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La Gran Senora

December 10, 2012

We at the RIAA can only react with the same shock and sadness as that of legions of fans and admirers throughout the world at the passing of the singular artist, beloved figure, formidable businesswoman, and force of nature that was Jenni Rivera.

Jenni blazed a path in every possible way.  Born into a realm of music -- regional Mexican -- often dominated by men, she became “La Diva de la Banda” by keeping the format but utterly transforming it with her voice, her candor, and her style.   There is no doubt that she ruled the charts and sales figures, with multi-Platinum certifications for albums such as “Parrandera, Rebelde y Atrevida,” “Mi Vida Loca” and “La Gran Señora.”  As relevant and compelling as ever, with “Joyas Prestadas: Banda” and “Joyas Prestadas: Pop” on the charts, the numbers tell only a tiny part of the story.

It was Jenni’s spirit, presence, boldness, passion for life, and “real-ness” that radiated in her life and in her music. It resonated beyond measure.  Her devotion to her fans was epic too, playing hours past schedule so that every fan would be satisfied.

I can only speak to her singular presence having had the incredible honor (and fun) of accompanying her when the California Latino Caucus recognized her with the prestigious Spirit Award on the floor of the State Capitol last May 2011.  Others were honored; major stars of film, television, civil rights and academia.  Yet, the fans, legislators – and the cameras! – singularly found her, everyone wanting to chat and come close. The room was mesmerized by her warmth, energy, candor and optimism, particularly in describing the formation of her foundation to aid battered women.  She was unabashed, unbowed and utterly inspirational. (That same summer, she would become the first regional Mexican artist to headline – and sell out – the Staples Center.)

Of course, her music and charitable work also only tell part of the story, as she was also a brilliant and inspirational businesswoman, making her mark across, tv, radio, film, production, fashion and fragrance.

It’s impossible to put into words the loss, or to think on what would have continued to be with this young, radiant figure.  We can only express our deepest condolences to her entire family and to her fans, as well as to the families of the other passengers lost on the plane.

As post after post of fans on her Twitter account said, prior to this and throughout her career, we can only add our own, “Gracias, Diva.”

Joel Flatow
GM, West Coast Operations/
SVP, Artist & Industry Relations