Jenni Rivera: Revered singer


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The Independent Online

Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash on 9 December, was at the peak of her career as perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated regional style influenced by the norteno, cumbia and ranchero styles. A 43-year-old mother of five children and grandmother of two, the woman known as the "Diva de la Banda" was known for her frank talk about her struggles to give a good life to her children despite a series of setbacks.

She was recently divorced from her third husband, was once detained at a Mexico City airport with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and she publicly apologised after her brother assaulted a drunken fan who verbally attacked her in 2011. Her openness about her personal troubles endeared her to millions in the US and Mexico.

Rivera sold 15m records, and recently won two Billboard Mexican Music Awards: Female Artist of the Year and Banda Album of the Year for "Joyas prestadas: Banda." She was nominated for Latin Grammys in 2002, 2008 and 2011. Many of her songs dealt with themes of dignity in the face of heartbreak, and her shows were known for their festive atmosphere and her intimate interactions with her fans. She would fill song requests from fans who had suffered heartbreak and setbacks, and would often pull women and girls onto stage to personally tell them to keep moving forward.

She was born in California in 1969 to Mexican immigrant parents who founded the label that also propelled two of her five brothers to careers as grupero singers. She studied business administration and started her singing career in flea markets in the Los Angeles area, selling cassette tapes to fans. As well as her singing career, she was also an actress, appearing in the indie film Filly Brown, which was shown at the Sundance Festival.