Photo Credit to Cesar Bonazza, Getty Images Article by Megan Vineberg
Born in the 80s and 90s, you would remember Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, whose crossover English-language album brought her mainstream success. In English, songs like “Dreaming of You” were radio hits, and “Como La Flor,” were staples in Hispanic households. From Netflix comes an original series based on the life of Selena as a singer-songwriter, from the very beginning up until the day she died at the hands of fan-club president Ms. Yolanda Saldivar out of greed and jealousy. The series is meant to showcase how hard work and persistence pays off, and it can even beat out talented performers.
“BUT I DON’T KNOW SPANISH!”
You wouldn’t know it but Selena actually did not know Spanish before beginning to perform music. Originally, Selena, A.B., and Suzette played songs in English, with Suzette on drums and A.B. as lead guitarist and principal songwriter. Both parents spoke to Selena and her siblings in English at home. Her father Abraham was of Mexican descent, however, and had the brilliant idea of integrating both Mexican culture with that of the United States into what was then known as the music of Selena Y Los Dinos. The group performed both original songs and covers before eventually branching out on her own. It was then made clear that they made the right decision because Selena signed with EMI Latin and the rest is history! Selena went on to win a Grammy award for her album, “Live!” as well as becoming sponsored by the brand Coca Cola.
CROSS OVER ALBUM
Dreaming of You was Selena’s crossover album on which she sang in English and Spanish, connecting to those of Mexican descent and her American fans alike. It was the last studio album recorded by the star. The album charted on the Billboard Hot 200, selling more than 331,000 copies within its first week. Certified 3.5 times platinum by the RIAA. Selena landed the number one and two spots in the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. Dreaming of You also charted on the Billboard Latin Top 50, of which five of her albums were included. Dreaming of You was even the first effort by a Hispanic singer to chart at number 1. This past July, the album turned 25 years old, and people are still buzzing about it.
Baltimore Sun reviewed the album saying:
“ ‘Dreaming of You’ takes a delightfully literal approach to the phrase "sleeping together" as Selena's protagonist visits her love only in her dreams. An endearingly innocent expression of love and longing, it sounds exactly like the sort of thing Madonna was doing a decade ago -- right down to the dramatic, throaty vibrato she uses to flesh out the low notes in the chorus.”
The Netflix series showcases new actors but still maintains a lot of the same imagery of the original 1997 film released by Warner Brothers. The film was produced by Selena’s father Abraham, and showcased her life as a performer as well as her marriage to her lead guitarist, Chris Perez (shown below)
Selena went on to marry her lead guitarist, Chris Perez before she died.
In an Instagram post, Selena’s husband Chris reacted to the news of the series:
"I loved her music even before I joined the band. I was intrigued by the fact that her brother had his name on everything as producer. Keyboard player Ricky Vela was my hero as far as musicianship goes. Her dad ran some amazing sound when I went to see them at an event in San Antonio. I learned so much by taking on their guitar player Roger Garcia's parts and doing my best to stretch it even further. They had a girl drummer that laid it DOWN (Suzette really is a badass). Joe and Pete brought the 'extra' and added a whole other dimension PLUS Pete wrote amazing lyrics....and they sounded HEAVY."
Suzette also took to Instagram to show her love for the series being brought to life.
“GUYS!!! OMG!!! Waking up and this is insane and beautiful. Thank you, thank you - for this love you have always given our family.”
SELENA: THE SERIES PART 2
Selena: The Series has wrapped filming for Part 2 already, and we could not be more excited! As you know, Borderless Melodies is open to a lot of different artists no matter the style, and featuring Selena is another way to bring a little bit of Latin culture into the mix-- and boy, do we have questions for you. Do you feel best represented through this series, and will you be watching out for Part 2? We want to hear your thoughts on how this original series portrays the singer. For more on Selena: The Series, click below for a sneak preview.