Their first & only collaboration earned both acts their second Hot Latin Songs No. 1.
Twenty-five years ago, American Tejano singer Selena and New York Latin pop quintet the Barrio Boyzz shared a common space in a generation that essentially was pioneering the acceptance of Latino music into popular culture.
“These were exciting times,” Fredy Correa of Barrio Boyzz told Billboard over the phone. “We were privileged to be a part of this era. Selena was doing her Tejano-cumbia fusion and the Barrio Boyzz, we were doing our own fusion as well.”
Their first and only crossover collaborative effort, “Donde Quiera Que Estés,” a song that reflected the cohesion of their Latino American fusion, was a marketing strategy by Jose Behar, the then-president of Capitol EMI Latin.
Barrio Boyzz and Selena were both recording artists in the Latin division of Capitol Records, so Behar contacted Abraham Quintanilla, Selena’s father, to propose the duet. “I want to do a duet, introduce the Barrio Boyzz into Selena’s Southern U.S. market and introduce Selena into the Barrio Boyzz’s Northeastern market,” Quintanilla tells Billboard about Behar’s initial idea.
“Jose always had progressive viewpoints to get things moving for his artists,” Quintanilla adds. “It was basically something he thought would be a good marketing tool, and it worked. It was a hit.”
“Donde Quiera Que Estés,” a song influenced by the American culture of both acts in conjunction with their rich Latino musical DNA, debuted at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart dated March 26, 1994, dethroning Gloria Estefan’s “Mi Buen Amor” from its two-week reign.
“The song took everybody by surprise,” Correa adds. “Really nobody expected the success that the song had, but it reached an audience that very quickly identified with our voice and sound.”
Although Selena and the Barrio Boyzz belonged to different genres of music, Behar’s point of unification made sense as both acts met at K. C. Porter’s studios in Los Angeles. “It really wasn’t as foreign as most would expect due to the fact that we were from different genres,” Correa shares. “Once we got into the studio, everything came together very organically because of our commonalities. The chemistry between us was just so natural.”
“Donde Quiera Que Estés” was written by K. C. Porter, Marco A. Flores and Desmond Child.
A combination of R&B, salsa, Tejano, soul, rap and cumbia, the song was an amalgam of the cultural richness of their roots.
Produced by K. C. Porter, A.B. Quintanilla, Domingo Padilla and Bebu Silvetti, it became both the Barrio Boyzz and Selena’s second Hot Latin Songs chart leader and led the tally for six consecutive weeks.
“Donde Quiera” was later revitalized by many cover bands as well as by pop Mexican acts Alek Syntek and Fey, and salsa singers Isidro Infante and La Elite, who explored that Latino American fusion and gave it their own spin.
As the song earned Selena and the Barrio Boyzz a vocal duo of the year nomination at the Tejano Music Awards in 1994, it unified both their audiences. Correa later left the Barrio Boyzz to tour with Selena as a solo artist in development with Q Productions. He toured with her until her death on March 1995.
“Selena was very much an individual expressing about her life through her songs, which made her a successful singer-songwriter,” says Correa. “A wonderful encourager who enjoyed watching others excel. It was contagious. It gave me an opportunity to grow as an artist and individual.”