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Si Una Vez

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"Si Una Vez"
"Si Una Vez" cover
Promotional single by Selena from the album Amor Prohibido
Released 1994
Format CD single, 12" single
Genre Mariachi
Length 2:50
Label EMI Latin
Writer(s) Pete Astudillo, A.B. Quintanilla

A.B., Bebu Silvetti

Music sample

"Si Una Vez" (English: If I Once) is a song recorded by American recording artist Selena for her fourth studio album, Amor Prohibido (1994). It was written by Pete Astudillo and produced by Selena's brother-producer A.B. Quintanilla. "Si Una Vez" is a mariachi fusion song and draws influence from cumbia and Latin dance music. Lyrically, Selena questions why she ever fell in love with an abusive partner, saying she will never repeat her mistakes. The lyrics suggest unrequited love and female empowerment.

"Si Una Vez" received positive reviews from music critics who found the song to have showcase the singer's vocal abilities. The Broadcast Music Inc. recognized it as the Single of the Year at the 1996 BMI Pop Awards. Many musicians have since recorded the song and released it on their respective albums including Mexican mariachi singer Alicia Villareal, American reggaeton performer Ivy Queen, American indie rock band Girl in a Coma, and American salsa singer Manny Manuel. The latter's version peaked at number one on the United States Billboard Tropical Songs chart, and ended 1995 as the fourteenth most successful U.S. tropical song.

Background and composition[edit]

"Si Una Vez" was written by Selena y Los Dinos backup dancer and vocalist Pete Astudillo.[1] The song was co-written by Selena's brother-producer A.B. Quintanilla who, along with Argentine musician Bebu Silvetti, served as producers.[1] Keyboardist of the group, Ricky Vela retold in a 2002 interview how the band hired a professional trumpist to record parts of the song.[1] "Si Una Vez" is a Spanish-language mariachi fusion track with influences of cumbia and Latin dance music.[1][2] Author Deborah Paredez called "Si Una Vez" as having punk music undertones.[3] In 2002, A.B. spoke on how Amor Prohibido was experimental music-heavy and commented on how "Si Una Vez" was an example of his ideas of keeping the band's image modern.[1] The song makes use of the Guitarrón guitar under a cumbia beat.[1]

"Si Una Vez" is written in the key of D minor and is played in a moderate groove of 84 beats per minute.[4] It incorporates music from several musical instruments, including the piano and guitar.[4] Lyrically, Selena reminiscences her failed relationship and wonders why she ever fell in love with an abusive partner who betrayed and left her, vowing to never allow a man like that back into her life. The lyrics suggest unrequited love[2] and female empowerment.[5]

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

"Si Una Vez" was named by the Latin Times as one of the top-ten best karaoke songs sung in Spanish.[6] Writing for the Latin Times, Maria Valdez called the song "fun" especially when running into your former partner at a karaoke party and found the track to showcases a singer's vocal abilities.[6] Texas Public Radio's Nathan Cone, said "the song "resonates best" with South Texas".[7] Entertainment Weekly contributor David Browne, commented on Selena's vocals as being "full-throated, warbling" and that it "recalls Lydia Mendoza, conjunto's leading lady."[8] A New University writer found the recording to have "showcase [the singer's] passion with her vocals."[9]

Selena performed the song on her final performance on March 19, 1995 during the Calle Ocho Festival in Miami, which attracted over 100,000 fans.[10] Selena was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and former manager of the singer's Selena Etc. clothing boutiques, on March 31, 1995.[11] Selena's performance of the song during her Houston Astrodome concert on February 26, 1995, was emulated by Jennifer Lopez as her role as the singer for the 1997 biopic film about Selena.[12] "Si Una Vez" is considered by Billboard magazine to be one of Selena's signature songs.[13] Terra named "Si Una Vez" as one of Selena's "most famous works" along with her other songs "El Chico del Apartamento 512", "Amor Prohibido" and "Fotos y Recuerdos".[14] The Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) recognized "Si Una Vez" at the BMI Pop Music Awards as Single of the Year in 1996.[15]


Girl in a Coma (pictured left) and Ivy Queen (pictured right) recorded their versions of "Si Una Vez", citing the song as having some form of influence on their careers.

Mexican singer Mary Boquitas recorded the song for the tribute album Mexico Recuerda a Selena (2005).[16] Mexican mariachi singer Alicia Villareal performed and recorded "Si Una Vez" for the live televised tribute concert Selena ¡VIVE! in April 2005.[17] American reggaeton singer Ivy Queen covered "Si Una Vez" for her fifth studio album Flashback (2005). She said in an interview how she felt "honored to be able to cover one of Selena's songs".[18] Ivy Queen chose to cover "Si Una Vez" finding it to be identifiable to her and because of the song's message which the singer stood for.[19] Jonathan Widran of AllMusic called her versions a "reggaetón-ed up twist".[20] In 2010, indie rock group Girl in a Coma recorded a punk cover of "Si Una Vez".[21] The group decided to record the song because it was their favorite recordings of Selena.[22] Girl in a Coma performed the song live during the 2010 Tejano Music Awards as a homage to Selena.[23] In April 2011, A.B.'s band Kumbia All-Starz performed their version of the song during their tour for La Vida De Un Genio (2010) in Bolivia.[24] Colombian singer Kali Uchis performed "Si Una Vez" at the 2015 SXSW festival.[25] Vibe magazine found Uchis' performance to have given them "shivers".[26]

