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Selena's 'Dreaming Of You' Set Is Bittersweet Hit For Late EMI Star

As Selena's bilingual, posthumous set, "Dreaming Of You," makes its historic debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week, the Latino singing idol seems bound for the crossover stardom for which she longed.Released jointly by EMI Latin and EMI Records on July 18, "Dreaming Of You" has already achieved two unprecedented chart achievements. It is the first album recorded mostly in Spanish to debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, and it is the first by a Latino artist to accomplish that feat. Moreover, Selena, whose full name was Selena Quintanilla Perez, follows
Santana and Los Lobos to become only the third artist of primarily Hispanic descent to climb to the top of the chart in the rock era.

"Dreaming Of You" also is No. 1 on The Billboard Latin 50, joining five other titles by Selena that have remained entrenched in the top 10 of the chart since she was shot March 31 by an ex-employee (Billboard, April 15). "Dreaming Of You" supplanted Selena's long-running platinum
smash "Amor Prohibido" in the top spot on that chart.According to SoundScan, in its first week "Dreaming Of You" sold 331,000 units, the second-highest weekly sales tally this year after Michael Jackson's two-record, set "HIStory," which rang up 391,000 units. Though EMI shipped nearly 2 million units of the album on July 18, retailers almost immediately began asking for reorders, prompting EMI to press an additional 500,000 copies.

With retailers throughout the U.S. scrambling to replenish stock, many store executives say that Anglo customers are buying "Dreaming Of You."Debra Villalobos, Latin music buyer at the 347-unit Wherehouse Entertainment web in Torrance, Calif., says she is surprised by the
interest of Anglo buyers in the record."I had some stores run out of the album that I didn't think would run out, because they normally don't sell Latin product at all," says Villalobos. Like other retailers, Villalobos reports that cassette sales are outpacing CD sales, thus far.

Its retail success assured, "Dreaming Of You" is now beginning to heat up at radio, as well. Two of the album's tracks-"Tu Solo Tu" and "I Could Fall In Love"-are No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, on the Hot Latin Tracks chart.

"I Could Fall In Love" is the second most-played record at KISS-FM Los Angeles. Station music director Tracy Austin says that the top 40 oufset was rotating Selena's former Latino chart-topper, "Fotos Y Recuerdos," before adding "I Could Fall In Love."

"We've been getting a lot of requests," says Austin. "The Anglo section of the community seems to like this song. It seems to be a mass-appeal hit."

In addition, "I Could Fall In Love" is breaking in Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City, Miami, and Boston, where WXKS-FM PD John Ivey says that "after the first play we had tons of requests. It sounds like a No. 1 record to me."

LONG-RANGE INFLUENCE

Predictably, executives at EMI Records and EMI Latin are elated with the out-of-the-box prosperity of "Dreaming Of You." However, both the president/CEO of EMI Records, Davitt Sigerson, and the president of EMI Latin, Jose Behar, stress the long-range influence that Selena will have on the market as opposed to the expanding sales potential of "Dreaming
Of You."

"This is a crossover dream that may be realized not just by Selena, but also for a whole new wave of artists," says Sigerson, noting that Spanish-language albums by Gloria Estefan and Linda Ronstadt have helped "soften up America's linguistic chauvinism. This is one more piece of that process."

"The idea," says Behar, "was to create a retrospective package that would enable her fans to appreciate the music that made her popular, as well as introduce them to new Spanish- and English language music that would have taken her into the future."

The 13-song set features four English-language songs that were to be included on Selena's English-language debut, two new Spanish-language tracks, and a Spanish/English duet with David Byrne. Rounding out the balance of the record are several of Selena's No. 1 Latin hits, including a reggae cover of "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom."

Among the noted producers, songwriters, and recording artists who appear on the album are Keith Thomas, who wrote the leadoff single, "I Could Fall In Love"; Diane Warren, Franne Golde, Tom Snow, and Full Force; Selena's brother, producer/songwriter A.B. Quintanilla III; the Barrio Boyzz, mariachi producer Jose Hernandez and K.C. Porter, keynote speaker at
BiUboard's recent International Latin Music Conference. Highly regarded designer Margo Chase produced the artwork for the album jacket and merchandising materials.

In May, People magazine published a 76-page commemorative issue on Selena that sold more than 600,000 copies. One month later, People ran another high-profile story on Selena, as did Good Housekeeping magazine. Throughout June and July, numerous networks and cable channels broadcast stories about Selena.

Adam Sexton, VP international, EMI Records, says that "Dreaming Of You" will be released Aug. 14 in Germany, with most of the rest of Europe putting out the record later in the month or in September. Similarly, Japan and other Asian countries are set to ship the record within the next two months.

Selena's tragedy, however, could again come under the microscope in the not-so-distant future. Under current negotiation is a forthcoming biopic of Selena, scheduled for release in 1996. In addition, notes Behar, there is still enough previously unreleased material recorded
by Selena to make another album or two.

"Given the way the public has embraced this record, it all indicates that maybe next year there will be a followup album, as well as a soundtrack," says Behar.

 

Saldivar: Selena told her `Tell your story'

Associated Press

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Jurors who convicted her of murdering Tejano star Selena had already made up their minds before being presented the case, Yolanda Saldivar said in a TV interview.

"But I don't blame them because Selena doesn't want me to be upset," Saldivar said.

In her first interview since being convicted of killing the Grammy Award-winning singer, Saldivar said Selena came to her in a dream and told her to tell her story.

"I know -- my God and Selena are with me -- it was an accident," Saldivar said Tuesday night from the Nueces County Jail, where she's awaiting transfer to a Texas prison to serve out her life sentence.

The interview was broadcast on the Spanish-language network Univision during a special, prime-time edition of the newsmagazine "Primer Impacto."

Interviewer Maria Celeste Arraras said Saldivar was not paid for the interview and no restrictions were placed on the questions.

The convicted murderer told Arraras that her lawyers had restricted her from discussing the killing before the trial. But she was speaking now because Selena told her, "Tell your story, tell my story. She told me plainly, `Mother, don't stay quiet anymore.'"

When Arraras pointed out that Saldivar wasn't the singer's mother, she responded that they had that kind of relationship. Now that Selena is dead, Saldivar said, her life is over as well.

"There is no happiness, there is no laughter, there is no harmony," Saldivar said. "I cannot accept that she is no longer here. I will never accept that."

Saldivar, who was convicted three weeks ago of murdering Selena and given a life prison sentence, did not testify during the trial. Her attorneys contended that the gun went off accidentally when Selena was shot in the back in a Corpus Christi motel room on March 31.

Saldivar stuck by that story Tuesday night. She explained that a tearful Selena came to her motel to discuss their business relationship and begged Saldivar not to leave.

Prosecutors and Selena's family contended Saldivar, 35, deliberately shot the singer because she was about to be fired for embezzling $30,000.

But Saldivar said she picked up the gun, put it to her own head, and ordered the 23-year-old singer to leave. She said she waved the gun after Selena refused, and that it accidentally went off as she was gesturing.

Saldivar also denied embezzling from the superstar. "I never stole a penny from my daughter," she said.

"When I am ready to reveal the entire truth, I will come with proof in my hand and say, `This is what was going on.' My God, Selena and my family know."

 


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