Gabriel Chavarria stars as Selena’s older brother, A.B. Quintanilla, in the ‘Selena’ Netflix series. Gabriel spoke EXCLUSIVELY about how instrumental A.B. was to Selena and the family’s success.
Selena: The Series is Netflix’s most popular new show and chronicles the early years of Selena Quintanilla, who became known as the Queen of Tejano music. Selena’s family played an integral role in her career. Selena was a member of the family band, which also included A.B. Quintanilla and Suzette Quintanilla. A.B. wasn’t just a band member, he also co-wrote some of her hit songs like “Como La Flor” and “Amor Prohibido.”
Gabriel Chavarria stars as A.B. Quintanilla, and he admitted to HollywoodLife in our EXCLUSIVE interview that he was really surprised by A.B.’s contribution when it came to songwriting. “I didn’t know that he wrote most of Selena’s hit songs,” Gabriel told HollywoodLife. “Once I started learning about that, I was like, man, that’s crazy. I’m floored that he wrote all these songs. It was just really, really cool to learn that and also bring that to life.”
One of the crucial elements of Selena’s success was how supportive her family was. Gabriel noted that one of his “favorite scenes” to film was when the family is at “the dinner table and Abraham tells the family that they’re going to drop the name Los Dinos, but they’re going to keep Selena. That would have been that moment where they could have been like, damn, but what about us? But they were so like, if Selena wins, we all win. And we’re still winning. They understood. They were very, very, very supportive of it. It’s definitely one of my favorite moments in the show because I think that’s the key to success when you have a support system like that where everyone buys into the dream and does their part, works their butts off, so everyone’s going to ultimately win.”
The final episode really explores the inspiration for Selena’s hit song “Como La Flor” and A.B.’s part in creating it. “A.B. was just determined. He was determined to have his family succeed,” Gabriel told HollywoodLife. “He wanted to do his part in the success of his family. Abraham always challenged him, so that he could reach those other levels. It was just really, really cool to just see how this guy came up with this song. We all know that it’s an amazing song. It’s one of the most memorable songs of Selena’s. I’m thinking during the time when he was coming up with it, it was just him in the zone and him just really wanting to write music so that his family could succeed and Selena could shine. That’s exactly what happened. That’s exactly what he ended up doing with that song.”
In addition to songwriting, A.B. also played guitar and bass. For Gabriel, he was able to learn how to play an instrument for the first time in playing Selena’s brother. “Bass is a really fun instrument to play. I remember the first day holding the bass, it was so weird. To me, it was heavy. It was unbalanced. I’m like, how do you do this? What do you do with this? But we practiced and practiced and practiced. I felt one with the bass, and I still have to work on my hand movements and hitting those strings good, but it’s a fun instrument. I definitely will be continuing to learn and practice,” Gabriel said. Part one of Selena: The Series is now streaming on Netflix.