By Trishna Buch
As part of our quest to make our paper more community oriented, we are looking to highlight local talents. In this issue, we are re-visiting Amanda Solis, a local resident who we spoke to in May 2016.
For those of you who may not have had a chance to read our article, Solis is a Selena Quintanilla tribute artist. If you ever see Solis, you would think she is Selena in the flesh, because she bears a striking resemblance to the late singer. Selena, who was often referred to as “The Queen Of Tejano” was a Latina singer who entertained music lovers all over the world, until her untimely death in 1995. However, it is a mark of her talent and fame that she continues to entertain people, 22 years on. And Solis told me last year, that she chose to take up the journey of being a Selena tribute artist, because it allowed her to connect with her Latina roots and feel closer to her mother, whom she lost at a young age. And now, one year on, Solis is reaching heights that she never even imagined. “It’s very unbelievable that all of this is happening to a young girl from Texas City,” she told me.
In the time since we last spoke, Solis’ experiences and accomplishments have been nothing short of extraordinary. She has performed at a variety of events, including weddings, birthday parties and festivals. She is a well-known face at Texas City’s Ice House where, like in all of her other performances, she performs a variety of well-known Selena songs, including Como La Flor, Que Creias and Bidi Bidi Bom Bom. But Solis’ performances come with a twist, in which she adds her own style and a modern day flair to the music.
“Since we last spoke, people have finally being recognizing me as Amanda Solis and not as the Selena tribute artist,” Solis told me.“And that’s why, while I love performing Selena’s songs, I add my own twist to it—so people can get to know the real me.” And Solis wants people to know that she is highly grateful for the heights she has reached and the experiences she is gaining. “I never did this for the fame or the popularity,” she told me. “It was never about that. I did it because I wanted to touch lives.” And touch lives she does, because Solis is bringing Tejano music back into the ears and lives of US residents. And Solis acknowledged that, while Selena’s music was loved by people of all races and cultures, she was an inspiration to Latina individuals all around the world.
“When people speak to me, they tell me their memories, they tell me about their connection to Selena,” she said.“And knowing that I am allowing them to relive all of that, while introducing a new generation to Tejano music, I can’t describe how that makes me feel.”
Solis told me that she has done several performances in the past year and no two were ever alike.
But the two performances that stood out most to Solis, did so for completely different reasons. One of these performances was when she was invited to sing a medley of Selena hits at the 30 birthday party of Dr. Phil’s son. “That was an incredible experience and I still can’t believe it happened to me,” Solis told me.
“It was a very private party, only about 50 people, and the fact that I was invited and that Dr. Phil and his family knew who I was—it was unbelievable.”
But the other performance—singing to an elderly woman on Mother’s Day—was more personal to Solis; who became emotional when recalling it. “The performance was in their back garden,” she told me. “And when I touched her hand, she reminded me of my late grandmother, and it was just such a beautiful moment.” Solis, who continues to run her home healthcare business when time allows, lives in Texas City. Her passion for helping people and touching lives is made clear in her personal life, because she and her husband, without a shred of hesitation, decided to take care of his disabled uncle and elderly grandmother. The fact that she took up this task, while working on her career, speaks to her helpful nature and giving personality. And Solis is currently hard at work on her EP, with plans to release her first album of remixed Selena songs later this year, followed by releasing her own music.
“I want people to know me for me and not just as the Selena tribute,” she told me. “I will always perform Selena’s songs, but I want to get to a point where I can mix her songs with mine and have people enjoy and appreciate both.” Anyone who wants to invite Solis to perform at their events can visit her website at amandasolismusic.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to follow her on Facebook (Amanda Solis), Twitter (@amandasolislive) and Instagram (@bidibidibombum) to keep up with all of her events.