A new English language biography on Jenni Rivera just has been published. (Photo/Courtesy )

New Jenni Rivera biography reveals deeper look at the singer’s scandals, career and family

Latino fans can’t get enough of Jenni Rivera. Following her tragic death last December, the Mexican American singer has skyrocketed in popularity, landing the posthumous awards and a surge in album sales. Rivera will even be on television once more, when a third season of her hit reality show “I Love Jenni” – featuring scenes filmed in the days before her plane crashed in Monterrey, Mexico – hits airwaves on April 14. And with the brand-new release of a biography on the 43-year-old star, fans on both sides of the border will get a deeper understanding of the artist known as La Diva de la Banda.

In “We Love Jenni” – one of the first English language unauthorized biographies of the singer to be released after her death on Dec. 9 – co-authors Marc Shapiro and Charles Vázquez shares with readers a more-in-depth look at the legacy the mother of five left behind.  It’s a book meant to shed light on a star that was still unknown to so many, says Vázquez.

“What I took away from the experience of working on this book was the fact that there was a very real woman behind the concerts, glamour and awards shows,” says Vázquez, a poet, journalist and editor based in New York City. “She enjoyed helping the people around her and was very generous – and I think that might have been something that was lost in the sensationalism surrounding her death …which for many people, was their first introduction to the woman that was Jenni Rivera.”

A new biography on Jenni Rivera has been published.

A new biography on Jenni Rivera has been published. (Photo/Courtesy RIverdale Avenue Books)

Vázquez says he was tapped by publisher Riverdale Avenue Books to join the Rivera biography project just three days after headlines broke that Rivera’s plane nose-dived at speeds believed to have exceeded 600 miles per hour. As co-author alongside Shapiro – a New York Times best-selling author whose previous titles include biographies on Justin Bieber and J.K. Rowling – Vázquez was tasked with translating Spanish language interviews that Rivera had given over her career.

“We really wanted to get into the story right away and my part was focused mainly on learning about who she was, in her own words,” explains Vázquez, who spent more than a month researching and translating the singer’s print, television and radio interviews.

Vázquez admits that he and Shapiro did not reach out to Rivera’s family, manager or personal contacts in writing the biography; rather, says Vázquez, his mission was to write an account of the singer’s career that would eclipse any scandal that preceded her passing.

“There’s no denying that Jenni was an overworked, overtaxed, overly ambitious woman,” remarks Vázquez. “I was haunted that despite this celebrity machine being built around her, she really just wanted to be a good mom – and I wanted to prove that.”

Vázquez says that he doesn’t feel apologetic about being unable to disprove reports that Rivera’s estranged husband Esteban Loaiza had cheated on her with daughter Janney or dismiss speculation that Rivera had smuggled cash into the U.S. for Mexican drug traffickers. “Sometimes that’s for the best,” he says. “I wasn’t able to confirm much.”

But fans should feel confident, Vázquez, notes, that he tried to do the singer justice – despite the fact that neither he or his co-author are Mexican.

“Maybe there would have been some benefit if one of us had been Mexican, but as working class, Latino, I think her story was familiar,” says Vázquez. “It’s a rags-to-riches story that touches Latinos across ethnic backgrounds.”

While the biography reveals several little-known facts about the singer – she made her film debut in 2009’s “Addicted to Salsa,” a straight-to-TV movie by director Robert Rodriguez; at one time she had considered taking a starring role in a telenovela, as well as appearances on “Dancing with the Stars” and Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” and that she knowingly filmed a sex tape with a former lover – the book also divulges what her fans on both sides of the border knew well. Rivera was born into a family from humble means, making her success particularly poignant for the immigrant family.

“She definitely became the most famous Rivera in the family, and I think that came at the chagrin of some of her brothers,” discloses Vázquez, whose book is available in an e-book format and in stores nationwide. “That type of tension in the family is normal. But I think in the end, they all came together to heal over her loss because it was so unexpected.”

Although the Rivera family hasn’t released a statement acknowledging his book, Vázquez says he expects the world will hear their side of the story with the release of the singer’s authorized biography that will be released this summer by Atria Books.

“When I started working on this, I had no idea that Jenni had started writing a book of her own,” he says. “There’s controversy, tragedy and love within this story, all about a woman who became a pop star nearly by accident.”

“But I think there’s room for both books because Mark and I tried our best to paint a realistic picture of the woman Jenni Rivera really was.”