Biography of Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin, a singer, songwriter, and producer, is one of the most prominent and enduring figures in contemporary gospel music.
He rose to prominence in the early 1990s while leading the Texas-based choir the Family, whose platinum-selling debut, Kirk Franklin & the Family (1993), not only became a gospel music chart-topper but also found success on the R&B and pop charts.
Franklin’s collaborations with the Family (1996’s Whatcha Lookin’ 4) and another choir, God’s Property (1998’s The Nu Nation Project), as well as his following solo career, which he began with The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin, would prove to be a reoccurring theme (2002).
A large audience has continued to be drawn to Franklin’s love of working with other artists in both the secular and Christian music scenes as well as his natural ability to blend charismatic gospel with R&B and hip-hop.
He continues to have consistent chart success and is a frequent Grammy winner, as evidenced by his several Top 20 albums that have won awards, including Long Live Love (2015), Hello Fear (2015), Hero (2015), and Hero (2005). (2019). His partnership with Maverick City Music, Kingdom Book One (2022), raised awareness of mass incarceration.
Franklin was raised by his aunt Gertrude in Fort Worth after being abandoned by his mother and never knowing his father. Gertrude was a devout woman who upheld a strict Baptist home.
When he was four years old, his aunt collected aluminum cans to pay for his piano tuition. At the age of seven, Franklin’s aunt politely declined his first contract offer because he was a natural musician who could play by ear and sight-read equally well. At the age of 11, he was in charge of the adult choir at the Dallas-area Mt. Rose Baptist Church.
After a time of teenage rebellion during which a close friend of his was unintentionally shot and murdered, Franklin went back to the church and started taking music classes at Oscar Dean Wyatt High School with Jewell Kelly & the Singing Chaparrals.
He also founded the gospel group the Humble Hearts during this time, and it was thanks to their recording of one of his original songs that Milton Biggham became aware of him. Milton then gave him the opportunity to conduct the Dallas-Fort Worth Mass Choir at the prestigious Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention in 1990.