Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Kirk Franklin

Img_capt =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Kirk D Franklin
Born = birth date and age|1970|1|26
Died =
Origin = Fort Worth, Texas imdb|id=0004938|name=Kirk Franklin]
United States
Occupation = Songwriter, record producer, music director, singer, pianist, and rapper
Genre = Gospel
Christian hip hop
Years_active = 1993–present
Label = Fo Yo Soul Entertainment, Zomba, GospoCentric, Sparrow
Associated_acts = The Family God's Property 1NC
URL = []

Kirk Franklin (born birth date|1970|1|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, having been abandoned as a baby by his mother. Gertrude collected and resold aluminium 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.cite web|url=|title=Exodus news] . He joined the church choir and became music director of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir, at the age of eleven.

Despite his strong 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,cite web|url=|title=Rocknet] Franklin returned to the church, where he began to direct the choir 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 (at just twenty years old) to lead the choir at the 1990 Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention, a major industry gathering.

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, and eventually earning platinum sales status. It remained at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for 42 weeks. It was also the first gospel music album to sell over a million units.

Two years later, after releasing a 1994 Christmas album, titled "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, charting at #1 on the R&B Singles Airplay chart for 2 weeks, and 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 citeweb|url=|title=God's Property sues Kirk Franklin|date=1998-11-02|accessdate=2007-11-08|work=Jet Magazine] .

"The Nu Nation Project" was released in 1998. [cite web|url=|title=Free Music: The Nu Nation Project by Kirk Franklin - Rhapsody Online ] The first single, an interpolation of the Bill Withers song "Lean on Me", 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 [cite web|url=|title=God's Property] . This saw the end of the "Kirk Franklin & The Family" records, as Kirk went on to become a solo artist.

As a Solo Artist(2000 - date)

In 2001, Franklin ventured into new territory, scoring and producing the soundtrack for the film "Kingdom Come". The soundtrack featured gospel artists Jill Scott, Mary Mary and 1NC, as well as secular artists Az Yet, 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, 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 Start date|2005|12|2 and Platinum on Start date|2006|12|14 by the Recording Industry Association of America cite web|url=|title=RIAA] . It was #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 of 2006, Kirk Franklin won two 2007 Grammy Awards, for "Hero". Additionally, "Hero" was the 2007 Stellar Awards CD of the Year. cite web|url=|title=22th Annual Stellar Award Winners|]

Kirk Franklin's 10th album, "The Fight of My Life", was released in the United States on Start date|2007|12|18. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at #33 with 74,000 copies sold in the first week. [ cite web|url=|title=Groban, Blige Enjoy Huge Weeks On Album Chart|last=Walsh|first=Chris M.||date=2007-12-27] . It reached #1 on both the Billboard Top Gospel and Top Christian albums charts, and it also peaked at #7 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. cite web|url=| - Artist Chart History - Kirk Franklin|accessdate=2008-01-14] The first single, "Declaration (This is It)," was released on Start date|2007|10|23 and peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. 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 date|1996-01-20, Franklin married long time friend Tammy Collins. When they wed, they had each had one child from previous relationships: Kirk's son Kerrion, born in 1988, and Tammy's daughter Carrington, born in 1989.cite web|url=|title=The Secret of His Success|accessdate=2008-05-24] . Together, they have had two children: Kennedy, born in 1997 and Caziah, born in 2000.cite web|url=|title=Kirk Franklin won't hide his past, including the porn|date=2005-12-21|accessdate=2008-05-24]

truggle with pornography

In 2006, Franklin appeared together 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. Franklin had informed his wife of his addiction after first having proposed to her to share the pornography together, which she rejected. Kirk stated in the interview that he sought help through Christian counseling and finally considers himself to be free from his addiction. As of the interview, he had been clean for over seven years. [citeweb|title=Porn Epidemic: Kirk's Recovery|url=|date=2007-11-30|accessdate=2007-12-13]



Billboard chart history



Additional reading

*cite book |last=Franklin|first=Kirk|title=Church Boy|origdate=1998-10-1|publisher=Thomas Nelson|isbn=0849940508
*Citation|last=Waldron|first=Clarence|title=Kirk Franklin's new mission: finding gospel's next superstar and boosting the music's appeal|journal=Jet (Magazine/Journal)|volume=112 |issue=17|pages=60(5)|date=2007-10-29
*Citation|last=Slagle|first=Dana|title=Kirk Franklin healed from 20-year addiction; filled with Christmas joy|journal=Jet (Magazine/Journal)|volume=108|issue=26|pages=52(6)|date=2005-12-26
*Citation|last=|first=|title=Kirk Franklin's Joyful Noise|journal=Guideposts|volume=|issue=|pages=|date=1997

External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Kirk Franklin music videos on Yahoo! Music]
*imdb|id=0004938|name=Kirk Franklin
*amg|id=11:jbfpxqy5ldae|label=Kirk Franklin
*amg|id=10:82jyeae44xu7|label=One Nation Crew
*MySpace|kirkfranklin|Kirk Franklin
* [ Kirk Franklin Channel]


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