Selena Quintanilla’s Teenage Vocals Get a 2022 Upgrade in ‘Moonchild Mixes’ 

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At the core of Selenidad — the enduring tribute to Latina superstar Selena Quintanilla — is the shared relatability to her story and of course, the Queen of Tejano’s transcendent vocals. Now, 27 years after her death, subsequent generations get to experience “new music” from the singer with “Moonchild Mixes,” out today (Aug. 26) via Warner Music Latina. 

Containing 13 songs in total, 10 of which are new variations of tracks from Selena’s catalog, “Moonchild” was produced by Selena’s brother and original Selena y Los Dinos composer/bass player/producer, A.B. Quintanilla III. 

“Moonchild” pulls from the band’s 1998 “Preciosa” album, refashioning the songs “Carino Mio,” “Sabes” and the album’s lead single “Como Te Quiero,” which received three different remixes including a pop, cumbia and regional Mexican rendition. 

“It definitely wasn’t an overnight process,” Selena’s father Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. tells Variety over Zoom. “We were able to extract her vocal tracks with new technology to make her sound more mature. If you listen to it, it gives you that feeling that it was recorded — as if she went into the studio this morning.” 

After her murder in 1995, a re-recorded version of “Como Te Quiero” was released in a 2004 compilation album and now, nearly 20 years later, the revamped track, originally a ballad, has morphed into three different genres. As Selena’s sister and drummer of Los Dinos explains it, “When [A.B.] was creating the music and selecting the songs for this album, he kept in mind what the younger generation was listening to, to bring Selena to a new, younger audience.”

The album’s second track, “Dame Tu Amor (Cumbia Version),” received both a regional Mexican upgrade and a cumbia remix. Originally a ranchera, the track comes from the band’s 1986 “Alpha” album — the third studio effort released by Selena y Los Dinos, second to 1985’s “The New Girl in Town.”

It has been 37 years since these songs were originally released, meaning Selena was between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of their recording. The Tejano popstar’s voice is altered in “Moonchild,” but the new recordings should not be mistaken for computerized or deep-fake manipulations. A.B. confirmed in a December 2021 interview with Tino Cochino Radio (where he also revealed he used Steve Aoki’s sound packs on the album) that he took Selena’s ’80s vocals and by “detuning her voice a little to make her sound deeper, she sounded like… how she did at 23.”

Other tracks like “Corazoncito,” also from “Alpha,” were remixed for the first time since their original distribution, exchaning old school ’80s cumbia beats for freshened-up rhythm sections fit for 2022. All of the songs on “Moonchild” are owned by the family’s record company, Q Productions.

Since Selena’s death, there have been numerous successful soundtracks, remixes, compilations, live albums and special edition box sets. It’s not an uncommon practice to release and commemorate icons who have passed — be it Elvis Presley, Prince, Amy Winehouse or Michael Jackson — with posthumous collections, but involving new technology can be a polarizing subject. When “Moonchild” was announced earlier this year, many articles and tweets questioning the decision to “update” Selena’s voice were debated online.

Suzette adds, “I don’t think there’s anything that ‘crosses the line’ when you’re speaking of somebody’s legacy.” Abraham says that the Quintanilla estate is currently in talks and working with some companies “that wanna do a hologram, although nothing has been set in stone.” (In 2015, a highly-anticipated Selena hologram tour was supposed to make the rounds in 2018, but it was eventually pulled for reasons that remain unclear).

“There’s a reason why these holograms are wanted, are being made — because these artists are loved and they have such a huge fan base that’s wanting to go see them,” continues Suzette. “I know for us, every project that we do, we do it with love. And with special care, making sure that it’s what her fans are wanting. And there’s a whole new generation of fans out there now. So, if a hologram looks right and it feels like Selena and it does resemble her, of course, we would love to create something like that.”

For now, the family is celebrating the release of “Moonchild Mixes,” which boasts a clean production at the familiar hands of Q Productions and once again, confirms the love for Selena’s voice and narrative is undisputedly timeless. 

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