Memorialized in music and film, Tejano singer Selena was the first Latina to become an American pop icon. Working with family members, at a young age she began displaying an obvious talent for performance and a natural, warm-toned voice that could easily stretch her voice up a notch and send shivers down your spine with long sustains. Selena made her first recording at age 12, and by 16 she had won Tejano music awards for best female vocalist and performer. Her version of this polkafied Tex-Mex included elements of rock and country, but she also recorded cumbias and, later, added contemporary dance flavors. Singing catchy, anthemic love songs, Selena's popularity spread like a wildfire throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Ultimately, she recorded a crossover record in English that was released posthumously after her tragic murder in 1994. A source of pride to the Latin community and a monumental spark to the music industry, Selena is likened to a Latina Madonna in that she aroused controversy and fanatical devotion. Furthermore, she is credited with helping open the door to the American mainstream for Latin artists, and was instrumental in launching the career of Jennifer Lopez.