For all those who watched Nickelodeon in the early noughties, reading that name instantly sparks off the beginning a truly iconic theme song.
On January 14, 2001, Taina debuted on the children’s channel and life was never the same again.
I remember the first time I saw Christina Vidal walking up the steps of the 50th Street Subway station. Decked out in a pink turtleneck jumper and jacket, she dazzled me with her blinding smile as her character announced herself to the world.
Yes, Miss Taina was here and she confidently proclaimed that she was going to be a star. It only took one listen to the song for me to get into it, believe it and be completely ready to take the journey with her.
The show was all about the life of Latina teenager Taina Morales, who aspired to be a successful singer and actress and was honing her skills at the Manhattan High School of Performing Arts.
We watched Taina and her friends Renee Jones, Daniel McDaniel and Lamar Johnson as they chased their dreams in school, and tried to get past the likes of high-pitched nemesis Maritza Hogg.
Every episode saw Taina literally daydreaming about her eventual fame, and she even performed songs such as the theme song and other original tracks.
It came as a shock to me when I looked back and realized the show only lasted for two seasons. Despite the fact the series was absolutely amazing and enjoyed high ratings, the show was cancelled by Nickelodeon.
Some reports claim it had to do with an increase in production costs, while others hinted that the network wanted to focus on shows that would have a more even split of viewership (Taina had a majority female audience).
Suddenly, the spokesperson for our young dreams was gone. Yet, her name still lives on decades later. Thanks to a truly sensational theme song, Taina’s ‘dream big’ energy has popped up for so many at times when we needed her the most.
I remember humming the song during high school exams, before job interviews. I’ve actually sung the tune before interviewing celebrities that Taina herself used to look up to in the past.
In fact, my university housemates remixed the song and changed my name to ‘Noliiiiiiina’ as we sang the song together in our living room.
It’s amazing to think a 30-second snippet could be so impactful but considering the lyrics were all about fighting to make your dream come true no matter what others think, it makes sense the message remains embedded in our brains.
You only have to read a few self-help books to realise the same message is use by any inspirational writer.
Decide what your dream is, put yourself in the best position to chase it, and never lose sight of what you want to achieve. If that doesn’t sum of the message of Taina, then I don’t know what will.
For those who really loved Taina, you’ll remember that the theme song was a full single on the show’s soundtrack and was also performed on the show.
Three minutes of inspirational words over an infectious beat, Taina dropped more gems about never letting your doubts hold you back from chasing the dream.
So as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere this month, I ask you to join me and sing the unofficial dreamer’s anthem… what’s your name?
I know I can’t wait to see my name in lights
No one’s gonna stop me you’ll see
I will go far (what’s your name?)
I always had dreams of me being a star
You’ll be sayin’ my name
See my star shining bright
I can reach any height
What’s my name?
Such. A. BOP!
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