Photo Credit: Tamara Tihanyi

Nine-year-old Madison Taylor Baez has been singing and performing ever since she was banging random keys on her pink play piano at the age of three. Now, an accomplished performer and actress, Madison can play piano, electric guitar, and saxophone and has grown from at-home performances for her parents to performing for thousands in stadiums and on red carpets.

Madison’s most recent role is that of Young Selena in the Netflix original series Selena: The Series, a coming-of-age story about the life of the famous Mexican-American Tejano singer. Madison will be starring alongside Christian Serratos who will be playing Selena. We talked to Madison about the things that inspire her, her upcoming role, and what Selena’s story means to her.

Showstopper Magazine Online: What inspires you?

Madison Taylor Baez: People inspire me I get so much inspiration from everyone that I perform for. Seeing their smiles when I sing is pretty awesome. 

SMO: Who are your musical influences? 

MTB: Oh wow! So many! Motown Music was a big influence on me. I would sing lots of Motown songs from my dad’s iTunes from the time I was three years old. I’m a huge Bruno Mars, Freddy Mercury, and Aretha Franklin fan as well as Sam Cooke, Adele, and The Jackson 5. I can’t leave out Selena! Discovering her music and talent was an amazing inspiration too. 

Taken on the set of Selena: The Series by Taylor’s father.

SMO: How do you connect to Selena’s story? 

MTB: Selena’s beginnings are so much like my own. Our dads introduced us to music, taught us how to sing, and be performers. My dad and mom would drive me everywhere to perform for anyone who would listen just like Selena’s parents did when she was my age. Selena and I also started singing in Spanish at the same age. It’s kind of surreal…it’s like I was meant to play Young Selena.

SMO: A lot of your performances are at live events. What is it like to use your talents on-screen? 

MTB: Well, acting is a lot like singing. When singing a song, you have to perform with different emotions depending on the type of song you’re singing in order for people to feel it. With acting, it’s the same depending on the role or a character you’re playing. Your audience is those who are on set with you and those who will see it on screen. Most people might not know that I have been acting already for a few years. I have filmed eleven national commercials, a short film, and I’ve had roles in music videos prior to getting the Young Selena role. 

SMO: Do you prefer acting or performing live? 

MTB: Oh, [it’s] so hard to choose! I would have to say there is nothing better than performing live in front of 50,000 people and hearing them chanting your name. Also, delivering in a scene feels pretty great too, but the energy from performing live is pretty incredible. 

Taken on the set of Selena: The Series by Taylor’s father.

SMO: How do you prepare for a day of filming? 

MTB: The night before, I will run through my scenes, and by the next day, I will have my lines memorized so I’m able to be focused on the scenes. I also will always practice improvising to be ready for things that may happen in [my] scenes with the other cast members that [I] might not expect or if the director wants to change something during the scene, so it’s good to prepare ahead of time for that. 

SMO: What is something you think people should look forward to in the series?  

MTB: They will get to see me play the fun-loving Young Selena, of course! I sing all the songs that Young Selena performs. Also, people will see the family struggles from the beginning as well as the fun times, all of which created a tight family bond that all led up to the success of the family band and Selena’s stardom. 

SMO: What do you think people will take away from Selena’s story? 

MTB: I feel they will be inspired that anyone can accomplish their dreams if they work hard, are willing to sacrifice for it, and never give up no matter the obstacles.

SMO: Do you have any favorite memories from filming? 

MTB: Yes. The family band rehearsals were so much fun! There were lots of laughs and bonding with cast members. It truly felt like we were a real family. We all had a lot of funny jokes in between takes.

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Veronica Good has been with Showstopper Magazine since 2016. When she isn't keeping you updated on the latest trends, she is at home with her many pets or probably playing The Sims 4. Veronica has a BA in English and an MA in writing from Coastal Carolina University. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, and her work can be found in Archarios, Tempo, and Scapegoat.