Sitting on an unassuming stretch of road near the Corpus Christi airport, the squat, sand-colored building that houses Q-Productions is pretty unremarkable. Next door, a nearly identical building advertises industrial lubricants, and a man in a cowboy hat is wiping down one of the dozens of oil truck tanks that sit in the parking lot. There’s virtually nothing that announces the building to casual passersby, save for a humble sign out front that reads “Selena Museum,” and the rapidly growing crowd of people assembling outside at 8:30 am on a Saturday.
But inside, is a piece music history that changed the course of Latin pop in the US: the studio where Tejano legend Selena Quintanilla recorded her last songs. These songs, including “Dreaming of You,” were supposed to launch her cross-over career, before her life was cut tragically short at the age of 23. It’s the same studio where, a few years later, J Lo shot scenes from the iconic Selena movie, where Tejano stars like the Kumbia Kings recorded all of their hits, and where the next generation of Latino Texas talent is honing their sound. In addition to being a one-stop shop for audio mixing and recording, video production, artist management, promotions, and bookings, Q-Productions also houses the Selena Museum, an ode to the woman who was the personal and professional center of the Quintanilla family.
The museum normally wouldn’t be open this early on a weekend, but the Quintanillas extended its hours to accommodate the thousands of fans who made the pilgrimage to Corpus to pay their respects at Fiesta de la Flor. Men, women and children wearing t-shirts bearing her likeness shifted restlessly outside, eager to get a glimpse of Selena’s iconic outfits, the red Porsche she used to drive, her awards, and the many other memorabilia items the family has preserved (including a framed letter from then-President Bill Clinton expressing his condolences). And by 9:00 am, when most 20-somethings are still sleeping off last night’s party, a three hour line had already formed outside the gift shop, where fans from the UK, Hawaii, Ecuador, Tennessee, Chicago, and more waited for the chance to take a piece of the place home with them.
We joined the reverent for a tour of the place where all the magic happened – and were treated to an appearance from Mr. Q himself – before decamping for a giant Tex Mex breakfast across the street, where a karaoke station was set up for Selena fans to give it their best “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and old ranchera renditions.