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10 Things We Learned About Jenni Rivera’s Early Days From ‘Mariposa de Barrio’

While watching, we learned a few things about the “Paloma Negra” singer’s early days in her career, like performing for the very first time at 11 years old at a competition show to swearing off that she’d never sing again. Below, 10 things we learned about the Long Beach, Calif., native after watching Mariposa de Barrio:

First time on a stage

Jenni Rivera set foot on a stage for the very first time at 11 years old for a singing competition event called “Super Talento Latino.” With her father, Don Pedro Rivera, cheering her on from the sidelines, Rivera performed Chayito Valdes’ “Besos Y Copas” with a live mariachi.

Swears off singing again 

But halfway through her performance, she forgets the lyrics to the song and runs off the stage. After the incident, she tells her father that she will never sing again but he insists that she is destined to be a great artist and that she will eventually sing again.

Farallon Nightclub

Approximately 10 years later, she was dared by friends to go onstage at the Farallon Nightclub and break her promise of not singing ever again. In honor of Chalino Sánchez – a corridos singer who was signed to the Rivera’s record label Cintas Acuarios and was murdered in Sinaloa in 1992 – she sings “Nieves de Enero.”

Records first album 

After her performance at the Farallon, she decides to record her first-ever album as a special gift for her father on the day of his birthday. Produced by her brothers (Pedro Jr., Gustavo and Lupillo), she even surprised him by taking the stage at his party to perform a song from the album.

From real estate to singer

As a single mother, Rivera worked night and day to provide for her five children. She went from working at a local swap meet where her family would sell cassettes to working at a movie rental place to real estate agent while helping her dad out at the music label. Eventually, she stopped working in real estate to go on tour and became a full-time singer.

Local gigs

Before performing at renowned venues, she started off local, performing at music festivals in California and surrounding areas including Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico. More often than not, it was men who served as promoters of the festivals and refused to pay her, telling her to think of them doing her a favor for allowing her to perform. But at all times, she stood up for herself and never allowed those men to see her as less than her male counterparts.

First-ever TV performance

For her first performance on television, Jenni traveled to Miami, where she’d sing at the iconic Saturday night show Sábado Gigante, hosted by the legendary Don Francisco on Univision. She returns to Miami to help celebrate the show’s 15th anniversary, where she performed her chart-topping hit “Querida Socia.”

Billboard charts

From the genesis of her career, Rivera and her family paid close attention to the Billboard charts. Religiously, they checked every week to see if one of her tracks had charted. “Querida Socia” was among the first songs to track. It peaked at No. 18 on Billboard‘s Regional Mexican Airplay chart (dated April 27, 2001).

Ford Amphitheater concert

After her track “Querida Socia” peaks at No. 18, she announces her first-ever tour. She kicked it off at at LA’s Ford Amphitheater, where she sold out the 1,000 seats. Since tickets weren’t being sold via Ticketmaster, the marketing was done over blogs and MySpace, where fans requested how many tickets they each wanted, which were then hand-delivered by Rivera family members.

The butterfly symbol 

The “La Chacalosa” singer told her designer that she wanted a butterfly to inspire her stage wardrobe. A symbol of her transformation from a struggling single mother to successful artist – a caterpillar that turns into a butterfly and opens her wings to fly.

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