Netflix’s Selena: The Series is a coming-of-age story about the late Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla’s journey to stardom. The scripted series, which is scheduled to air sometime this summer, begins when Selena is a young girl living in Texas.
Rising star Madison Taylor Baez transformed herself into a nine-year-old Selena for the show. She recently shared with Showbiz Cheat Sheet that she actually became the young Queen of Tejano. As a singer and performer herself, Madison has a close bond with her father, much like Selena did with her own father.
Madison said when she was first called to audition for the role, she didn’t know much about the singer, but her parents were fans. “They showed me the movie and showed me all her videos,” Madison shared. “And I fell in love with Selena. I love all of her music.”
She also had to learn Spanish
Although Madison’s parents are bilingual, like Selena’s, Madison didn’t know Spanish. “I actually had to learn Spanish and how to sing in Spanish,” she recalls. “I actually sang four Spanish songs. And I had to learn all the pronunciations. And it actually turned out to be something I really loved.”
Madison’s father Christopher shared that Selena’s parents were Spanish speakers. But, like his daughter, Selena had to learn the language too. “So what was really interesting is that Selena didn’t actually learn to speak Spanish until her dad asked her to start singing in Spanish,” he shares. “And when she was nine, kind of like Madison is when she had to learn to speak and sing in Spanish.”
“So when Selena’s father came to her and said, ‘Hey I want to you to learn to sing in Spanish,’ Selena was like, ‘What? We don’t even speak Spanish! I like rock and roll!'” he says.
Selena and Madison have a spiritual connection
Madison’s raw vocal talent mirrors someone who has had decades of training. Like Selena, she has a natural presence. Christopher says the comparison between the two singers is almost magic.
“Madison has already been on the road and she’s already performed concerts,” he says. “So her life is so parallel to the way young Selena started that when we both were on set, a lot of the scenes Madison was doing, we had already done them in real life. It was so surreal.”
He says the connection is deeper than their love of music. Christopher hinted at a scene in the series that mirrored real life. “I’ll give you a quick scene without giving away too much,” he shares. “There was a scene with Abraham [Selena’s father] and Selena/Madison was outside singing,” he recalls. “And Abraham was in the house, ‘Like where’s that singing coming from?’ When he came outside he looked around the corner and peeked around and it was a young Selena, who was played by Madison, of course, singing.”
“And the look on his face was this moment like, ‘Oh my God.’ He was just blown away with her talent because she was so young,” Christopher continues. “I had that very same moment when Madison was five years old. So a lot of the moments, we were reliving. We would come back to our hotel and I’d tell Madison, ‘That was kind of weird, huh?'” He says Madison would recall doing the same father-daughter practice sessions as Selena and her father.
“The way I’d talk to Madison about music, Abraham would have those same conversations with Selena,” Christopher adds. “A lot of people were thinking, ‘Wow this role must be incredibly difficult to play,’ when Madison is actually young Selena.”