Latin singer Jenni Rivera, who became one of the most successful entertainers in regional Mexican music, died a year ago today (Dec. 9). Since her death, tributes have continued to surface including a concert on the anniversary date at Arena Monterrey in Mexico, where the songstress performed her last show.
|Jenni Rivera: Watch Stars Honor the Latin Icon|
A recent Billboard cover story on Rivera looked at the performer who was planning to have one her busiest years of her career. A bevy of businesses from a Las Vegas residency to a TV sitcom built around her persona were just some of the plans.
Instead, on Dec. 9, 2012, in the early morning hours the singer's small plane carrying six others crashed shortly after take off from the airport in Monterrey. Rivera had just performed at the venue and was on her way to appear on Mexico's version of "The Voice," where she was about to end her run as a judge.
As fans around the world heard the news a year ago, it was clear that Rivera was inching her way to the top in a career that early on had setbacks. However, she was building a powerful brand that only seemed to be gaining momentum.
"We lost our sister, our mother, our daughter," the singer's sister Rosie Rivera told Billboard recently. "As her family we see her on the Billboard charts, getting nominated for awards and it feels like she's alive. We probably cry several times a week."
|Remembering Jenni Rivera|
| • Order the Jenni Rivera Issue
• Read the Jenni Rivera Cover Story
• Jenni Rivera's Life in Photos
Rosie Rivera has been overseeing her sister's estate in every aspect from working business deals in the music business that were already in the works to overseeing other projects such as the recent opening of an L.A. boutique where fans can now buy Jenni products from jeans to key chains. On Dec. 3, "Jenni Rivera 1969-Siempre En Vivo Desde Monterrey Parte 1" (Fonovisa/UMLE) went on sale featuring the singer at her last concert.
Overseeing Rivera's estate has been no easy task, but Rivera has stepped up in the name of honoring her sibling. During an interview with Billboard, Rosie opened up about the aftermath of her sister's death, coming to grips with the loss and having to learn the music business at a quick pace.
Billboard: What has it been like managing your sister's estate and supporting projects your sister had been working on?
It has been crazy because of the amount of work that she left for us. Jenni had an incredible work ethnic. She was a workaholic and she was apparently always thinking about projects between traveling and meetings. Everyone in the family is involved. It's an immense amount of work. She was very organized and now she leaves [the work] to us.
How time consuming are these projects?
I don't think one human being could do all these things and thank God she left it to me. Sometimes we work 15, 16 hours a day. There are days when I get tired, weary, pressured and stressed. I got overwhelmed. Then I just sit down and think about how much she loved me, how much she taught her children and me. She gave to every single one of us.
You had mostly led a private life previously. How are you handling the media attention?
It's completely night and day. I went from being a civilian to a general in the army and that has had a huge impact in my life. It has been difficult for me because I'm a very private person. I treasure doing my own thing and no one knowing. [In earlier days] my father would ask me if I wanted to sing, but I said no and told him I was never going to be a public person in the media. Throughout all this I've also been grieving my sister. I also miss Dec. 8 [the day before Jenni died] and Rosie's 9 to 5 life. My sister is worth it.
What kind of Jenni music will we be seeing in the future?
Since January we were focused on an album in English. She recorded it in the early 2000s … 2002, 2003. There are west coast rap style songs that show the diva side. She's an amazing rapper. But the album will also have dance mixes in addition to music in Spanish. Due to timing we won't be dropping the album [soon], but it will happen at some point.
Her last concert was on Dec. 8, 2012, in Monterrey. What has it been like working on a tribute concert for your sister at the place where she had her last show?
We wanted to celebrate her as painful as it is. We wanted to go back to Monterrey for an amazing concert. We thought why not invite her fans who were hardcore and passionate. We've called on people that my sister loved and these celebrities have signed on to be part of the show.
There's a lot on going on for you and your family. How do you manage it all?
It's been very painful, but we are a family that tries to be united. We're still grieving. There are so many emotions going on and we're [all] in different parts of the grieving process, and emotions do clash. You just keep a positive outlook and not take everything too seriously. In the end it will be okay. We learn quickly and we're used to being in battles. You win and lose, but keep on the good stuff.