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Bernice’s “Dreaming of You” cover brings a haunting joy to Selena’s hit

The FADER’s transgender charity covers compilation FADER & Friends Volume 1 is out now, available exclusively on Bandcamp until December 1, 2023. 100% of the proceeds go towards the Transgender Law Center, Mermaids, and Rainbow Railroad. Throughout the month of November, we’re speaking to the artists who contributed to the 44-song collection about the songs they covered.

“Dreaming of You” was supposed to be the English-language single that ushered Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, Tejano music’s biggest star, into the upper echelons of Western pop music. However, the song would not be released until August 14, 1995, weeks after Selena was killed by her friend Yolanda Saldívar. The tragic circumstances around the song help to render a passionate puppy-love ballad into a meditation on the death of what could have been. Still, Bernice, the Toronto three-piece led by Robin Dann, do the impossible job of balancing these competing feelings in their cover of the song, a sterling slice of their distinctive, bespoke R&B alt-pop.

Listen to the song below and buy the full album on Bandcamp. Scroll down to read Robin Dann on the original song and their cover.

What’s your first memory of this song?

We watched the 1997 J Lo Selena film at my friend Amy Munn’s birthday party in Grade 6. I was sobbing, deeply moved, engrossed in the film while I’m pretty sure the rest of my friends had abandoned it to go play spin the bottle and eat pizza in the basement.

Why did you decide to record it as your cover?

The band circled around a few tunes before choosing this one… Honestly, no reason other than the fact that it’s so earnestly beautiful and has a v. moody bridge, which we knew Chiquita Magic would nail.

What does this song/band mean to you personally?

Selena’s life was cut tragically short, so her music will always imprint on us the perfect vibrancy of her youth. It’s bittersweet, I wish we knew what she’d be up to today… Also, the fact that she fell in love with and married a bandmate is a story close to my heart 😉

What’s another song you’d love to cover and why?

Maybe Shania’s “Home Ain’t Where His Heart is Anymore”… that song is pure pleasure to sing and such a satisfying backup vocal part / key change.