Bautista was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in San Diego, California from the age of 2, after his uncle brought him and his siblings to the United States. He grew up listening to both traditional Latin music as well as American urban music. He attended Southwest Senior High School in San Diego. He later began to develop more interest in singing, with the encouragement of his family. At high school age, he began participating in talent shows and performing at school functions.
In 1997, Bautista signed with the now defunct Hola Recordings which at the time had only one artist signed to the label,Jonathan Liberato, the brainchild of dance music legend and producer Jellybean Benitez. At the time, he was a freestyleartist known as Frankie Boy and his music was released on 3 Maximum Freestyle compilations but his solo CD was shelved before release.
Kumbia Kings (1999–2003)
In 1999 he became a member of the Kumbia Kings created by A.B. Quintanilla III, brother of Selena. He performed under the name Cisco. Members included A.B. Quintanilla (bass, background vocals), DJ Kane (born Jason Cano; lead vocals), Frankie J/Cisko (born Francisco Javier Bautista, Jr; vocals), Baby Drew (born Andrew Maes; vocals), Cruz Martínez (keyboards), Alex Ramírez (keyboards), Roy “Slim” Ramírez (percussion, background vocals), Frankie Aranda (percussion), Jorge Peña (percussion), Jesse “O’Jay” Martínez (drums), and Robert Del Moral (drums). They released their debut album Amor, Familia Y Respeto in 1999. The album included hit singles like “Azúcar”, “Fuiste Mala”, “Reggae Kumbia”, “Te Quiero A Ti” and “Se Fue Mi Amor”. In 2001 they released their second album Shhh! which included the singles “Shhh!”, “Boom Boom” and “Desde Que No Estás Aquí”. In 2002 the group released their third album called All Mixed Up: Los Remixes which included the single “La Cucaracha”. Cisko then started perform under the name Frankie J. In 2003 they released their fourth album called 4 which included the hit singles “No Tengo Dinero”, “Insomnio” and “Mi Gente”. They also released the albums Presents Kumbia Kings repackaged English-language highlights from the group’s back catalog and La Historia repackaged Spanish-language ones. Later in 2003, Frankie J was one of the original Kumbia Kings members to leave the band along with lead singer DJ Kane and other members of the band. Andrew “Baby Drew” Maes, Alex Ramírez, Roy “Slim” Ramírez, and Frankie Aranda formed their own band called K1 while DJ Kane and Frankie J went on to become solo singers.
Solo career (2003–present)
As Frankie J, Bautista signed as a solo artist with Columbia Records and released his first album What’s A Man To Do on May 23, 2003. His self-titled first Spanish-language album Frankie J was also released later in the same year. The album’s lead single “Don’t Wanna Try” peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, while “Ya No Es Igual” went Top 10 on the World Latin charts. Later that year, he was featured in the Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Suga Suga” by rapperBaby Bash.
His second album The One was released on March 22, 2005. It was led by the #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Obsession (No Es Amor)” featuring rapper Baby Bash, and followed by the Top40 singles “How To Deal” and “More Than Words“. To coincide with the release of “More Than Words“, the album was re-released on the DualDiscformat in October. By January 2006, The One was certified platinum by the RIAA for shipping over a million copies. His second Spanish-language album Un Nuevo Dia was released on June 13, 2006 and featured the single “Pensado En Ti.”
Frankie’s third English-language album, Priceless, was released on October 17, 2006. It debuted at #30 on the Billboard 200. The lead single “That Girl” featuredChamillionaire and Mannie Fresh and peaked at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100. A second single, “Daddy’s Little Girl”, charted at #23 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
Following his departure from Columbia Records, Frankie J released a few singles (“Pictures”, “If You Were My Girlfriend”, “Crush”) between 2008 and 2011, as well as starting his own label, Soulsick Records. He has also written songs for other artists, most recently the #2 hit song “Take a Chance on Me” in the United Kingdomfor boyband JLS.
He released his fourth English-language studio album Courage on December 7, 2011. The lead single “How Beautiful You Are” was released to digital retailers on October 24, 2011. The music video was directed by Mike Ho and premiered on YouTube on September 11, 2011. The video for the album’s second single “And I Had You There” premiered on Frankie’s YouTube channel on November 26, 2011. Frankie J and Baby Bash shot a video for the album’s third single “That’s Wussup” in December 2011 in San Diego, California. The video premiered on January 8, 2012.
On July 12, 2012 it was announced that Frankie J will join Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias on their joint North America tour, serving as a special guest, replacingWisin & Yandel who were initially the opening act.
Later that year, he signed with Universal Music and began work on a new Spanish-language album. He released two digital singles (“Ay, Ay, Ay” and “Tienes Que Creer En Mi”/”Take a Chance on Me”) in late 2012.
In 2013, he released his new album, Faith, Hope y Amor on May 28, 2013. It was preceded by the release of the single, “No Te Quiero Ver Con Él”. Frankie J announced “Impossible” as the next single for release.