By Megan Wadding, April 2017 Issue.
“Como la Flor” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” are among the most recognizable Latin hits of our time. When the music starts, there’s no mistaking the signature Selena sound.
This is exactamente what the members of Los Chicos Del 512, a Selena tribute band with local roots, aim to recreate each time the take the stage. (For Echo‘s coverage of the 2017 Phoenix Pride festival, click here.)
The band includes Evelyn Molina on lead vocals, Martin Peralta on the acoustic and electric guitars, Jesus Cordova on the bass, Alex Yanez on the timbales, Jimmy Arce on the congas, Ricardo Madrid on the keyboards and Mario Hernandez on the drums.
Echo caught up with Molina, a San Luis, Ariz., native who starred on “La Voz” season 4, ahead of the band’s performance at Phoenix Pride Festival’s Bud Light Main Stage from 6-7:30 p.m. April, and here’s what she had to say.
Echo: Did you all grow up in Arizona? What can you tell me about your hometown? Do you still live in Arizona?
Molina: The band is based out of San Luis, Ariz., in Yuma County. Although we were born in different cities, we all grew up in Arizona and everyone still lives in Arizona, except me. I currently live in Los Angeles. Some of the Chicos live in Yuma. Yuma County is a beautiful place. Others [live] in Somerton and San Luis.
Echo: Who all is in the band and how do you all know each other?
Molina: … We all have known each other for many years now. We have shared stages in different projects along the years. Somehow, we ended all together in this awesome project.
Echo: Where did the idea for a Selena tribute band come from and how did everyone get involved?
Molina: Mario had the idea of making this project more than just a tribute. He had the vision of recruiting great musicians to be able to make this project an experience, rather than just a tribute … We will bring you the best Selena tribute out there. You see, many of us never got to see a Selena concert live. So, it’s not a just a concert. It’s an experience that you won’t forget.
Echo: Did you emulate Selena in your performances prior to joining this band?
Molina: … I never emulated Selena until I joined Los Chicos Del 512. I sang Selena songs for decades, but in my own natural style … Selena was, and still is, unique. Now it is a challenge for me to emulate her moves, gestures and voice. It is a great responsibility to perform this Selena experience [for] Selena fans. We all do it with great respect and honor to the Queen of Cumbia and Tex-Mex.
Echo: Do you put together your own Selena-inspired outfits? Are they replicas?
Molina: Her outfits are so unique that it’s hard to put them together. Finding the right fabric, accessories can be a challenge sometimes. I have lots of fun during the process. I make my own bustiers, for example.
Echo: What kinda of reactions do you get from longtime Selena fans?
Molina: [We get] all kinds of emotions and reactions! Keep in mind that a lot of these fans never got to see a Selena concert live. They’re filled with joy, love [and] excitement, and at times, they shed a tear or two. As for the band, we get pretty emotional, too. We love what we do and we love pleasing the Selena fans. What amazes us every time is the unbelievable amount of kids who love Selena …
Echo: What can attendees expect of your show?
Molina: They will have a blast. They will get to hear the very best of Selena, [including] cumbias, [Tejano], pop [and] mariachi. Also we have some surprises that we cannot say. For this particular event, we’re doing a 90-minute [show]. All we have to say is, be ready to live the best Selena experience of your life.
Echo: What Selena songs will you sing at Phoenix Pride?
Molina: We will perform all Selena’s greatest hits. I will sing both English and Spanish songs. Our show is bilingual. It’s a complete Selena experience. We do more than just singing songs. You have to see the show to understand!
Echo: Do you plan on catching the other shows at Pride, or walking around the festival?
Molina: We’d love to hang out around for a while, meet and take pictures with people. And eat!
Los Chicos Del 512
Phoenix Pride Festival’s Bud Light Main Stage
6-7:30 p.m. April 1