Manny Manuel version[edit]

"Si Una Vez"
Single by Manny Manuel
from the album El Rey de Corazones
Released September 3, 1995
Recorded 1994
Genre Merengue
Label RMM
Writer(s) Pete Astudillo / A.B. Quintanilla III
Producer(s) Luisin Marti, Jamie Querol
Manny Manuel singles chronology
"Pero Que Necesidad"
"Si Una Vez"
"Distanciado (La Foto)"

American merengue musician Manny Manuel covered the song on his debut album, El Rey de Corazones (1995).[27] Out of the five singles released from the album, "Si Una Vez" was Manuel's most successful single off of the El Rey de Corazones album.[28] The song debuted at number 29 on the United States Billboard Hot Latin Tracks and number three on the U.S. Tropical Songs chart.[29] The following week, "Si Una Vez" rose to numbers 22 and two on the Hot Latin Songs and Tropical Songs chart, respectively.[30] On October 14, 1995, the track climbed to number 21 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, while it fell to number four on the Tropical Songs chart.[31] In its fourth week, "Si Una Vez" jumped to number 18 on the Hot Latin Songs chart, while over at the Tropical Songs chart the song rose to number three.[32] Despite increased airplay spins, "Si Una Vez" fell to number 20 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.[33] On November 11, 1995, "Si Una Vez" peaked at number one on the Tropical Songs chart for one week, reeciving airplay honors that week.[34]

Chart performance[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

All credits were taken from the album's liner notes.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Amor Prohibido (Media notes). Selena. EMI Latin. 2002. 724354099403. 
  2. ^ a b Perone 2012.
  3. ^ Paredez 2012, p. 225.
  4. ^ a b Quintanilla-Perez, Selena; Astudillo, Pete (1994). "Amor Prohibido: Selena Digital Sheet Music". Alfred Music Publishing. MN0115678 (Product Number). 
  5. ^ Valdez, Maria (March 8, 2016). "16 Songs About Female Empowerment From Latinas To Celebrate International Women's Day". Latin Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Valdez, Maria (April 22, 2014). "Happy National Karaoke Week! Celebrate With Top 10 Best Spanish Songs To Sing". Latin Times. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Nathan Cone. "Girl in a Coma "On The Record" About Their Influences". Texas Public Radio. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ David Browne (1995). "Selena: Crossover Dreams". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  9. ^ Cuevas, Yesenia (September 16, 2015). "Selena: Songs of Childhood". New University. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  10. ^ Patoski 1996, p. 154.
  11. ^ "October 12, 1995, the testimony of Norma Martinez". Houston Chronicle. October 12, 1995. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ Jennifer Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Jon Seda, Jackie Guerra (March 21, 1997). Selena (DVD). Warner Bros. Event occurs at 127 minutes. 
  13. ^ L.C. (2002). "Reviews and Previews – Spanish". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 114 (42): 100. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Lidia Avila es la nueva cara de Selena en musical mexicano". Terra Networks (in Spanish). January 19, 2006. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Billboard Latin Awards". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 108 (20): 124. 1996. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  16. ^ Mexico Recuerda a Selena (Compact disc). Univision Records. 2005. 
  17. ^ Metz, John Powell (June 28, 2005). "Lasting Tribute". Corpus Christi Caller Times. Retrieved 20 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Ivy Queen Biography - ARTISTdirect Music". ARTISTdirect. Rogue Digital, LLC. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  19. ^ Burr, Ramiro (November 28, 2005). "Ivy Queen reigns in Reggaeton". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  20. ^ Widran, Jonathan. "Ivy Queen - Flashback : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : Allmusic". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  21. ^ Paredez 2012, p. 218.
  22. ^ "Interviewing Girl in a Coma". Brown Paper Tickets. October 19, 2010. Retrieved April 24, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Girl in a Coma live Tejano Music Awards 2010". July 12, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Selena's brother A.B. Quintanilla III's band Kumbia All-Starz covers "Si Una Vez"". La Musica Del Mundo. March 13, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  25. ^ "SXSW Diary—Hanging with Colombian Soul Singer Kali Uchis". Teen Vogue. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  26. ^ "SXSW 2015: 7 Acts You Need To Know Right Now". Vibe. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  27. ^ El Rey de Corazones (Compact disc). RMM. 1995. 
  28. ^ "El Rey de Corazones > Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  29. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > September 30, 1995". Billboard. 107 (39): 36. September 30, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  30. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > October 7, 1995". Billboard. 107 (40): 59. October 7, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  31. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > October 14, 1995". Billboard. 107 (41): 37. October 14, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  32. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > October 21, 1995". Billboard. 107 (42): 42. October 21, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  33. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > October 28, 1995". Billboard. 107 (43): 40. October 28, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  34. ^ "Hot Latin Songs > November 11, 1995". Billboard. 107 (44): 39. November 11, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "Manny Manuel – Chart history" Billboard Hot Latin Songs for Manny Manuel.
  36. ^ "Manny Manuel – Chart history" Billboard Tropical Airplay for Manny Manuel.
  37. ^ "1999: The Year in Music". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. December 31, 1995. Retrieved September 7, 2012. 


  • Perone, James E. (2012). The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 0313379076. 
  • Paredez, Deborah (2012). Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822390892. 
  • Patoski, Joe Nick (1996). Selena: Como La Flor. Boston: Little Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-69378-2. 

External links[edit]