For legendary Trejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, family was not just a priority, it was also a pivotal part of her massively successful musical career. The musician, known for bringing Tejano music onto the mainstream scene, became a global household name when her life was cut short in 1995 at the age of 23.
Widely known simply as Selena, she began her path to becoming one of the most celebrated Mexican-American entertainers of her era as a child, guided by the talent and wisdom of family. Her father Abraham Quintanilla managed Selena y Los Dinos, the family band, which consisted of Selena, her sister Suzette, and her older brother A.B. Quintanilla and later, other non-related members.
A.B. played bass guitar for the group and he went on to write and produce songs for Selena, including the successful single “Amor Prohibido.” His contributions to Selena y Los Dinos are depicted in Netflix's “Selena: The Series.” The nine-episode show focuses on Selena (played by Christian Serratos) and the band’s inspirational rise to fame and the family dynamics at the heart of it. A.B. (played by Gabriel Chavarria) is depicted as talented and hardworking. At one point, his character even has to dumpster dive for peach cans in order to make stage lighting for his family’s band. After his first child is born in 1991, the series shows him navigating the complicated balance of traveling on the road while also being a parent.
The real A.B., whose full name is Abraham Isaac Quintanilla III, has continued making music after his sister's tragic death. He created the band Kumbia Kings in 1999 and after departing that group in 2006, he created the group Kumbia All Starz along with Selena’s widow Chris Pérez. He also produced and arranged the 2004 album “A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Joe Lopez.” A.B. formed Elektro Kumbia in 2016, which consists of many of the same members of Kumbia Kings. They are still active. A.B.'s presence is apparent in their 2017 music video for “Piña Colada Shot.”
His life hasn't been without controversy, however. The same year the video was released, A.B. was placed on Nueces County's Top 10 Most Wanted list due to an outstanding arrest warrant for being in contempt of court and nonpayment of child support, Billboard reported at the time. He agreed to pay $87,000 he owed, My San Antonio reported at the time. However, he still had to spend two weeks behind bars, according to the San Antonio Express Times.
A.B. has fathered eight children over the years, according to Newsweek. While he married his longtime girlfriend Rikkie Leigh Robertson in 2011, he announced they were splitting in 2016. He married Anjelah O. in September 2019.
The various projects he's worked on, including Selena, Ricky Martin and Kumbia Kings, have resulted in more than 80 million albums sold worldwide, according to Trejano Nation.
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