"I Could Fall
In Love" Producer Remembers Selena
Larry J. Rodarte
Mi Gente Magazine
(reprinted on this site with the
permission of Larry)
From Whitney Houston to Vanessa Williams to
Amy Grant, Keith Thomas has worked with some of today’s leading ladies of
song. And Selena Quintanilla Perez is part of the elite list he’s had the
pleasure of working with as one of today’s premier writers/producers of
music. Thomas wrote and produced the infectious “I Could Fall In Love.”
The beginning of their collaboration began with an EPK (electronic place
kit) the Thomas received from the singer highlighting her previous work
and showcasing her past performances on video. Selena made an inquiry
through Thomas’ manager. “I immediately set up a meeting upon
review of the tape,” said Thomas, a native of Conyers, GA., who now lives in
Franklin, Tenn., just outside of Nashville. “I knew this girl had something
special and I invited her into the studio.”
The Bennett House serves as Thomas’ personal project studio and
administrative offices. It offers a unique 19th century recording
environment for outside clients in the Nashville scene.
The Grammy award-winning Thomas was initially asked to produce the bulk of
the planned English album, but because of his hectic schedule he committed
to only two songs. Selena chose both songs herself after listening to an
array of different Thomas-penned tunes.
“I Could Fall In Love” was a romantic love song that talked about meeting
someone who is possibly already attached, but there is something about your
qualities that I know I could fall in love with you,” explained Thomas,
whose biggest success is Amy Grant’s 1991 “Baby, Baby” “Selena immediately
loved the song along with the melody and Latin flare.”
According to Thomas, upon arriving in Nashville to record the first single
of what was to be her crossover album, the airline lost Selena’s luggage so
she asked to go to Wal-Mart to buy some clothing. When she finished
shopping, Selena not only purchased clothing, but also a bag of groceries
announcing that she was going to cook dinner.
“She had the whole house smelling so good with one of her grandmother’s
recipes (arroz con pollo),” Thomas fondly remembers “Country singer
Wynonna Judd came by the studio and went straight to the kitchen. Thinking
Selena was the hired help; Wynonna asked her if she could cook enough for
her and her band mates. And Selena simply answered, “Why sure,” at first,
never letting up that she was an artist recording at the studio. That’s how
she was so sweet – this tells you of her spirit and personality. She had the
gift to draw you in and make you fall in love with her.”
To this day, Thomas still reminds Judd of her embarrassing encounter with
the Queen of Tejano.
Meanwhile, the collaboration of Selena and Thomas ran smoothly with the
singer adding her signature style to “I Could Fall In Love,” and so Thomas
says “melodically, she sang her butt off on that song.
“To this day I do not know what she says in Spanish on that song. We laughed
and we cried about certain things, as we worked and figured it all out.
Selena spontaneously came up with what she wanted to add in Spanish and the
words just came out.”
Thomas added that Selena was in very good spirits at the time of her
memorable recording. He emphasized that she was very respectful of his ideas
as a producer and that she was a team player.
“I knew I had a song that would do well, because it felt like a hit from the
beginning. You just look to find the perfect artist to sing it,” said
Thomas. “Selena was it; she had no attitude and it was the type of easy
session you dream about.”
When “I Could Fall In Love” was completed, Selena said she would return to
the Bennett House in two weeks to work on the second Thomas song. This one
had no lyrics, just the melody he had written.
Sadly, that recording session would never come to fruition. “I was actually
working on the track in my studio and took a break in the lobby when my
business manager told me the bad news,” Thomas recalls. “Selena is dead, go
turn on the news.” Literally a quick jolt of pain came to my heart. I
couldn’t work the rest of the day, it was so upsetting. What a shame. It was
so surreal; she had such a bright future.”
The second song remains on the list of Thomas’ “incomplete songs”.
“I Could Fall In Love” was released July 18, 1995 along with the posthumous
“Dreaming Of You” CD, which made its stunning debut in the Billboard 200 at
No. 1 – the first CD recording mostly in Spanish to bow on that chart with
more than 300,000 copies sold in the first week. At its time “Dreaming Of
You” was among the 10 best-selling debuts ever, along with being the
best-selling debut by a female artist.
“I Could Fall In Love” topped the Billboard Latin singles’ chart and become
the highest charting English language single. And with Selena’s success,
U.S. retail chains recognized the potential of Latino music – she changed
the industry forever.
Thomas received the 1997 ASCAP Pop Award for “Among Most Played Song” for “I
Could Fall In Love,” as well as a 1997 Grammy nomination for “Producer of
the Year” for various artists.
“When ‘I Could Fall In Love’ first came out, all the reviews were
phenomenal,” says Thomas. “I don’t think I ever had a song with such great
Today, Thomas is busy working on the next Nick Lachey album while Jessica
Simpson is busy shooting her role in the forth coming “Dukes of Hazard”
movie. Thomas also plans on writing/producing a Christmas CD with James
But it is his short encounter with the Tejano star that is very special to
“Selena was definitely ‘ready’, whether she was ready for how big she would
have become, this I don’t know. But she definitely had the ability and
talent and I’ve worked with some of today’s greatest artists and Selena held
With today’s fascination of “American Idol”, as a producer Thomas says he’s
impressed with some of the singers and the songs; they are able to sing
“We have seen a few good singers emerge, but Selena was a real singer. I’ve
seen them come and go, but she would have had a beautiful career. She had
such great charisma that when you stood and listened to her talk, she made
you feel warm and fuzzy. She had this kind of bubbly personality and spirit
and we quickly became buds. I felt I’d known her all my life,” Thomas said.