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Jenni Rivera - Biography of Banda's Diva

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The 11th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards
Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

When Pedro Rivera and his wife Rosa emigrated to the U.S. from their home in Mexico, they probably shared the dreams of all those who leave home in order to create a better life for themselves and their children. But in Don Pedro Rivera’s case, he did more than that –- he created a musical dynasty. All four of his sons (Juan, Pedro Jr., Gustavo and Lupillo) currently make their living in music. What may have been unexpected was that his daughter, Jenni, would become a stand-out in the male-dominated world of banda.

Early Days:

Jenni Rivera was born in 1969 in the Los Angeles area; the family made their home in Long Beach. Although she was raised in the world of Regional Mexican music, she didn't plan on a musical career.

Rivera became pregnant when she was still a sophomore in high school. Undaunted, Rivera finished high school, went on to college to study business administration and eventually married Jose Trinidad Marin, the father of her first three children.

Abuse and Divorce:

But there was no immediate happy ending for Rivera: Trinidad Marin was abusive and she left him. She later found out that he had sexually abused her younger sister, as well as her daughter. Trinidad Marin evaded police for nine years and was finally apprehended in April 2006; he was eventually convicted on multiple sexual assault and rape counts.

In the meantime, Rivera found herself a mother of three and on welfare. Never a quitter, she got her real estate license and also went to work for her father’s record label, Cintas Acuario.

Jenni Rivera's Musical Debut:

With her newly earned degree in Business Administration and the experience she had gained at Cintas Acuario, Rivera decided to go for a career in the family business: music. She signed with Capitol/EMI’s Latin division and released her first album, Chacalosa, in 1995. The debut album sold more than a million copies and Rivera went on to make several more successful albums for the label before switching to Sony’s Latin division.

In 1999 she signed with Fonovisa, the premier label in the regional Mexican market, and continued to release albums that cemented her popularity.

Mi Vida Loca:

Rivera was now a mother of five, divorced again from the second husband of eight years that she left for cheating on her. Angry, outspoken and determined to survive despite the many setbacks she had endured, she spilled all those emotions into 2007’s biographical album Mi Vida Loca, which earned Rivera both gold and platinum awards. The album contains a banda version of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” as well as “Dejame Vivir,” “Inolvidable” and “Dama Divina,” which became another of Rivera’s nicknames.

Arrest and Sex Tapes:

Rivera remains busy and always controversial. In June of 2008, she was arrested for assault when she hit a fan onstage with her microphone; Rivera claims the fan threw a beer can at her that injured her leg. A few months later, news of a Jenni Rivera sex tape stolen from her home hit the media and Rivera once again became the object of controversy.

Loud and honest, colorful and warm, Jenni Rivera continues to set the story of her life to music and her reign as the ‘Diva of Banda.’

Partial Jenni Rivera Discography

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