25 years after her passing, the influence of Selena Quintanilla on music and culture is still being felt today. Thanks to her countless fans, her music has remained timeless and people of all ages who have been unable to experience her throughout her lifetime have come to know her through the magic of cinema.
Selena, from the silver screen, lives on
The most popular account of Selena’s story is the 1997 biopic Selena, in which a young actress and dancer named Jennifer Lopez played the Tejano music icon.
The film put Lopez on the map immediately. Lopez commented on her big break in a 2015 interview, citing Selena as the inspiration for her own career in music.
In December 2020, Netflix’s Selena: The Series introduced a new generation of people to Selena’s story.
The biographical series starring The Walking Dead’s Christian Serratos dives far deeper into the personal life of the Quintanillas and provides a lot of insight to the Selena tale that most people know.
There are a few songs for which Selena will always be remembered.
Of course, thanks to her biggest hits, which also represent the beautiful spirit of the singer, Selena has remained a beloved figure. For example, Selena: The Series opens with a sentimental performance of her classic single “Como La Flor,” which allegedly made people weep in the audience as they felt the presence of the singer in the room.
“Amor Prohibido” is another of Selena’s calling cards, in which she longs for someone she can’t have. “Dreaming of You” is a touching ballad that, as it was the beginning of her official English crossover, should have been an unbelievably big moment in Selena’s career. Instead, it was posthumously published, and it became more synonymous with her tragic death than the celebration of her life as portrayed in the movie.
One of the greatest hits for Selena, however, was the famous “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”
Jennifer Lopez, after playing Selena, was inspired to become a singer
The improbable source of “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom Bom”
For its catchy chorus, which is intended to imitate the pounding of Selena’s heart, most individuals know ‘Bidi Bidi Bom Bom’.
But, believe it or not, that wasn’t the song’s original title or concept. It wasn’t even in Spanish, actually.
Songwriter Pete Astudillo explained how the song initially came about in an interview on the Univision program El Gordo y La Flaca. When she first heard the cumbia rhythm of the song, Selena began to utter nonsensical words to locate and sustain the beat.
But rather than saying “bidi bidi bom bom,” Selena proceeded to say “itty bitty bubbles.”
She then produced the lyrics of the song in English. “Alright, if I had just one wish / If I had one wish / I would like to be a fish / And I’ll swim swim swim,” read the lyrics. “I’d swim swim swim / Under the sea I’d be so free / I’ll say, I’ll say / Itty bitty bubbles.”
In 1993, Selena first performed the song in original English, and it was hardly heard by many fans.
Eventually, the lyrics were changed to Spanish, and today we know and love a whole new sense. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” she explained in an appearance the following year on Sabado Gigante, is meant to represent her heart, which every time she thinks of her husband Chris Pérez skips a beat.