by Jonny Ramirez
posted Mar 25 2015 10:31AM
Almost as automatic as the wild flowers blooming in the Hill Country, it never fails that I answer the phone during this time of year and the question is almost the same: "Hey Jonny, how do you think Selena would doing right now? I mean, she was attempting to cross over, right?" My response has been the same for the past 19 years: "I guess we will never know since she was taken way too early. But I can tell you that she had what it would take to make it, and I by make it I mean she could have gone as far as she wanted in her career and in life."
Twenty years have passed since Selena's voice was silenced and hardly a day passes that I am not reminded of her. I was having a conversation with a longtime friend in the Rio Grande Valley and I mentioned that we were coming up on the 20th anniversary of Selena's passing. "Yeah, but I bet most people have forgotten about her", he said quite nonchalantly. "Dude, are you nuts? Her passing is as big as Elvis, Michael Jackson, Curt Cobain, Stevie Ray" I responded. "Ah, come on Jon, you can't compare mainstream music to the music Selena did," he said. I quickly came back at him: "Dude, you need to wake the hell up. Yeah, she represented our music but her personality, her humility, her caring nature skyrocketed her beyond the boundaries of what we call Tejano!" "You really think so," he questioned. "No, I know. Her music continues to be as big and heavily requested as it was 20 years ago, and since her passing, there have been so many baby girls born that bear her name, that we could start a "Selena" nation," I replied.
And so, here we are 20 years later and people always assume that because of my hosting the morning show for so long, that the Quintanillas and I were the best of friends back in 1995. Truth be told, the only relationship I had and continue to have with them is pretty much a professional one. But you didn't have to be a close friend to see that Selena's beauty was from the inside out and that her humility and sincerity were as honest as her ability to thrill and excite an audience. 20 years have not obscured her popularity; as a matter of fact it still amazes me as to how many young children still love her music.
Recently, KXTN organized a 25th Anniversary Concert and with permission and help from the Quintanilla family, we included Selena as part of the show. They sent us audio of five songs along with the video of Selena performing the songs. Our live band played the songs live with Pete Astudillo on stage as Selena danced and sang her songs on the huge video screens. It was remarkable to see people waving back to Selena as she waved on the big screens. Yes, even on video, she thrilled and excited the audience.
So, how would Selena be doing right now? We will never know. But I can assure you that she will always live in our hearts and minds and her musical legacy will endure.