playlist, which compiles all the songs from past Lyrics with Laura posts. So far, it features Annie Lennox and Selena.

Laura Valentine is the Chief of Staff for Engage. You can reach her at

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