Hispanic Heritage Month – Four Influential Latina Singers

A&E, 104, Hispanic Heritage Month, Ty'Shae' Cousar, photo credit- PLEASE PUT, In memory of Selena 1971-1995, wikimedia commons

In memory of Selena, 1971-1995 / Wikimedia Commons

Ty’Shae’ Cousar
Staff Writer

It is Hispanic Heritage month; there’s the food, the dancing and the language of course, but one major component about Hispanic culture is the music. There are many Hispanic artists who have impacted not just Latin music, but also the entire American music industry, making it to what it is today. In particular, many female Hispanic artists have made a lasting impression. The Queen of Tejano — Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and Shakira are some of the most influential pop artists of all time.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez made her mark on the world with many hits, her dance moves, her infectious laugh and her love. In Lake Jackson, Texas, Selena grew up with music by performing in her family restaurant (which shortly closed down) in the band Selena y Los Dinos. The band started traveling all around to perform at weddings, fairs and quinceaneras. Selena y Los Dinos’s popularity skyrocketed and Selena became the household name.

The Queen of Tejano has paved the way and inspired many artists of today, such as Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, Kat DeLuna, Katy Perry, Wyclef Jean, Selena Gomez and Gloria Estefan. “Amor Prohibido,” “Dreaming of you,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” “Como la Flor”  and “I Could Fall in Love” are some of Selena’s greatest hits. Her friends, fans and family still keep her legacy alive to this day, and she will be remembered as one of the greatest Mexican-American entertainers of all time.

Even though Selena is no longer with us, her uplifting spirit in her music continues to live on. Selena was reported to have said during an unknown interview,“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, but to create something that will.”

One of the many people inspired by Selena’s music was Jennifer Lopez (popularly known as J.Lo), who is also an influential Hispanic pop artist. First starting out as a dancer with a diverse cast on “In Living Color,” she began acting and landed her first  “role of a lifetime” in the prominent biopic, “Selena.” The acting gig gave J.Lo a jumpstart into her music career and pushed her to appear in many movies.

Her greatest hits from the ‘90s and up to today are “I’m Real” and “Ain’t it Funny,” both featuring Ja Rule, “If You Had My Love,” Waiting For Tonight,” “Get Right,” “Love Don’t Cost A Thing,” “On The Floor” and of course, “Jenny From The Block.” Lopez has described her music style as a sweet Latin soul with a blend of hip-hop. She built her way up in the entertainment industry, becoming who she is today — a global icon.

However, the first musician to ever debut an album on the BillBoard Top Latin Album chart was Gloria Estefan. Estefan is a Cuban-American singer, and a leading pioneer in Latin music. She is well known for being the lead singer in a group called The Miami Sound Machine. In 1985, “Conga” became her first breakthrough hit in the music industry along with “Rhythm is Going to Get You.”

Estefan traveled from Cuba to the states once her father joined the U.S. Army. When her father returned very ill from Vietnam, Estefan stayed home to take care of him and her little sister while her mother had to work at night. Although she did not have much of a social life, she would look to music as a way to escape.

Estefan’s band, The Miami Sound Machine, started making Spanish-language albums with genres such as pop and disco. They toured around Spanish-speaking countries like Venezuela and Peru. They were becoming very successful, but did not get much recognition from the United States.

In March of 1990, Estefan and her band were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer on a snowy interstate. She suffered a broken vertebra and ended up going home to Star Island to recover. She had an instant comeback in returning to the spotlight by appearing on the American Music Awards the next year in January following a tour right after.

Gloria Estefan continues to influence and inspire other current and upcoming artists.

Known for one of her biggest hits, “Hips Don’t Lie,” Shakira is also a big name in Latin music. Shakira is most known for her strong vocals and her Arabian belly dancing. Shakira is the biggest selling Colombian singer with over 60 million album sales, which makes her the most successful Latina female artist next to Gloria Estefan.

Shakira’s biggest hits include “Hips Don’t Lie” featuring Wyclef Jean, “Whenever, Wherever” or “Suerte,” “Can’t Remember to Forget You” featuring Rihanna, “She Wolf,” “Waka Waka” and “Beautiful Liar” featuring Beyonce.

Shakira is still active today, creating music and taking care of her family.

Although these beautiful and inspiring women come from different Latin backgrounds, they still have the same common interest― to touch souls with the messages in their music. They mix their own cultures within their music, which makes them stand out from each other.

Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister and former drummer of Selena y Los Dinos, explained Hispanic culture in a single sentence, during PopSugar’s latest interview: “We’re familia and we will always be-that’s the greatest part about our culture.”

Categories: Artist Weekly, Arts & Entertainment


1 reply

  1. Thanks for the interesting read about different influential latina singers. It was cool to learn that Gloria Estefan was one of the first musicians to debut an album on a Billboard Top Latin Album chart. It’s kind of cool to learn how these musicians made a difference by doing something that they loved.


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