R&B Singer: Frankie J
HOMETOWN: San Diego
LATEST GIG: His Spanglish slow jam "Obsession (No Es Amor)" from his new CD, The One, is burning up the charts
•Soundtrack of his life: One of Frankie J's earliest memories was of "my dad waking up in the morning and listening to Spanish music on this old-fashioned radio," recalls the singer (full name: Francisco Javier Bautista Jr.), who spent the first two years of his life in Tijuana, Mexico, before his family moved to San Diego. His dad once sang in a band, and his grandfather played violin for his church. By age 6, Frankie was imitating Michael Jackson's dance moves with a sombrero to entertain his parents (Francisco Sr., 53, a water-company employee, and Alicia, 54, a retirement-home worker) and three siblings. "Music is definitely in the blood," he says.
•Catch me if you can: After dropping out of college, Frankie first found a following as a singer for A.B. Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia Kings, the popular Latin music group founded by the brother of late Tejano star Selena. But it didn't prepare him for the response he received from 3,000 screaming fans at a California mall gig in 2003, when he went solo. "As soon as I was ready to leave, they rushed the stage," he says. "I got scared, and [my rep] said to just start running. I hid in a parking lot, inside a car, but the fans were shaking the car. It was like a movie."
•The next generation: When he's not on the road, Frankie, who's single, spends as much time as possible with his 4-year-old son with his ex-girlfriend. "He's Frankie J III," says the proud dad. In every sense: "He's always singing and making up his own songs."