fell in love with Frankie J when he laced the hook of Baby Bash's
huge summer hit of 2003 "Suga Suga". After completing
high school in his hometown of San Diego, the Mexican-born crooner
got his shot in the music business as lead singer for the successful
group Kumbia Kings, and has since been developing his own sound
and style on the solo tip.
his fourth studio album The One, he is here to show and prove
that he is more than looks and hooks. AllHipHop.com Alternatives
got a chance to sit down with Frankie J during his stop in Philadelphia
to discuss his road to stardom.
Alternatives: For those who don't know, how did you get started
I have always loved music. I grew up listening to a lot of greats
but I loved music by people like what George Leman and Sweet Sensation
Girls were putting out. Eventually my brother started to introduce
me to his friends who were really big in the clubs, and I actually
got started professionally when I was like 12 or 13 years old.
I was really involved with people who were in the industry, and
ended up signing with a Canadian record label, and I started doing
a lot of the dance music I heard in the club. After that I started
doing performances and started bringing down artists, and that's
basically how I got started.
did you end up signing to Columbia?
Initially I was a lead singer of this group called the Kumbia
Kings for like three years, which consisted of like eight members
and one of the members of the group was actually Selena's brother,
[A.B.] Quintanilla. One day he heard me sing, and he just brought
me into the group and I started touring with the guys. Eventually
I knew that I would want to go off and do my own thing, so I started
writing my own songs and stuff while I was on tour, so I could
start getting some type of feedback to see if I could do the whole
When I left
the group my single "Don't Want To Try" got leaked out
and my manager helped me get it to radio and see if it would get
spins and the song blew up. Eventually Columbia got a hold of
the record and basically it was a big bidding war between a lot
of major labels for the song, but I finally ended up signing with
Columbia because it was the best deal in my interest. So it worked
out really well.
AHHA: So who
are some producers you are working with on the album? I know you
teamed up with Irv Gotti and Mario Winans, and I also heard that
you teamed back up with Happy Perez who did "Suga Suga".
Yeah, I teamed up with Happy because we had such an awesome chemistry
when we did "Suga Suga" that I had to go back. So we
teamed up to do "Obsession", the first single off the
album. Actually Happy, Baby Bash and I all teamed up to do the
single, because we wanted to see if we could re-create the magic
we had with "Suga, Suga" and I think that we did because
the single is hot.
would you say is the difference between The One and your previous
This album is definitely more mature and it's more of what I wanted
to accomplish with the urban and R&B feel that it has to it.
I got a chance to work with Mario Winans, Irv Gotti and Brian
Cox. I really got a chance to work with a lot of people I didn't
get a chance to work with on my previous albums. All my fans who
listen to this album will definitely see and hear the difference,
because it's produced a lot better and the songs are just incredible
this time around.
of being more mature, your first single "Obsession (No Es
Amor)”, is hot and the video definitely captures how racy
the song is. How was it working with the director and Vida Guerra
as your love interest?
The director, Gil Green, was very professional. What he really
wanted to do with the song is bring it to life and that is what
he did. The song is about a guy being obsessed with a girl, he's
been seeing her for quite awhile and he thinks it's love. But,
at the same time, he knows it’s dangerous for him because
she's playing mind tricks on him, and that's exactly what the
video captures. As far as working with Vida, she is incredible,
very professional and we became really good friends. To be honest
with you, I was the one out of everyone that was the nervous wreck
because I had never done a video like that before. I had never
been in a tub with a girl, in a video that is. [laughs] You know
everything we were doing was different, but I liked it.
was the toughest for you when you were shooting the video?
That fact that I was in the back of a car and there was like forty
people watching us and cheering telling me to kiss her. [laughs]
I mean we can't escape the fact that she is Vida Guerra, the FHM
model of the year, so everyone was really watching and cheering.
But overall I liked it and I'm glad we found her and that she
fit the part, because she truly is amazing.
is the concept behind The One?
I really think that this record is the one that will take everything
to the next level. I wanted to work with different people and
just get a different feel and different vibe from the first album.
I wanted to get more urban, and get in more with bigger names.
It's just better to work with people who are where you want to
be, and by me reaching out, this album has more of an urban feel,
more of a street feel, more of an R&B feel to it. To me it's
definitely the one.
the music front has really seen the re-emergence of Latin artists.
How do you feel about Latin and Spanish artists finally being
recognized for a sound that you contribute to, versus having to
cross over to find success?
I just feel it was a long time coming. I honestly feel that now
we are being appreciated more than ever for what we contribute.
I mean Fat Joe has been around for a while, Big Pun was around
for a while, even J.Lo is doing her thing as far as making a Latin
album with Marc Anthony and I thought it was hot how they did
the Spanish song at the Grammys and was applauded, because it
definitely shows we have come a long way. I mean now we have a
lot of Spanish people in almost every genre of music except R&B,
I mean Marc Anthony really does Pop and so did Ricky Martin, so
I feel that if the people let me, I can definitely fill that void
because there is definitely a big gap as far for R&B vocally.
you planning on releasing an all-Spanish version of your album?
Yeah, we are definitely working on that, they actually had me
record an all Spanish version of "Obsession" and another
single from my album called "How To Deal" produced by
Brian Cox, so I definitely think an all Spanish album is on the
way soon which will be hot mixing R&B and Spanish.
all the ladies out there, are you single?
Yeah, I am very single.[laughs]
is your type of woman?
I love a woman who can cook. Definitely one who is very loving
because I am very loving and I get attached very easily, so I
am definitely looking for someone who has a big heart and can
take care of me emotionally, because I will do all I can for her.
do you find inspiration for the songs that you write?
It all comes from love or situations that I have been in or people
I know have been in, that's definitely inspiring when it comes
from within and it comes from something so personal that they
are experiencing a part of you and your life.
next for you?
We are planning a U.S. tour in April that will pass through 40
cities, and after that I am going to be touring in Asia, Australia
and Europe. I think it will be an experience, because I have never
been to some of the countries like Asia, so it will give a chance
to experience different people. I probably won't get to go home
until December. [laughs] But it's all worth it to live out my
dreams and get the music out to my fans, because after all they
do come first. So no matter how tired I get or how long I'm gone
I won't stop, because I love my fans just as much as they love
me. But most importantly, I want to continue to bring them good