How it all began.

I had a few people ask what my “story” is and why I became a fan. It wasn’t through some amazing turn of events. It did take some time.

Unfortunately, I was one of those people who found out about her after the tragedy. I’m from a very small town in Ohio. I had no latino influence in my area. I was more into Ace of Base, Brandy and Sheryl Crow at the time.

I remember the day she passed away though. It’s amazing how I remember and little did I know what would become of it and a part of my life. It was a Friday night and I had a friend over for a sleep over. I was watching the 11pm news waiting for Letterman to be on  and I remember them saying how Selena was shot and killed. Now 10 year old me wasn’t listening well. I thought they said Celine Dion. I was a bit surprised but carried on with life as usual hearing of the “death” of Celine Dion.

Months passed. My mom used to give me a few dollars here and there to go spend as I wish. I loved going to the music stores or Wal-Mart and trying to find new music. I would just pick up random cds and scan them and listen to the previews. I don’t really remember why or when but sometime in late 1995, I bought the “Dreaming of You” cassette. I didn’t know much about her.  I didn’t even know she sang in Spanish. I recall listening to side B for the first time and Amor Prohibido came on. I thought it sounded like a Caribbean Christmas song at the intro. I will admit I was not the biggest fan of the Spanish stuff. I used to only listen to side A. There’s an interview where Selena actually talks about how for some people, Tejano music takes time to get used to and enjoy. She was correct! It grew on me and eventually I would start to listen to and enjoy side B.

Sometime in 1996, I bought the Selena Remembered VHS.  I am pretty confident that’s the moment I became a real fan. I actually learned of her story and who she actually was and actually saw her perform. I got to hear more of the Tejano side of her music.  It also had the trailer for the upcoming movie which made me even more interested.

But that’s when I started to do the online searches and tried to find videos . I would go to the library and look through magazines to get clippings and pictures. I think I owe the Edgerton Library an apology and some cash for all the things I took from their collections of magazines.  I remember “renting” the one computer with internet at the library so I could look at the Selena Etc. website and order t-shirts via mail.

The movie also sparked more of a love. I remember seeing it the first day it came out. And then three more times.

It’s been about 20 years now. I think I grow to appreciate Selena and her music more and more as I get older.

As a kid what made me love her was the music and watching her performances. I just thought she was fun.

As an adult what attracts me and makes me appreciate her as a person and artist is that she had class. Absolute class. I’ve watched so many interviews and read so many articles and there was something about the way she carried herself and spoke. She seemed beyond her years with her professionalism and poise. She didn’t have to rely on a gimmick to sell records or get a fan base like so many artists nowadays. She didn’t need a fancy stage set up or multi media presentation to put on a good show. I cannot think of anyone who can compare  or come close to her in the mainstream market.

My son doesn’t stand a chance of not listening to her in the car or growing up without seeing her concerts.  He better get used to it. Who knows..he may be fluent in Spanish before he hits kindergarten 😉

Performances I love more than the 1995 Astrodome show.

Every single fan knows of this concert.  It’s her most recognisable performance. Selena was at the top of her game and it broke records in regards to attendance at the Astrodome. I still think this was a wonderful performance and of course, her most iconic. People who aren’t even huge fans know of that purple jumpsuit. It was featured with one her dolls, the movie and countless fan made items. People have made homemade Halloween costumes based on it. And it’s a great sight to see at the museum.

However, it’s not my favorite. Not even in my top favorites for a couple of reasons. Due to the venue, she had to be distant from the audience and couldn’t be personable. Also the majority of the setlist was from Amor Prohibido which to be fair, they didn’t get a super long set so they were probably just trying to do all their more recent hits.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a brilliant performance by her.

These are the ones that make it to the top of my list:

T Town- 1993

Hands down. My favorite. I love this concert for a few reasons. There’s 2 songs that she rarely sang live- (could of been the only time. I can’t find it anywhere else) “La Muruca Cumbia” and “Parece Que Va Llover” . I wish she recorded “La Muruca Cumbia.”  I’m going to admit I downloaded that song from Youtube to my phone because it’s a great song to run to at the gym. Back when I commuted to work on the train, I loved listening to it in the morning. Pretty sure you could see me bobbing around at my seat at 7am.

They also did “Costumbres” which I don’t think I’ve ever seen that done past the late 1980s. And we all got to hear an alternate version of “Missing My Baby”.

This was a great performance because she seemed so relaxed and having fun. There’s a lot of audience interaction. She often seemed like that in smaller venues. Lots of small talk too which I love.

Monterrey 1994

Such a fun night . She had tons of energy and the audience was completely engaged in it. Not to mention, I loved her outfit. She just seemed to have some extra sass that night.

San Antonio- 1991

A classic. Late 80’s- early 90’s Selena is my favorite look. Her bob haircut was adorable and her dancing is spot on for early 90’s pop. There’s a few rare songs on here like “Sensitivity” and “Set Me Free” and you get to see her rapping skills 😉 It was a great preview of her English crossover success.

I’m glad they released this on DVD however I wished it showed the entire concert. There’s parts missing compared to the  original Pay Per View showing.

I think we can all agree she was never off when she performed. She never had a “bad” concert and always put 100% into it which is what made her an amazing entertainer.

But we all have our favorites 🙂

Finding Selena online before Youtube and Facebook

I’m now going to sound like an old lady with my “I remember back in the day…” stories.

I’m hoping some older fans can relate to this. Younger fans…you have it so easy.

I first had the internet in 1995. I remember searching for Selena stuff on Yahoo or Webcrawler.  The source to go to was Ondanet. It had all the latest news, old songs, and information about the movie when it was being made. It actually still exists! It hasn’t been updated in about 17 years. But I love looking at it time to time. It’s such a great time capsule. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I think it was the very first Selena website. There is still some good stories hidden in there.

I didn’t have Youtube with thousands of Selena clips. I had to go on websites and wait 2 hours for a short clip of the Astrodome concert. I don’t think it ever worked for me with the speed of my old Packard Bell computer and using a dial up connection.

I also learned about Ebay through the old fan sites. I remember back in the late 90s, you would be lucky if 30 Selena items would be up. There is now over 2000 easily.  And if you won the auction, you had to send in a check or money order.

And the fans were so connected back then. There wasn’t a huge competition like there is now.  They used to freely trade items with one another and even give each other videos of concerts.  I was a part of this little group called Selena Pals  and a fellow fan sent me 2 video tapes of hours of concerts and tv specials. Another one sent me a cassette tape of all her old LP recordings.  They didn’t ask for money. They just did it as a favor from one fan to another. Looking back, probably wasn’t a wise idea to give my address to some stranger online but hey, it was 1997. I didn’t know better!

I now get a little sad that the fan community doesn’t seem to be like that so much anymore. It seems to be more about making money and getting tons of “likes” on Facebook or having the most exclusive information or news. I liked how it was more of a tight knit community then. I do know there’s some great websites out there who just aim to keep fans together and share information so I’m not grouping them all together like that.  Maybe I just had some bad experiences!

However, I do believe the internet has helped her fan base as well. We now have connections directly with her family via Facebook (Suzette, Chris and AB are quite active), instant access to her music for free with the Selena radio website and of course, Youtube. Thank you to all the people who have taken time and dusted off their VCRs and put those clips up.

My 13 year old self’s mind would of been blown if I knew I could have instant access to  hundreds of hours of concert videos of her in the future.