Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Music

Advisor

Kimberly Hannon Teal

Committee Member

Micaela Baranello

Second Committee Member

Matthew Mihalka

Keywords

Digital Fan Labor, Dreaming of You, Music Industry, Selena, Selena Quintanilla Perez, Selena's Fandom, Tejano

Abstract

Selena Quintanilla Perez continues to circulate in popular culture, including MAC cosmetic lines, a Netflix series, and podcasts. As a result, her cultural influence continues to be passed on and shared with future generations. This thesis focuses on three aspects of Selena and Selena y Los Dinos: Selena’s music, Selena’s performance aesthetic, and Selena’s fandom today. Chapter 1 focuses on Selena y Los Dinos’ American musical influences, particularly studying the songs “Enamorada de ti,” “Missing my Baby,” and “Fotos y Recuerdos” and the presence of American genres of new jack swing, R&B, and rock within them. Chapter 2 focuses on Selena’s crossover album Dreaming of You. Within this chapter Selena’s self-presentation is studied and categorized as representing two parts: Selena’s “personaje” or performance character and Selena’s “persona” or personal presentation. The songs “I Could Fall in Love” and “Dreaming of You” are studied to identify how a Mexican American Latina was marketed to a non-Latinx American musical market. Through musical analysis and reception study, these songs reveal that Selena was marketed as a stereotypical “Latin lover” to non-Latinx American audiences. Chapter 3 explores Selena’s digital fandom and the use of digital fan labor to preserve Selena’s legacy in popular culture. Through ethnographic study, four creators of Selena tribute social media accounts are interviewed to explore the world of Selena’s internet. Selena’s fans utilize digital fan labor both as “worker” and “entrepreneur,” as Selena is no longer alive to continue her career. Selena’s fandom allows for fans to showcase both sides of Selena’s self-presentation as well as participate in Selena’s commercialization, including circulating information regarding Selena’s memorabilia through fan meeting events, Selena tribute Facebook pages, group chats, and vlogs. Her legacy lives on through her family and her fans, who continue to advocate for Selena to be remembered not because of her music, or her beauty, but because of who she was.

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