Kirk Franklin: Wikis


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Kirk Franklin
Birth name Kirk D. Franklin
Born January 26, 1970 (1970-01-26) (age 39)
Origin Fort Worth, Texas [1]
United States
Genres Gospel, Christian hip hop
Occupations Songwriter, record producer, music director, singer, pianist, and rapper
Years active 1993–present
Labels Fo Yo Soul Entertainment, Zomba, GospoCentric, Sparrow
Associated acts The Family
God's Property

Kirk Dwayne Franklin (born January 26, 1970(1970-01-26) in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American Gospel music singer and author, and is most notably known as the leader of urban contemporary gospel choirs such as the Family, God's Property and 1NC (One Nation Crew).



Early years

A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Franklin was raised by his great aunt Gertrude, having been abandoned as a baby by his mother.[2] Gertrude collected and resold aluminum cans to raise money for Kirk to take piano lessons from the age of 4. Kirk excelled in music, able to read and write music by ear. He received his first contract offer at the age of 7, which his aunt turned down.[2] He joined the church choir and became music director of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir at the age of eleven. Despite his strict religious upbringing, Franklin rebelled in his teenage years, and in an attempt to keep him out of trouble, his great aunt arranged an audition for him at a professional youth conservatory associated with a local university. He was accepted and, while his life seemed to be on track for a while, the announcement of a girlfriend's pregnancy and his eventual expulsion from school for behavioral problems proved otherwise.

After the shooting death of a friend,[3] Franklin returned to the church, where he began to direct the choir once again. He also co-founded a gospel group, The Humble Hearts, which recorded one of Franklin's compositions and got the attention of gospel music legend Milton Bigham. Impressed, Bigham enlisted him to lead the DFW Mass Choir in a recording of Franklin's song "Every Day with Jesus." This led to Bigham hiring Franklin, just 20 years old at the time, to lead the choir at the 1990 Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention, a major industry gathering.[2]

Musical career

Kirk Franklin & The Family (early 90's - 2000)

In the early 90's he organized "The Family", a seventeen-voice choir, formed from neighborhood friends and associates. In 1992, Vicki Mack-Lataillade, the co-founder of fledgling record label GospoCentric, heard one of their demo tapes and was so impressed she immediately signed up Kirk & The Family to a recording contract.

In 1993, the group, now known as "Kirk Franklin & The Family," released their debut album, Kirk Franklin & The Family. It spent almost two years on the Gospel music charts and charted on the R&B charts, eventually earning platinum sales status. It remained at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for 42 weeks. It was the first gospel music album to sell over a million units.

Two years later, after releasing a 1994 Christmas album entitled Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas, the group released Whatcha Lookin' 4 in 1995. The album was certified 2x platinum and earned Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.

1997 brought another album, a collaboration with the vocal ensemble God's Property, aptly named God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation. The lead single, "Stomp", featuring Cheryl "Salt" James (of Salt-N-Pepa), was a huge hit, enjoying heavy rotation on MTV and other music channels, and charting at #1 on the R&B Singles Airplay chart for 2 weeks, even making it in to the Top 40. God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation was #1 on the R&B Albums chart for 5 weeks, #3 on the Pop charts, and would go on to be certified 3x platinum. It also brought Franklin another Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as three Grammy nominations.

On November 2, 1998, God's Property sued Franklin. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Franklin induced God's Property founder Linda Searight into signing an "onerous and one-sided" contract with B-Rite Music.[4]

The Nu Nation Project was released in 1998.[5] The first single, an interpretation of the Bill Withers song "Lean on Me" and produced by Franklin and pop producer Dan Shea, controversially featured several mainstream artists, including R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige and Bono of U2. Together with Crystal Lewis, and the Family, "Lean On Me" and the second single "Revolution" (featuring Rodney Jerkins) were considerable hits, and the album contained a version of another Withers song "Gonna Be a Lovely Day". The Nu Nation Project went on to top the Billboard Contemporary Christian Albums chart for 23 weeks and the Billboard Gospel Albums chart for 49 weeks, and brought Franklin his third Grammy.

In, 2000, The Family filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit for royalties for their work on The Nu Nation Project against Franklin and GospoCentric Records.[6] This saw the end of the "Kirk Franklin & The Family" records, as Kirk went on to become a solo artist, except for his CD Kirk Franklin presents 1NC, which he did in collaboration with 1NC, and was released that same year.

As a solo artist (2000 - present)

In 2001, Franklin ventured into new territory, scoring and producing the soundtrack for the film Kingdom Come. The soundtrack featured gospel artists Mary Mary, Crystal Lewis, and 1NC, as well as secular artists Az Yet, Jill Scott, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and others. A notable song from the soundtrack was "Thank You" (Kirk Franklin feat Mary Mary).

2002's The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin topped the Gospel Albums chart for 29 weeks, was #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and was certified Platinum. The album featured collaborations with Bishop T.D. Jakes, Shirley Caesar, Tobymac, Crystal Lewis, Jaci Velasquez, Papa San, Alvin Slaughter, and Yolanda Adams. This was Kirk's first major release not to garner him a Grammy Award.

