SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Billboard) – Ten years after her death, Selena remains a central figure on the Latin music scene, as a steady stream of releases has kept her legacy alive.
Nearing the 10th anniversary of the superstar’s death on March 31, 1995, six major Selena-related CD packages have either been released or are coming soon, mainly from EMI — the company that reissued her key catalog titles in 2002.
Among the new releases is “Selena Remembered,” a greatest-hits CD and DVD documentary, narrated by Edward James Olmos. It hit stores Jan. 25.
That was followed on March 15 with EMI’s “The Last Concert,” a CD/DVD of Selena’s Feb. 26, 1995, Houston Rodeo performance at the Astrodome. The set includes 13 songs, bonus tracks and a video biography.
Also coming from EMI is “Selena: Unforgettable,” which will be available March 29 as two individual CDs or as a limited-edition two-CD set. One disc compiles Selena’s hits recorded in the studio; the other features the hits performed live.
Also on March 29, EMI will release “Duetos,” an album by the Kumbia Kings — led by Selena’s brother A.B. Quintanilla. The album includes two duets with Selena.
A week later, EMI will release “Selena Unforgettable — The Ultimate Collection,” a commemorative four-disc collector’s edition that includes the two “Unforgettable” CDs and two DVDs.
Then there is “Mexico Recuerda a Selena,” an all-star tribute featuring such artists as Palomo and Liberacion. It was released March 15 on Univision Records.
Yet another EMI release is scheduled for May 10. This CD/DVD will be based on “Selena: Vive!,” the all-star tribute scheduled for April 7 at Houston’s Reliant Stadium. Guests include Pepe Aguilar, Gloria Estefan, Aleks Syntek, Thalia, Alejandra Guzman, Bobby Pulido, Carlos Vives, Ana Gabriel, Lucero, Banda el Recodo, Fey and Montez de Durango.
The concert will be broadcast live as a three-hour special on the Univision network.
Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, who runs Q Productions in Corpus Christi, Texas, is looking forward to “one of the biggest productions” Univision has ever mounted.
Quintanilla says the 70,000-seat Reliant Stadium will be configured as a 55,000-seat concert venue for the show, which will feature broadcast performances by 24 artists.
Selena was shot and killed in a Corpus Christi motel by Yolanda Saldivar, the ex-president of her fan club, now serving a life sentence.
Since her death, five of Selena’s albums have hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart. They include her English-language crossover set, “Dreaming of You,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, making Selena the first Latin artist to achieve that feat.
Selena remains one of the top five Latin recording acts of all time, according to Nielsen SoundScan, despite the fact that she was only 23 when she died.
The prospect of selling six major releases in a tight time frame seems daunting. But Chano Elizondo, owner of San Antonio’s CE Distributing, has no doubts about the potential.
“I don’t think it is overkill. I think the people never get tired of her,” Elizondo says. “Selena is a catalog seller. I think when the radio stops playing her, her music might stop selling.”
Mando San Roman, PD at KKPS/KNVO McAllen, Texas, says Selena is still among the most requested artists on Spanish-language radio.
“There isn’t anybody that’s been able to replace her,” San Roman says. “Many have tried to become the next Selena without success.”
Rudy Trevino, host of the weekly syndicated Corpus Christi-based “Tejano Gold” radio show, says fans continue to hunger for Selena.
“The impact she had in the Tejano market in her short life made a big impression, and her music is timeless,” he says. “And as Latinos, we feel we have a very positive role model that we’re very proud of, and we want to hold on to her legacy.”
In Corpus Christi, there is a steady stream of visitors to her life-size statue on the Bayfront gazebo and her gravesite at Seaside Memorial Cemetery.
On a recent visit, the Q Productions complex in northwest Corpus Christi was a beehive of activity as Quintanilla and his staff prepared for the upcoming tribute concert. Approximately 30,000 visitors pass through the complex’s Selena Museum each year.
“We get parents and their kids coming in here almost every day,” Quintanilla says. “It is amazing how almost everybody from different parts of the country always say, almost word for word, the same thing: They love Selena, the kids want to be like her. I don’t know, I can’t explain it.”