STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Nearly 20 years after her tragic murder, the rising star Selena Quintanilla-Perez still has a place in music history.
With a Platinum Record, Grammy Award and the title of Top Latin Artist of the 1990s, Selena was at the height of her career and about to become a crossover superstar. That all came to a tragic end after she was murdered on March 31, 1995, by the woman who started her fan club.
“After she passed away the outpouring of support from her fans. I don’t think any of us were prepared or knew how big she had become,” said Chris Perez, Quintanilla’s guitarist who later became her husband.
“I’ve changed quite a bit since those days. Back then it was mainly a source of sadness and darkness for me. Now it’s kind of become light and happiness and remembering the good stuff,” he recalled.
Almost two decades later, Perez, who eventually started a family and is now a father of two in San Antonio, Texas remains successful in the music business and close to Selena’s fans.
“Some days it feels like it’s been 20 years. Some days, in a weird way, it never happened. But I do think about her quite a bit. Some days are harder than others. For the most part, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” he said.
Quintanilla was a rising star, who became even bigger in death.
“She wasn’t like most people. She didn’t look at it as work,” Perez said. “She was going after things she really loved. She started businesses: the salon, the clothing line, the boutique, clothing design, designing a perfume and was thinking about opening a business in Mexico all the while we are going on these tours, playing these shows and working on the mainstream record. She was non-stop.”
In 1997, a major motion picture titled “Selena” shared her life story and launched the career of Jennifer Lopez, who played the title role. The strength of the movie allowed her music and story to reach a whole new audience who will mark the 20-year anniversary of her death by celebrating her life that was full of promise and talent.
In 2013, Perez published the book “To Selena, with Love”, which was recently released in paperback. He still keeps in touch with Selena’s family and will perform with them in April in celebration of her life.