AB Quintanilla is known for his music and being the creator that launched the Queen of Tejano Music. Read more about his life, career, and AB Quintanilla net worth.
AB Quintanilla is famous for two things. First, he is the older brother of the late singer Selena who was dubbed the Queen of Tejano Music. Secondly, AB is known for his great music.
He was Selena’s primary songwriter and music producer from the beginning and throughout her career. Today he continues to produce songs that he dedicates to his late sister.
AB Quintanilla is estimated at $5 million for the current year. Nicknamed the King of Kumbia, AB’s passion for music has earned him multiple awards and nominations. He has produced for world-famous Mexican artists like Thalia, Alicia Villarreal, Verónica Castro, and Cristian Castro.
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AB Quintanilla Short Bio
Abraham Isaac Quintanilla III was born on December 13, 1963, in Toppenish, Washington. He is the eldest of three siblings and the only son of Abraham Quintanilla Jr., a singer, songwriter, and producer. His mother, Marcella, is a dedicated housewife and social worker.
AB and his sisters belong to the second generation of the Quintanilla family, born in the United States. His grandparents were Mexican immigrants who settled in Texas. They struggled for years and found survival through scavenging for fruits, vegetables, and cotton.
AB’s father, Abraham Jr, began his career in high school. He joined a singing group called Los Dinos in 1956. The group found success from the mid-50s and throughout the 60s. Abraham Jr put his career aside in 1969 to raise his family after his second child was born.
The dream was reignited after the elder Quintanilla realized that AB and his two sisters all had the gift of music. The family opened a Mexican restaurant called PapaGayo’s in 1979, where the Quintanilla children would perform for the local diners and travelers who came from afar just to enjoy the music.
Unfortunately, the successful establishment was not immune to the economic recession in the early 1980s, and the restaurant suffered a great loss and had to be closed. To avoid bankruptcy, the family moved to Corpus Christi to start anew after selling all of their assets.
AB Quintanilla Musical Career
Selena y Los Dinos
In 1981, AB’s father started a group Selena y Los Dinos (Selena and the Guys). AB was on the bass guitar, Suzette, the 2nd daughter, on drums, and Selena, the youngest providing the vocals and mainly the core of the group. The band sustained the family by taking every gig they could get.
By 1984, Selena y Los Dinos signed with Freddie Records. The group released their first full-length album entitled Selena y Los Dinos – Mis Primeras Grabaciones.
Not long after its distribution, Abraham Jr and the president and owner of the label, Freddie Martinez, had a falling out.
Abraham dropped the record deal and took his band after Martinez criticized Selena for being a young female who had no right or chance to succeed in a men-dominated genre.
Walking out from the label was perhaps the turning point for the Quintanilla children. After transferring to Cara Records, they were able to release their second album. The New Girl in Town led to their first TV appearance as musical guests on the Johnny Canales Show.
AB Quintanilla III becomes Selena’s Producer
Abraham Jr was the manager and producer of Selena y Los Dinos, but by 1985, the elder Quintanilla had left the arrangement and the production side to his son, AB. Among the hits he created for her sister were the songs My Love, Como la Flor, Amor Prohibido, and No Me Queda Más.
Due to her growing popularity, Selena received an offer from Jose Behar, the head of the then newly established EMI Latin. Behar believed that the singer was the next big thing after Gloria Estefan, and to increase their chances, the label suggested making a few changes.
Unfortunately, these changes didn’t only include revving Selena’s appearance, but they also called for her brother AB to be replaced by a grammy-winning music producer.
AB fought to stay as Selena’s primary songwriter and producer. The label and Abraham Jr compromised by giving the younger Quintanilla a chance by coming up with a hit song for Selena. If he failed within the given time, AB would have to step aside and let EMI take over.
But AB didn’t just conjure one or two good songs for his sister. He was responsible for most of Selena’s greatest and most iconic hits. The deal broke through, and AB was able to defend his place. Officially from 1989, AB was Selena’s principal music producer and songwriter.
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Selena’s Death and Murder
Selena was on the brink of a cross-over release. But even before the album was scheduled for distribution, the then 23-year-old Latina singer had captured the heart of the international scene.
She once expressed her anxiety to her big brother AB. For the first time, AB was not involved in producing her album, and one that was very important to her career as an international artist.
