Kirk Franklin

Kirk Dwayne Franklin (born January 26, 1970(1970-01-26) in Fort Worth, Texas) is a 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.  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.   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, 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 Biggham. 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.

Personal life

On 20 January 1996, Franklin married long time friend Tammy Collins.  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. Together, they have had two children: Kennedy, born in 1997 and Caziah, born in 2000.

Albums

Year Album Chart Peak
1993 Kirk Franklin & the Family Top Gospel Albums 1
1994 Top Contemporary Christian 1
Top Heatseekers 2
Top R&B Albums 6
The 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

Singles

Year Single Chart Peak
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

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