The year was 1995 when four year old Kathia Velazquez heard the voice of her favorite singer; then and there she decided that she wanted to meet him. Little did she know that the singer would become part of her life and the one person who could ease her pains.
Kathia can best be described as a Marc Anthony “Mega Fan”, she has been a Marc fan since the age of four she is now 23 years old. Kathia was born in Puerto Rico and since the age of nine resides in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother used to play Marc’s music in the house when they lived in Puerto Rico and at the age of four she told her parents that she wanted to meet him. It so happened that, that year Marc was going to be in town at a fair (feria) and through a connection that her dad had he was able to arrange a meet and greet for Kathia. Kathia’s mother tells her that at her first meet and greet with Marc, he asked for permission to pick her up from her wheelchair, he proceeded to danced with her, and he kissed her. Kathia was born with Spina Bifidad which is a spinal cord defect; while I was interviewing Kathia, it occurred to me that I had forgotten that she was in a wheelchair and that is the affect that this young lady has with most of us who have come to know her as a fellow Marc Anthony fan we just see Kathia the fan.
A the age of four Kathia got her wish of meeting the man behind the voice that her four year old heart fell in love with. I asked Kathia, what captivated her about Marc and she said, ” his voice is beautiful, the way he sings from the heart and I can feel it. The way Marc’s is so attentive with the fans and how sweet he is with them”.
Kathia has met Marc three times when she was four, eight and two years ago when she was 21 years old. During the interview she stops and says, “Wendy, when I was five years old I was watching the movie the Substitute where Marc’s character is a gang leader and during the movie Marc got shot and I went crazy crying because I thought Marc had died. My mother had to get Marc’s music CDs and played them for me to proof to me that Marc was still alive and for me to stop crying”.
Kathia has been in and out of hospitals several times for recurring health issues related to her Spina Bifida condition and every time that she has a hospital stay she takes two things with her, Marc’s picture and his music to listen to. I asked why and she replied, “Marc’s music has a way to help me relax and it helps me not think about the pain I am feeling, it’s like the pain goes away, I don’t understand it but he has a way of healing me” ( this is where the interviewer in me goes out the window and I start to cry, anytime I hear from fans that Marc helps healed them it just makes me cry because I get it, I know how they are feeling). At the age of eight she meets Marc again in a hotel in Puerto Rico, there she is totally aware of her experience with Marc and she is able to interact with him a bit more though still a little shy with him.
Two years ago when Marc was doing a concert in San Antonio Kathia had her latest meet and greet with Marc (God forbid we call it the “last”), which happened to be a surprise her parents gave her she said, “ Marc recognized me and he said, Wow you are so big now and so gorgeous. We were all in shock that he remembered me, it was so sweet. And another thing is that I wanted to tell him that I loved him but I got so nervous I could not speak, my mom had to tell him how much I loved him. My body was shaking I was so nervous I could hardly speak”. As Kathia is telling me the story I can hear the joy in her voice and the wonderment she feels with Marc.
I asked Kathia if she had one question for Marc what would it be, she immediately responded with, “I would ask him to dedicate a song to me, any song he wants as long as he sings it to me”. Her favorite Marc song is I Need To Know, she says it brings her lots of good memories of her meet and greet when she was eight which is her first real memory of meeting him. I also asked Kathia, “Is there anything you would like Marc to know about you”, she said, “Yes that I love him with all my heart; I am telling you I am a died-heart fan”. Kathia has been a supporter of Marc for well over 19 years now, she has watched all the movies, has bought the CDs, has watched every performance she got her hands on, she has grown up with her favorite singer, and her love is undeniable.
I wanted to know what is Kathia’s definition of #fanlove and her response was very much in line with the “Mega Fan” that she is, “Wow, #fanlove would be someone that is always there for the artists supporting them no matter what, through thick and thin, …I feel like I am more a friend of Marc than a fan, I feel like he is my personal friend”. She also has three fan Facebook pages : Queremos A Marc En Texas, Que Marc No Se Retire (this page she opened because she heard that Marc was going to retire and she did not want him to), and Las Chicas De Marc Anthony En Texas (you can follow her and other Marc fans in these pages). I asked Kathia why the Facebook fan pages and she stated, “I created them to share my passion for his music with others”.
Besides being a Marc fan Kathia is currently a fan of Chayanne, Marco Antonio Solis, JLo and she has recently discovered and is appreciating Michael Jackson’s music, which she describes as, “being more like from my parent’s generation”. She feels that being bi-lingual has helped her appreciate lots more music and she said that music is just a part of her in either language.
My last question for Kathia was, did she have any advise for other fans and she said, “ To continue to dream big, that anything is possible, and not to give up”.
Kathia and I have messaged each other over the years to chat about Marc and how we are doing, it has been my pleasure to interview this dedicated Marc Anthony supporter and to discover that she was born in the same Island as me was an added plus; its amazing to me how you don’t have to meet someone in person and yet have so much in common with them. Kathia like most of us fans in the US are looking forward to Marc’s Cambio De Piel Tour starting in August; look out for Kathia she will be present September 28th at the AT&T Center in San Antonio as the “Mega Fan” that she is.
Kathia thank you for sharing your “Fan Experience/Fan Love” and we are so looking forward to your future fan experiences – Gracias!