On October 4, 2005 Hero was released in the United States. The album was certified Gold on December 2, 2005 (2005-12-02) and Platinum on December 14, 2006 (2006-12-14) by the Recording Industry Association of America.[7] It made #1 on both the Billboard Top Christian and Top Gospel albums. The first single, "Looking for You", was a hit, as was the follow-up "Imagine Me", which made it onto the R&B Charts. In December 2006, Kirk Franklin won two 2007 Grammy Awards for Hero. Additionally, Hero was the 2007 Stellar Awards CD of the Year.[8]

Kirk Franklin's 10th album, The Fight of My Life, was released in the United States on December 18, 2007 (2007-12-18). The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at #33 with 74,000 copies sold in the first week.[9] It reached #1 on both the Billboard Top Gospel and Top Christian albums charts, and also peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart.[10][11] The first single, "Declaration (This is It)," was released on October 23, 2007 (2007-10-23) and peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.[11] The album features guest appearances from Rance Allen, Isaac Carree, tobyMac, Da' T.R.U.T.H., Doug Williams, and Melvin Williams. The song "Jesus" was released as the album's second single in 2008 and was sent to Urban AC radio on July 15 2008.

Personal life

On 20 January 1996, Franklin married long-time friend Tammy Collins.[2] When they wed, they each had one child from previous relationships: Kirk's son Kerrion, born in 1988, and Tammy's daughter Carrington, born in 1989.[12] As a couple, they have two children: Kennedy, born in 1997, and Caziah, born in 2000.[13] In 2006, Franklin appeared with his wife on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on the subject of pornography. During the show, entitled "Famous Gospel Singer Admits His Addiction to Porn," he admitted to struggling with a porn addiction for many years. Kirk stated in the interview that he sought help through Christian counseling and finally became free of the addiction. As of the interview, he had been clean for over seven years. [13][14]



Billboard chart history


Year Album Chart Peak [10][11]
1993 Kirk Franklin & the Family Top Gospel Albums 1
1994 Top Contemporary Christian 1
Top Heatseekers 2
Top R&B Albums 6
Billboard 200 58
1995 Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Contemporary Christian 2
Billboard 200 60
1996 Whatcha Lookin' 4 Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Contemporary Christian 1
Top R&B Albums 3
Billboard 200 23
1997 God's Property from Kirk Franklin's Nu Nation Top Gospel Albums 1
Top R&B Albums 1
Billboard 200 3
1998 The Nu Nation Project Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Contemporary Christian 1
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4
Billboard 200 7
2002 The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Contemporary Christian 1
Billboard 200 4
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4
2005 Hero Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Contemporary Christian 1
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4
Billboard 200 13
2006 Songs For the Storm, Volume I Top Gospel Albums 1
2007 The Fight of My Life Top Gospel Albums 1
Top Christian Albums 1
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 7
Billboard 200 33


Year Single Chart Peak [10][11]
1998 "Lean on Me" Billboard Hot 100 79
1999 "Lean on Me" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 26
"Revolution" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 59
2005 "Looking for You" Billboard Hot 100 61
"Looking for You" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 5
2006 "Imagine Me" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 52
2007 "Declaration (This is It)" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 35
2008 "Declaration (This is It)" Hot Adult R&B Airplay 13


  1. ^ Kirk Franklin at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b c d "Exodus news".  
  3. ^ "Rocknet".  
  4. ^ "God's Property sues Kirk Franklin". Jet Magazine. 1998-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-08.  
  5. ^ "Free Music: The Nu Nation Project by Kirk Franklin - Rhapsody Online".  
  6. ^ "God's Property".  
  7. ^ "RIAA".  
  8. ^ "22nd Annual Stellar Award Winners".  
  9. ^ Walsh, Chris M. (2007-12-27). "Groban, Blige Enjoy Huge Weeks On Album Chart".  
  10. ^ a b c "allmusic (Kirk Frankling - Charts & Awards - Billboard Albums".  
  11. ^ a b c d " - Artist Chart History - Kirk Franklin". Retrieved 2008-01-14.  
  12. ^ "The Secret of His Success". Retrieved 2008-05-24.  
  13. ^ a b "Kirk Franklin won't hide his past, including the porn". 2005-12-21. Retrieved 2008-05-24.  
  14. ^ "Porn Epidemic: Kirk's Recovery". 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  

Additional reading

  • Franklin, Kirk (1998). Church Boy. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 0849940508.  
  • Waldron, Clarence (2007-10-29), "Kirk Franklin's new mission: finding gospel's next superstar and boosting the music's appeal", Jet (Magazine/Journal) 112 (17): 60(5)  
  • Slagle, Dana (2005-12-26), "Kirk Franklin healed from 20-year addiction; filled with Christmas joy", Jet (Magazine/Journal) 108 (26): 52(6)  
  • "Kirk Franklin's Joyful Noise", Guideposts, 1997  

External links


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