Abraham Isaac Quintanilla, better known as A.B Quintanilla, is an American musician, songwriter, composer, and record producer. He is a prominent figure in the Latin music scene and has many successful songs attributed to him. He has two sisters, Selena—the 'Queen of Tejano music', who was murdered—and Suzette, the musician and actress. A.B Quintanilla played a crucial role in the success of his late sister Selena. His father, Abraham Quintanilla Jr., was a musician himself and inculcated this passion in his children too. They formed a family band called the 'Selena y Los Dinos' that translates to 'Selena and the boys.' He started his career by performing at 'Papagallos,' their family-run restaurant. Together with Selena he produced chart-topping songs like "Como la Flor," "No Me Queda Más' and "Amor Prohibido." His stardom rose along with his quintessential sister Selena while they worked in collaboration.
From a tender age, A.B Quintanilla played the guitar, and as part of 'Los Dinos,' he guided the band towards limelight. In 1984, their debut album was produced after a record label owned by Freddie Martinez offered them a contract. In 1986, the group also released albums like 'Alpha' and 'Muñequito de Trapo’. His song "Dame un Beso" was moderately popular, but people recognized the talent of his sister Selena. She was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year in the Hispanic Music Awards and Tejano Music Awards. They released other albums for which A.B also received a nomination for Songwriter of the Year.
Selena was an emerging artist in the group and soon separated to begin her solo career. A.B Quintanilla helped Selena release her first solo album along with Pete Astudillo, and over the years, they co-authored most of her songs. The sales of her hit song "Baila Esta Cumbia," which was written by him and Astudillo, reached gold status in 1990.
In 1993, he produced 'Live' that won the Grammy for 'Best Mexican American album' and in 1994 'Amor Prohibido' that helped her enter the Latin music scene. This album topped the 'Top Latin Albums' chart and remained there for 78 weeks. On 31 March 1995, his sister Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldívar, following which he stopped working for some time.
He returned to the music industry with the band 'Kumbia Kings’; the band made music which was a mixture of traditional cumbia with hip hop and R&B. They became widely popular and went on tours worldwide. They also appeared on 'El Show de Cristina.' A.B. Quintanilla also worked with famous artists like Cristian Castro, Alicia Villarreal, and Thalía. He is also known for composing and arranging 'A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Joe Lopez' that included smash hits like "Cuando Estoy Contigo" and "Soy Tan Feliz" written in partnership with Luigi Giraldo.
In 2006, he quit from the 'Kumbia Kings' amid a disagreement with member Cruz Martínez. He went on to form another group 'Kumbia All Starz' with Chris Pérez and Pee Wee and other new members. Kumbia All Starz has major hits under their belt like "Chiquilla," "Parece Que Va a Llover," and "Speedy Gonzales”. The 'Kumbia All Starz' is extremely popular in Bolivia. On 2 October 2016, Quintanilla declared that it would be their final act as a band. In the same year, he also created a new group, 'Elektro Kumbia’, with some members of 'Kumbia All Starz.'
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Controversies & Scandals
A.B Quintanilla's life has been embroiled with controversies. He was accused of not paying the band members their share of income, and DJ Kane also took him to court. The 'Kumbia King' founders, Cruz Martínez and Quintanilla, were involved in a public court battle. After the split, Quintanilla filed a petition claiming the name "Los Kumbia Kings" while Martinez didn't seem to oppose it. He has also been a topic of discussion when a video of him surfaced, where he is found saying offensive statements about Mexicans. This became viral across the internet. 'The Asociación Nacional de Actores de México (ANDA) ordered him to apologize for his comments. He apologized eventually, but the people were riled up, and he was once even booed off from the stage.
Family & Personal Life
A.B Quintanilla was born on 13 December 1963, in Toppenish, Washington, to Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Marcella Ophelia Zamora. He grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas.
A.B Quintanilla married Rikkie Leigh Robertson in 2011 and fathered eight children, including sons Savani Quintanilla, Giani Quintanilla.
On 16 September 2019, he married Anjelah O. Quintanilla, and the ceremony was held in Las Vegas.