From her beginnings in the family band Los Dinos, Selena Quintanilla was clearly destined for greatness. Put together by her father Abraham, the group played a variety of Latin styles as they rose up in the multifaceted Tejano music scene; with the continuing involvement of her siblings Abraham “A.B.” and Suzette, her solo career turned that sound into a boundary-crashing phenomenon. “I am a proud father,” Abraham Quintanilla tells Apple Music. “I am happy that my children embraced my dream.” Yet after four mostly Spanish-language major-label albums, each more commercially successful than the last, Selena craved the opportunity for her music to reach even bigger audiences. And with 1995’s Dreaming of You, a bilingual set of indelible songs, she did precisely that.
“For her to make the transition over would need a new team,” A.B. tells Apple Music. “The few songs she was able to record have now become classics.” Though the album emerged in the wake of her tragic, untimely passing, Dreaming of You fulfilled so many of Selena’s own dreams. The album’s predominantly English-language first half firmly aligns her with the R&B-indebted pop stars of that moment, with the amorous title track and the stunning balladry of “I Could Fall In Love” taking on instant classic status. “I knew from the minute I met her that she was going to make a difference,” Keith Thomas, who wrote and produced the latter track, tells Apple Music. “You just wanted her to win.”
Dreaming of You included some surprising moments, particularly “God’s Child (Baila Conmigo),” written by David Byrne. The former Talking Heads frontman fondly recalls the opportunity he had to work with her on the hypnotically rhythmic track. “I had this song I was working on,” he tells Apple Muisc. “I thought it might be close enough, that she might not feel too strange for her to do it. I thought it was incredible.” Even previously released songs find fresh new beginnings here. With the help of Brooklyn’s hitmaking ensemble Full Force, “Missing My Baby” takes on a swaying quiet storm quality with a touch of new jack swing. Demonstrating that a great song can truly transcend language, the rerecorded Barrio Boyzz collaboration “Wherever You Are” brings more than just a bilingual edge to the original “Donde Quiera Que Estés.” A highlight off 1994’s Amor Prohibido, “Techno Cumbia” returned with a vengeance here and proved a game changer for both her contemporaries and successors.
“This album meant and means so much to me,” says Becky G., who had the good fortune of playing a medley of her hero’s music at the 2020 Houston Rodeo. “The high we got off the stage with, I’ll never forget.” Not surprisingly, Dreaming of You touched, and continues to connect with, generations. “I was 11 years old and I was looking at a person that started from that age and became a superstar,” says KAROL G, another longtime fan and one of the musical beneficiaries of Selena’s powerful and enduring legacy. “I got super obsessed with Selena since that time.”