Every so often, a one-hit wonder comes along from an artist or band whose career is so brief, you wonder if you actually imagined it as part of your childhood. That may be the case with Prima J, but we’re here to remind you the pop act’s success was very much real in the late 2000s.
Comprised of Mexican-American singers Jessica and Janelle Martinez, the duo are probably best remembered for their minor 2007 hit “Rock Star” and its 2008 bilingual follow-up, “Corazón (You’re Not Alone).” But after that brief span of just over a year, the trail went cold for most fans as the girls all but disappeared from the spotlight.
So, what happened to Prima J and where are they now? Read on for everything PopCrush rounded up about the oft-forgotten pop star pair…
See the Family Resemblance?
One thing the average music fan may not have known back in 2007 was that the girls of Prima J are actually related! That’s right, Jessica and Janelle are cousins — ostensibly on their fraternal side considering they share the same last name.
Not only that, the cousins may as well be twins, as their birthdays are exactly three months and one day apart. (For the record, Jessica was born May 25, 1988 and Janelle arrived 93 days later on Aug. 26 of the same year.)
Their name as a duo also has familial roots; anyone who speaks Spanish will recognize that “prima” is the word for female cousin.
A “Rock Star” Breakthrough
Prima J’s big moment arrived when their debut single, “Rock Star,” was included on the soundtrack for Bratz, the 2007 live-action feature film based on the edgy, fashion-forward and oh-so-Y2K alternative to Barbie.
Speaking of 2000s fashion, what a trip the “Rock Star” video is! The purple hoodie and orange t-shirt paired with, respectively, red and yellow denim? The baby doll dresses over metallic leggings? The Snooki-esque poufs? Late aughties fashion at its finest.
While the Bratz soundtrack included tracks by the likes of Ashlee Simpson, The Black Eyed Peas and Kevin McHale’s pre-Glee boy band NLT, the duo’s freshman single was chosen as one of three to promote the film. Jessica and Janelle even make a brief cameo in the film, having their moment on the big screen auditioning for the school talent show, at which the titular Bratz eventually perform a musical number.
A Promising Debut Album
One year after Bratz, Prima J released their self-titled debut album on June 28, 2008 via Geffen Records. And honestly, the studio set boasted some pretty big names in the production credits, with everyone from Alicia Keys and Stefanie Ridel (a member of Fergie’s one-time girl group Wild Orchid) to then-Geffen chairman Ron Fair and producer Oak of Grammy-nominated duo Pop & Oak contributing to the collection.
However, the LP — which included fan favorite “Corazón (You’re Not Alone)” — only spent one week on the Billboard 200, peaking at a disappointing No. 172 before falling off altogether. Eventually, it went on to spend six weeks on Billboard‘s tally tracking breaking-and-entering acts, the Heatseekers Albums chart, where it topped out at No. 6, but it’s safe to say the album didn’t live up to the label’s expectations. Soon enough, the girls were dropped and faded from the collective pop culture memory.
Other Hollywood Moments
Outside of their sole album, Prima J popped up on a number of different projects throughout the 2000s that fans are probably familiar with. Even before Bratz, the duo contributed their song “Gotta Lotta” to the 2007 Disney Channel Original Movie Jump In!. (Yes, that’s the one with a post-High School Musical Corbin Bleu choosing between boxing and doing Double Dutch with Keke Palmer.)
The cousins also starred in the music video for Baby Bash’s 2008 single “What Is It” alongside Sean Kingston, and made an appearance in 2009’s Bring It On: Fight to the Finish — the fifth in the Bring It On franchise — which starred Christina Milian and went direct to DVD.
A Comeback or Two…
Nearly eight years after their album flopped, Prima J announced they were getting back together. Jessica and Janelle started their second chapter by hosting their own show on Dash Radio, and eventually dropped their official comeback single “Ladies” in March 2017.
Since then, the cousins’ musical output has been a bit sporadic. Their next release to streaming services didn’t come until 2020’s “Dance,” which remains their most recent single on Spotify and Apple Music.
However, the duo remain active promoting music on social media. Just last month, they dropped a remix of Down AKA Kilo’s 2007 hit “Lean Like a Cholo” as a free download via TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.
While Prima J’s “Rock Star” moment may have been fleeting, Jessica and Janelle are still pursuing their pop dreams to this day, and we’re excited to see what they do next.