Laura Canales

The first queen of tejano music, Laura Canales broke the gender barrier in the seventies and eighties and paved the way for Selena Quintanilla, the superstar who put tejano on the map. But by the early nineties, when Selena’s career had begun to take off, Canales had vanished from the scene—to go back to school. She earned her degree in clinical psychology at Texas A&M—Kingsville in 1997 and is currently pursuing a double master’s in clinical psychology and art. The fortysomething vocalist still performs, having recently hooked up with the Legends, the Grammy award-winning tejano supergroup consisting of Freddie Martinez, Sunny Ozuna, Carlos Guzman, and Agustin Ramirez, for selected dates around the United States. “I still love getting onstage and singing, and these guys treat me nice,” Canales says. But she can’t say enough about the importance of an education. “Going to school is about making sure you have options,” she says. “Music can be very good to you, but it can be very bad too, because when you stop making money, you have no other options.”

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