Last week, after we shared the news that a new hologram Selena Quintanilla-Pérez is a project many in our social media community thought was just “creepy,” we wrote to the company entrusted to bring back the spirit of the legendary late singer to the stage.
This is the email discussion we had with Abelardo Rodríguez, media representative for the Selena the One venture:
LR: Tell us a bit more about the project. What is it exactly? What is the plan?
Rodríguez: The project is creating a digital embodiment (body, brain, voice and movement) of the artist that can sing her old songs and some new ones.
LR: Is it solely dependent on your Indie GoGo campaign? How will this be funded?
Rodríguez: While the financial details cannot be disclosed at this time, we aim to achieve our goal of raising $500,000 with the Indie GoGo campaign, which launches the 16th of this month to help with the development of the project.
LR: Is this project officially sanctioned and approved by those who control the estate of Selena Quintanilla?
Rodríguez: This project is produced alongside the Quintanilla family, taking great care and detail every step of the way. This is why after looking at other technologies, they have decided to partner up with Acrovirt LLC and UCSD to develop the cutting edge technology that both Selena and technology fans will love.
According to the initial press release from Selena the One, “Acrovirt has a master research and development agreement with the University of California, San Diego to develop virtualization and interactive technologies for educational, therapeutic and entertainment purposes.” So far, Acrovirt.com is a registered site with GoDaddy, but there is no live company website associated with that URL. The LinkedIn profile for Acrovirt CEO Terry Kennedy says the following about the company:
Acrovirt, LLC announces the launch of Selena The One, the development of a walking, talking, singing, and dancing, digital embodiment of iconic singer, Selena. This technology is an advanced technology that does not have the limitations of past technologies such as holograms or holographs but is revolutionary. Acrovirt is working in collaboration with Selena’s immediate family and cutting-edge scientists to enable new productions for her many fans. Selena The One will release new songs and videos, will collaborate with current hit artists, and aims to go on tour in 2018.
In addition to the three questions email to Rodríguez, we also sent him this one: What do you say to those who think the project might be seen as disrespectful to the memory of Selena? Can you see that concern? When Rodríguez replied to us in his initial email, an answer to that question was not included.
Finally, we followed up with this: Thank you. So as a follow up, is this project officially sanctioned and approved by those who control the estate of Selena Quintanilla? Your answer seems a bit unclear.
Rodríguez: Yes. They are partners with Acrovirt LLC and UCSD in this project, and everything is cleared by Abraham Quintanilla.
Abraham Quintanilla, Jr., is Selena’s father. In 2014, he told the Associated Press that the family was pursuing hologram options for Selena, but at that time, Abraham thought it to be too costly. This new Acovirt project also comes at a time when Selena’s estate filed a March 31, 2015 lawsuit (the 20th anniversary of her death) against UMG Recordings, claiming that the record label owes the estate money for digital royalties.
Last week, Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister, told the following to Billboard:
By no means is this something that’s creepy or weird. We think it’s something amazing. A lot of the new fans that did not get to experience what Selena was about hopefully will be able to get a sense of her with this new technology that’s going to be coming out.
By the way, April 16 is Selena’s birthday and this weekend her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas will be celebrating her.