Is Christian Serratos Really Singing in 'Selena: The Series'?

Savannah Walsh
·4 min read
Is Christian Serratos Really Singing in 'Selena: The Series'?


In the new Netflix show Selena: The Series, star Christian Serratos emulates the titular Tejano artist to star-making effect. Everything, from Selena's mannerisms and choreography to her famous sequined outfits, are recreated for the show, which is executive produced by Selena's father Abraham Quintanilla and older sister Suzette. Those unfamiliar with the late musician (who tragically died in 1995) may even believe Serratos is singing "Como La Flor" or "Dame Un Beso" during the exhilarating performances.

The show tracks a young Selena's rise from Texas teen with a powerful voice to the crowned Queen of Tejano music. But did Serratos—best known for her roles in The Walking Dead and Twilight—lend her real-life vocals to the show's first season? Ahead, everything we know about Selena's behind-the-scenes musical inspiration.

Is Serratos actually singing as Selena?

Yes and no. While Selena Quintanilla's actual voice is used during musical performances, Serratos can be heard any time the character is singing a cappella. "If there’s singing in an acting scene or if you see us on the bus, that’s me," she told The Wall Street Journal. "But the performances are all [Selena], which is how it should be. As a die-hard Selena fan, I want to hear Selena." Jennifer Lopez, who played the Grammy winner in the 1997 biopic Selena, took a similar approach. She used her own vocals briefly in the film and otherwise lip-synced to the artist's biggest hits. Viewers of Selena: The Series also get to know a 9-year-old Selena, as played by Madison Taylor Baez. As it turns out, the singer's real voice is used in the show, as recognizable by her frequent national anthem renditions at sporting events.

Serratos says she "always wanted it to be" Selena's voice.

When asked about the decision to use Selena's actual voice, Serratos told Variety's "The Big Ticket" podcast, "I recorded quite a few songs, and I think it was always supposed to be the actress singing but…I always wanted it to be Selena because I was such a fan." She continued, "I think people were confused by that because I never wanted to be a pop star, but I always wanted to act in films where I got the opportunity to just sing. They were like, 'Here’s your chance to show people you can sing.' I was like, 'But it’s not about me; it’s never been about me.' I just want the fans to see their girl. I want them to see their girl. I don’t want to hear me. I want to hear Selena."

Serratos, who has sung onscreen before, told Entertainment Tonight that she still worked with dialect and singing instructors in order to nail her portrayal of Selena. “I had never had this much responsibility before, and I just wanted to use every resource that I could,” she explained. “So I started working with a dialect coach on my own before I had the job, which I think was really helpful. I started working with my singing coach, who I love so much, Eric Vitro, before I booked the job, and he also helped me with the audition.”

The actress still drew inspiration from Selena's real-life performances for the role.

While Serratos may have been largely lip-syncing on the show, she still closely studied Selena's onstage persona for the role. One particular performance she watched over and over again? Selena's rendition of “Que Creias” at a baseball game, she told "It was just so badass. She has so much confidence," Serratos said. "She loves her fans and you can tell in how she plays with them and has a great time with them. I wanted to mimic that. She was such a strong and powerful woman. And she was so young. I think people look at Selena in her prime, like the iconic Selena that we know, and wouldn’t guess her age, but she was very young, and so family-oriented. You can tell she’s a tangible person."

As for Serratos's favorite days on set, she told ELLE that performing Selena's iconic songs were always a highlight. "To see all those rehearsals come to fruition was really exciting, and we just have so much fun with each other when we’re onstage," she explained. "I think that was true for the Quintanilla family, too. They were family, and they got to travel and perform together, and I think that’s what gave them joy. And seeing the reactions of the background actors—everyone was so happy to hear this music again. We were all fans, so to see the music being performed was fun for all of us."

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