The album, in particular, was Dreaming of You, the same title as the song that immortalized Selena.
Though AB was part of the album’s production, he was mainly occupied with the singer’s follow-up recording to Amor Prohibido. It is noted that AB met with several producers in New York and decided which one was the best fit for Selena before stepping down.
On the 31st of March, 1995, Selena was shot and killed by her friend and business associate, Yolanda Saldivar. The issue began when Abraham Jr found proof that Saldivar was embezzling money from Selena’s fan club and her boutiques. At first, Saldivar denied all accusations.
She then lured the then 23-year-old singer to the Days Inn Motel under the pretenses of turning over financial documents. Saldivar pulled out a .38 gun and shot Selena, piercing her collarbone.
Selena was able to run to the hotel’s reception, naming her shooter. 911 was called, but the responders were unable to save the singer. Selena was pronounced dead an hour later.
His sister’s murder devastated the whole family, especially AB, who worked closely with Selena. Be it on stage performing, recording at their studio, or simply sitting down together writing songs.
AB Quintanilla Returns To Make Music
The Quintanilla family was in shock, and so were the millions of people worldwide. AB plunged into depression, and though there was still a lot of work to be done, it was near impossible for him to do anything without breaking down. AB then quit music altogether.
But one day, he was approached by two women while at a restaurant in his hometown of Corpus Christi. They expressed their condolences but also reminded AB that through him, Selena was not gone and that his music was the other half of Selena’s legend.
In 1999, AB returned to the scene by creating the Kumbia Kings. Their debut album Amor, Familia y Respeto, sold over 500,000 copies and received a Grammy nomination.
The album debuted at number 2 that year among all Latin releases and stayed at the top for almost 2 years. In 2003, the Kings was nominated at the American Music Awards for the Latin Artist of the Year after raking numerous awards and recognition for their music and creativity.
In November 2006, Los Kumbia Kings won their first Latin Grammy award. The recognition was for the group’s Kumbia King Live album as Best Tropical Regional Mexican Album.
The successful streak of the Kings ended after the group’s sudden breakup. It was later revealed that co-founders AB Quintanilla III and Cruz Martinez had a falling out due to inconsistencies after the group’s finances were audited.
The Kumbia Kings brand also became a point of contention. Lawsuits were filed by both sides claiming full ownership of the name. AB and Martinez eventually agreed to tuck away the name and end the costly lawsuit. The decision was made final, and the pair went their separate ways.
AB formed Kumbia All Starz with talents coming from the quaint little town of Corpus Christi, and a few others from the original Kumbia group followed him.
AB Quintanilla Net Worth – Frequently Asked Questions
How Much is AB Quintanilla Net Worth?
AB Quintanilla net worth is estimated at $5 million for the current year. The 58-year-old King of Kumbia was the brother of the late Selena, Queen of Tejano Music, who died on March 31st, 1995. AB was her primary music producer and songwriter from 1989 to 1995.
Who Inherited Selena’s Money?
Abraham Jr, Selena and AB’s father, took charge of what the late singer had left behind. It is said that the senior Quintanilla invested a portion of his daughter’s funds to finance the 1997 film about her life. The feature starred Jeniffer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla.
The movie was relatively successful, with a box-office of $35.5 million from a $20 million budget.
Is AB Quintanilla Still Producing?
AB Quintanilla returned to the music scene in 1999 and has since continued his path as a producer and musician. With his first group, Los Kumbia Kings, AB received a Grammy Award.
AB Quintanilla Net Worth – Final Thoughts
AB Quintanilla had earned the status of a superstar and successfully established a legacy of his own as the Kumbia King. And though it’s been decades since the passing of his sister, AB never forgot to pay tribute to Selena and his family with every song and melody he creates.
But a heart-wrenching story with a good ending is never without a buzz. Demeaning accusations were thrown toward the Quintanillas, like how Abraham Jr forbade a blood transfusion that could have saved Selena’s life because it was against their faith as members of Jehova’s Witness.
Or how the family maintains Selena’s memory and tragedy as a “selling point.”
It only takes one song from AB Quintanilla to enlighten a suspicious mind that he is a legitimate talent. Other world-class artists sought his creativity, giving birth to some of the most popular collaborations between Latin musicians. One of which is with the Queen of Latin Pop, Thalia.
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Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.