Frankie J

Frankie J

Mexican-American singer/songwriter Frankie J  will make his Lancaster Performing Arts Center debut at 8 p.m., Sept. 20.

“I”m excited to go check it out and perform out there for the fans,” he said in a telephone interview.

Frankie grew up around music. His father was a singer who performed at weddings, quinceañeras and other events in Tijuana. His grandfather played violin in a mariachi band.

“They just loved music, so music is definitely something that was part of our family,” he said.

Frankie, 38, has been involved in music since he can remember.

“I have pictures where I’m like two or three years old,” he said. “One of my aunts gave me a drum as a birthday present and I remember banging on the drum.”

Frankie learned to play the piano on his own.

Born as Frankie Javier Bautista in Tijuana, the artist grew up in San Diego.

At age 15, he started his musical career when he signed with a Canadian record label.

He signed with veteran producer Jellybean Benitez, who worked on Madonna’s debut album.

“It was just another learning experience for me,” Frankie said. “Nothing really happened with that.”

His big break came in 1999, when he got accepted after an audition for the multi-platinum Mexican-American boy band Kumbia Kings.

“That’s how I got my big break, being the lead singer, performing everywhere and being in front of the cameras, the media, press, television, radio interviews; that’s how I got my start,” Frankie said.

He toured throughout Latin America with the group. He also learned about the music business.

“It was definitely my college … Four years until I was finally able to fly on my own,” Frankie said.

The Kumbia Kings’ primarily focused on Spanish music. When Frankie went solo, he started performing Rhythm and Blues in English and Spanish.

“English is a very different turn for me, but I decided to do that because that was something that I had always wanted to do,” he said. “Of course, they said I would never succeed because I was Latino doing Rhythm and Blues music.”

Frankie released the 2003 single “Don’t Wanna Try,” which reached number 19 on the US Billboard Hot 100. That same year, he co-wrote the hit song “Suga Suga” with rapper Baby Bash.

Frankie had a couple of Grammy Award nominations with the Kumbia Kings. He also received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album for his 2013 solo album, “Faith, Hope y Amor.”

He is working on a Spanish project now, recording Mariachi classics and classic boleros.

Looking toward his LPAC debut, Frankie said he has some acoustic tracks as well as explosive tracks that are fun for shows.

“It’s just a feel-good show overall, “ he said, adding he will perform in English and Spanish.

Tickets are $34 for orchestra and $29 for balcony.

For details, call the Lancaster Performing Arts Center at 661-723-5950, visit www.lpac.org or the LPAC box office at 750 West Lancaster Blvd.

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