But her blossoming career was cut short when her plane crashed early Sunday on its way to Toluca, Mexico, after a concert in Monterrey. Of the seven people on the flight, authorities said there were no survivors. Rivera was 43.
“I’m happy, I’m very happy for the success that I’ve had, but I’ve worked so hard at it,” Rivera said in April at Billboard’s Latin Music Conference. “It’s not that I feel that I deserve it. You kind of work hard and you have expectations, so I’m living my expectations right now … Being a recording artist, selling music, selling concerts out, having a reality show, starting film; it’s great, it’s beautiful.”
So who was Rivera? Best known as La Diva de la Banda, the singer was one of the biggest stars in the mostly male-dominated Spanish-language pop scene.
1. A California native
The singer-actress was born Dolores Janney Rivera. She grew up in California in a musical family. Her father Pedro founded the Cintas Acuario label and her four brothers — the most well-known of which is her younger brother Lupillo — are all Mexican musicians. After working for her dad’s company following college graduation, Rivera signed with EMI/Capitol’s Latin division in 1995.
2. A reality star
Rivera was the star of three Mun2 channel shows, the best known of which was mun2’s I Love Jenni. She was also a coach on the Mexican version of TV singing competition The Voice, and was reportedly in talks with ABC to begin a sitcom about her life, simply entitled Jenni.
3. A prolific brand
Rivera had developed fragrances, cosmetics and clothing lines. As an entrepreneur, she launched many companies, including Divina Realty, Divina Cosmestics, Jenni Jeans and the Jenni Rivera Foundation.
4. A chart topper
During her 17-year career, Rivera sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. And within the Latin music industry, Rivera blazed Billboard charts: she had seven Top 10s on Top Latin Albums; 10 Top 10s on Regional Mexican Airplay; eight Top 20 singles on the Hot Latin Songs; and eight Top 10s on Regional Mexican Albums. River was even nominated three times for a Latin Grammy Award.
5. An advocate
By the time she was 16, Riva was married with her first daughter, Janney, now known as Chiquis. But in 1996, River divorced her child’s father, José Trinidad Marín, on account of abuse. In 2006, Marín was convicted of molesting Chiquis and a sister-in-law Rosie. That early-life trauma led Rivera to take a stand — she founded the Jenni Rivera Love Foundation, which lends a hand to single mothers and domestic abuse victims.
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