If it’s one thing that Kirk Franklin understands, it is that soul and gospel have always been a part of the same close-knit family. Since the release of his self-titled debut in 1993, Franklin has proved himself a pioneer when he sprinkled a taste of hip-hop in the mix.
He changed musical history with the release of his debut album, Kirk Franklin and The Family, the first gospel album to sell more than a million units. In his bold attempt to broaden the range of the traditional gospel audience, Kirk Franklin was willing to take heat from the naysayers as long as it didn’t get in the way of delivering the inspired message. After more than 16 years as the top-selling Contemporary Gospel artist, Kirk Franklin shows no signs of slowing down. Many believe the secret to his continued success is rooted in his artistic genius of being innovative, relevant and authentic.
To date, the musical trendsetter has garnered seven Grammy Awards; an American Music Award; 35 Stellar Awards; twelve Dove Awards (CCM); five NAACP Awards; two BET Music Awards, a Soul Train Award and numerous others.
The heart of who Kirk is and his story struck a resounding chord with his fans years ago and they have remained loyal ever since. Kirk has always been transparent about being abandoned by his parents, adopted by his grandmother and his humble beginnings. Kirk has never hid behind his celebrity status but has remained connected to his audience through his music and frank discussions of life issues.
“After 18 years in this industry, I’ve learned so much,” Franklin, says. “I want to take those lessons as well as my own experiences as a man who grew up with one foot in the church and one foot in the streets, and use that to connect with this generation. Reaching young, urban audiences is a key component of Franklin’s vision, and the company’s mission statement reflects Franklin’s commitment: “We’re seeking to creatively impact the world with faith centered, innovative products and services,” he explains.
Franklin resumes hosting the third season of the BET original series, Sunday Best. The entrepreneur not only serves as host of the program, the channel’s nationwide search for the next best gospel artist, but co-executive produces the series. A hugely popular hit with audiences, the program is the network’s first gospel talent competition and garnered the highest ratings for a gospel show in its history. Kirk’s new book, The Blueprint: A Plan For Living Above Life’s Storms (Gotham/Penguin) is in stores now. Kirk has released his twelfth album, Hello Fear, continuing to prove why he is the top selling urban Gospel act of all time. Once again he delivers an array of spectacular music for Gospel music lovers young and old. The album challenges believers everywhere to stop, turn around, and face whatever fear might be hiding in their lives. A devoted husband, Franklin and his wife Tammy have been happily married for fourteen years and are proud parents of four children.