Selena: The Series Examines the Singer’s Life — And Tragic Death

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A new Netflix series will examine the life of pop superstar Selena before her tragic death.

The Tejano singer was tragically killed outside of a Days Inn in Texas at age 23. Her unfinished fifth album, Dreaming of You, went on to top the Billboard 200 chart just three months later. More than 25 years after her death, a Netflix documentary produced by her sister will share more about the young artist’s life and tragic death.

Selena: The Series is an 18-part Netflix documentary, with a spate of nine episodes available today.

The show follows the singer’s tour bus journey across the United States, offering an intimate look at her childhood and family life. “This is not a documentary,” Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister and executive producer, says. “It’s sprinkled with a little bit of glitter.”

Selena was the youngest of three children, beginning her singing journey in 1981 at her parents’ restaurant. She learned Spanish phonetically to sing Tejano music, and her band with her siblings released their first album in 1984. They eventually signed on with EMI Latin in 1989.

On March 31st, 1995, while recording her fifth album, Selena was murdered by Yolanda Saldivar.  Saldivar, the president of Selena’s fan club and manager of her clothing boutique, has been accused of embezzling money from both operations. “Her death and her tragedy helped Latin communities in the 1990s really make sense of the tragedies that were affecting their own lives,” Deborah Paredez says.

Jaime Davila, an executive producer for the series, says it’s been a special aspiration to work on the series. His production company, Campanario, pitched the idea of a Selena documentary to Netflix.

Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of content for Latin America, said the pitch sold it. “They had a very, very good pitch. It was, let’s do it as a family series, like if she were a normal person. But it turns out that she’s Selena.” Each of the 18 episodes is about 40 minutes in length and offers a personal look at Selena’s life.

Suzette Quintanilla says it will answer fan questions, like ‘How did this happen?’ or ‘How did this song get made?’ And sadly, also topping the list: ‘who killed Selena?’ Quintanilla shared her Selena memorabilia with the writers while working on the series.

Davila says the series takes a few liberties with facts and the timeline but otherwise captures the emotion. “I would say the emotions of it are 100% authentic – that’s what we were going for,” he says. The series was shot at Baja Studios in Rosarito, Mexico. “We were just a normal family,” Quintanilla says. “The only difference really is that we all came together to create music.”