The Anything For Selena podcast released earlier this year is a story of how Selena helped shape pop culture and American identity. The 10-episode podcast had over half a million downloads and was an intimate journey about belonging in America for podcast host and creator Maria Garcia, a journalist and first-generation Mexican immigrant. The podcast continues to earn recognition as it was named Newcomer of the Year on the list of Apple Podcasts Best of 2021, announced this week.
Each year, Apple recognizes the best and most popular podcasts for their exceptional content, unique ability to engage audiences, and innovation in craft, spanning production, presentation, sound design, and more, that expand the definition of podcasting and deepen its impact on listeners worldwide. This year, Apple Podcasts Best of 2021 features shows and creators that provided listeners with a powerful sense of connection in a challenging and uncertain time, curated by Apple Podcasts’ world-class editorial team.
“2021 marked the start of a new chapter for podcasting with shows that moved us in ways unlike ever before,” said Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “We are honored to recognize the phenomenal creators who are redefining podcasting with this year’s best shows, and to help more listeners around the world discover, enjoy, and support their inspiring work.”
The Anything For Selena podcast, produced by WBUR and Futuro Studios, received great reviews from The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Vulture. Garcia goes on an intimate, revelatory quest to understand how the Mexican American music icon went from a working-class girl, who began singing to put food on the table to a Grammy-winning, chart-topping artist on the verge of mainstream stardom before her tragic murder in 1995.
Anything for Selena asks profound questions about belonging. “I loved Selena since I was 7 years old,” said Maria Garcia. “I couldn’t articulate this when I was younger, but I felt a profound sense that she mattered — not just because of her music, but because of her expansive cultural impact.”
That set Garcia on a personal quest, leading her to ask questions about Latino fatherhood, fraught relationships with race and language, and her own identity. “We tried to make meaning of Selena’s life and legacy,” she said. “I wanted to write her a love letter, an ode, a beautiful story.”
In each episode, Garcia unpacks an aspect of how Selena’s image and legacy have taken on new meaning 25 years after her death. The series also weaves Garcia’s personal story as a queer, first-generation Mexican immigrant with cultural analysis, history, and politics to explore how Selena remains an unparalleled vessel for understanding Latino identity and American belonging.
“We started production in the summer of 2020,” Garcia added. “I recorded the show with just my microphone and MacBook in my walk-in closet, which we padded for crisp sound, so the podcast truly came together in the thick of the pandemic. It felt natural to use the tools of my craft — rigorous reporting, vulnerable storytelling, cultural analysis — to do Selena’s legacy justice, to prove that she left an indelible mark on Latino identity and American belonging. And so many people wrote to tell me that the podcast made them feel seen.”
The Anything For Selena podcast also earned a nomination as Best Spanish Language Podcast for the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards next month and was named one of the Top New Podcasts of the Year on Spotify.
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