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Selena

Dreaming of You (EMI Latin)

I once read that you can tell a lot about a person by their first ever memory of getting in big trouble. For me, it happened when I was 5 years old.

I was standing on my bed, holding a hairbrush like a microphone. Every doll, action figure and stuffed animal that I owned was on the floor in the audience. I had tears streaming down my face as I sang. Only after I finished a high note and took a bow did I notice my babysitter standing in the doorway with chicken noodle soup, glaring at me. 

“You don’t look very sick, Madison.” She caught me red-handed. I had faked a stomach ache at kindergarten so that I could go home and listen to my Selena CD. The next day, my mom made me go to the principal’s office before school to apologize for lying.

The movie Selena came out that year, and I was completely fixated on her. Her story is obviously inspiring, devastating and cinematic. But her music was equally exciting to me, and “obsessed” is the only word that accurately describes how I felt about it. I was a white girl from California who didn’t speak a word of Spanish, and yet I learned every lyric of the album, and would sing it passionately at the top of my lungs.

Even now when I listen back, I’m deeply moved. Selena has one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard. It has so much grit, so much feeling. Her technical skills are spectacular, and she flawlessly sings fast, complex rhythms in a language that wasn’t even her first! She revolutionized Tejano music, was an icon for the Latina community, and was a massive pop crossover star on track to take over American pop culture. It still chokes me up when I listen to her massive body of work (that she recorded before her death at 23 years old, I might add) and think of her potential, her talent, and what she contributed to the world in such a short time.

Maddie Ross plays with Twin Oaks and Lauren Lakis at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 4 at the Satellite.

(EMI Latin)