How To Sing Like Selena Quintanilla In The 21st Century

This article would cover everything you need to know on how to sing like Selena Quintanilla. We will talk about how she started her music career, the vocal techniques that made her outstanding, and answer some of the frequently asked questions about learning how to sing like her.

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of this topic.

Did you know?

Selena won the Tejano Music Award for Female Vocalist of The Year nine consecutive times despite meeting with criticism and ostracization when she first started performing Tejano, a genre largely dominated by the male gender.

More about that later.

First things first:

How To Sing Like Selena Quintanilla Without Harming Your Voice

Emotive voice

Selena Quintanilla is quite exceptional at tweaking his voice so her audience could feel the emotions running through her veins as she belted out lyrics from her vocal box.

You will find the following useful if you desire to show emotion with your voice.

  • Sing with passion.
  • Understand the components that make an emotive voice. They are pitch, timbre, volume, pause, and pace. For instance, singing lightly helps to make the voice more emotive.
  • Develop your vibrato.
  • Practice placing emphasis on the right syllable.
  • Learn how to infuse your songs with emotions.

If you find it difficult to create emotions in your song, merely manipulate your voice so it’s croaky can do the magic. 


Altering the timbre of voice with your tongue position, soft palate, lips and larynx. 


Just using body language and other expressions to influence the mirror neuron in your audience can do the magic of making your voice more emotive.



An experimentalist at heart. Selena rose to stardom because she was not stuck on one genre of sound. Also, she took the bold step to crossover to the international scene, a decision many would shy away from because of the magnitude of risk attached.

Although she started out singing the Tejano or “TexMex” genre, Selena was pretty diverse in styles. She sang jazzy lines over cumbia, R&B and a bit of rock here and there.

Avoid being held prisoner by your creativity, break the shackles of conservativeness by applying this lesson to your own singing skills.


Aim for healthy vibrato which helps to improve the quality, timbre, and warmth of your voice. 

Vibrato can be easily accessed by everyone once you have established healthy basic singing techniques at the core of your singing. 

Selena employed the use of vibrato in an impressive manner on her El Toro Relajo song.

So, how can you develop an outstanding singing vibrato?

  • Regularly warm up your voice.
  • Avoid tensing your vocal cords, keep it relaxed so it can oscillate freely.
  • Establish the correct standing posture when singing vibrato
  • Keep your voice breathy by engaging the use of proper breathing support too.


Good breath support

Good breath support means breathing with your diaphragm instead of your shoulders or your chest. With adequate breathing techniques, it is possible for you to sustain long notes without breaking them off. 

Also, your voice feels richer, and this keeps your performance enjoyable for the audience.

With that said:

How does the world’s greatest trumpeter become a singer? Read how to sing like Louis Armstrong here

How Did Selena Quintanilla Begin Singing?

Selena ditched schooling to focus full time on her music career upon the insistence of her father who was always at loggerheads with Selena’s teacher who believed she was better off taking her academics seriously.

In her bid to win over the hearts of the Latin market, which represented her roots as a Mexican, she took up classes to learn the Latin language. 

She suffered setbacks initially, the market was biased towards men blazing the trail in the Tejano genre in which she debuted and eventually dominated.

What Is Selena Quintanilla’s, Vocal Range?

Selena’s voice was in the 2nd octave, 3 notes, and 1 semitone. Her vocal type was the lyric soprano. Her vocal range spanned D3 to G#5.

Her strength shines when she harmonizes with her lower register which is a light husky tone. 

Why Is Selena Quintanilla’s Vocals Unique?

She is capable of both melisma and vibrato with her voice. 

Her voice was also ‌powerful with a lovely distorted trait to it.

Despite being so young, she exhibited control over vocal slides and could sustain notes for long and as she got older, her voice blossomed and matured.

She expressed pain, love, strength, and passion in her songs. This made it easy for audiences to understand her message and fall in love with her music.

7 Interesting Revelations About Selena Quintanilla

  •  In 2020 Billboard magazine put her in third place on their list of “Greatest Latino Artists of All Time”, based on both Latin albums and Latin songs chart.
  • Selena was the youngest child of the Quintanilla family, her father started the band, Selena y Los Dinos, which included Selena and her elder siblings A.B. Quintanilla and Suzette Quintanilla after he realized she could sing exceptionally.
  • She is one of the best-selling female artists in Latin music with over 18 million records sold worldwide.
  •  Selena’s debut album, Selena y Los Dinos, was recorded in 1984.
  • She dominated the Tejano genre, becoming the first female Tejano artist to win a Grammy award for Best Mexican/American Album despite the initial hostility she met with when she started out in this genre.
  • Selena is the first Latin artist whose album, debuted at the peak of the Billboard 200 with the release of her posthumous crossover album, Dreaming of You in 1995.
  • Her friend, the manager of her boutique and her fan club shot her in 1995.

In Conclusion

This is a great guide to learn how to sing like Selena Quintanilla. This straight to the point guide is a fantastic read for both aspiring and advanced singers.

Follow in the footsteps of this iconic singer and you are well on your way to creating a better than your present vocal style.

Got that, right?