The Texas singer, who was born in San Antonio, pops up tonight on “Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson.” It airs at 8 on PBS and features Peña performing “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” with husband Obie Bermudez.
Peña has been out of sight for some time. Her last album, “Dicen Que El Tiempo,” was released in 2007. Before that, she seemed poised for longevity.
At the beginning of her career, Peña was dubbed the heir apparent to Tejano queen Selena. She was managed by Abraham Quintanilla, Selena’s father, and performed Tejano music as Jennifer y Los Jetz. Peña performed at
RodeoHouston, won awards and maintained a pop sensibility.
Peña eventually outlasted the unfair comparisons, delving into Latin pop. Some of her biggest hits were dramatic ballads: “El Dolor De Tu Presencia,” “Entre El Delirio y la Locura,” “Hasta El Fin Del Mundo,” “Vivo Y Muero En Tu Piel.”
“El Dolor de Tu Presencia” spent two months atop the Billboard charts. She recorded the 2002 World Cup anthem “Vamos al Mundial” and starred in the 2006 MTV fim “All You’ve Got” with Ciara and Adrienne Bailon.
Peña married singer Bermudez in 2007. They had a son the same year. In a 2011 video from the Corpus Christi-based Church Unlimited, Peña says she took a break from music to focus on family but “circumstances weren’t working in my favor” when she tried to make a comeback, which led to her being “very, very angry with music.” She eventually turned to Christian music and singing in the church.
“Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson” features Jackson tunes covered by Jon Secada, Angel Lopez, Michael Stuart, Judith Hill, Jean Rodriguez and Sheila E. It was taped in July 2015 in Miami. Maybe it’ll inspire Peña to make a full-on comeback.