Kirk Franklin’s biographical information, age, career, and net worth
Kirk Dewayne Franklin is an American choir conductor, gospel singer, rapper, and songwriter who was born on January 26, 1970. He is most recognized for being the choir director of several urban contemporary gospel choirs, including The Family, God’s Property, and One Nation Crew (1NC). Among the many honors he has received are 16 Grammy Awards. Franklin was labeled a “Reigning King of Urban Gospel” by Variety and was among the first people to be inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.
Franklin, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, was raised by his aunt Gertrude after his mother abandoned him as a baby. Gertrude collected aluminum cans to generate money so that Kirk could start taking piano lessons at the age of four. Kirk was exceptional and had both the ability to read and write music as well as play by ear.
Franklin obtained his first contract at the age of seven, which his aunt declined. He did join the church choir, and at the age of 11, he was appointed music director of the adult chorus at Mount Rose Baptist Church.
In an effort to keep Franklin out of trouble when he was a teenager and rebel against his strict religious upbringing, his grandmother set up an audition for him at a professional youth conservatory connected to a nearby university. He was admitted, but later had to cope with a girlfriend being pregnant and eventually being expelled from school for misbehavior.
At Oscar Dean Wyatt High School, Franklin took music classes with Jewell Kelly and the Singing Chaparrals. He remained under her supervision and ultimately became the pianist for the choir.
Franklin was 15 years old when he witnessed the murder of a friend. Franklin then went back to the church and once again oversaw the choir. Additionally, he was a founding member of the gospel ensemble The Humble Hearts, which made a recording of one of Franklin’s compositions and caught the ear of Georgia Mass Choir musical director and legendary gospel musician Milton Biggham. Biggham was so impressed that he asked him to conduct the DFW Mass Choir while they recorded the song “Every Day with Jesus” by Aretha Franklin. Because of this, Biggham decided to hire Franklin, who was only 20 at the time, to direct the choir at the 1990 Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention, a trade show.
With Teams (1992–2000)
Vicki Mack-Lataillade, the co-founder of the nascent GospoCentric Records label, heard one of their demo tapes in 1992 and was so moved by what she heard that she quickly signed Kirk and the Family to a recording contract. Franklin established “The Family,” a 17-voice choir, in 1992.
The group, now going by the name “Kirk Franklin & The Family,” issued their debut album in 1993. Kirk Franklin and The Family spent over two years on the gospel music charts and charted on the R&B charts, finally attaining platinum sales status. For 42 weeks, it held the top spot on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. It was only the third gospel music album to sell over a million units after Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace and BeBe & CeCe Winans’ Addictive Love.
Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas, released in 1995, was followed two years later by Whatcha Lookin’ 4 in 1996. Franklin received his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Record for the album, which has a 2-platinum certification. Another album was released in 1997. It was a collaboration with the vocal group God’s Property and was appropriately titled God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation. The lead single, “Stomp,” with Cheryl “Salt” James (of Salt-N-Pepa), was a huge success. It had extensive airplay on MTV and other music channels, spent two weeks at the top of the R&B Singles Airplay chart, and even cracked the Top 40. God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation was No. 1 on the R&B Albums chart for five weeks, No. 3 on the Pop charts, and would go on to be certified 3× platinum. It also brought Franklin another Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as three Grammy nominations.
In 1996, Franklin’s song “Joy” was recorded by Whitney Houston and the Georgia Mass Choir. With production by Houston and Mervyn Warren, the composition was included on the best-selling gospel album of all time, soundtrack to The Preacher’s Wife.
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.
In 1998, The Nu Nation Project was released. The first song, “Lean on Me,” was created by Franklin and pop producer Dan Shea and included a number of well-known performers, including R. U2’s Bono, Mary J. Blige, and Kelly, as well as Crystal Lewis and The Family The songs “Lean on Me” and “Revolution” (with Rodney Jerkins) were huge hits, and the album also included a cover of “Gonna Be a Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. Franklin received his third Grammy after The Nu Nation Project topped the Billboard Contemporary Christian Albums list for 23 weeks and the Billboard Gospel Albums chart for 49 weeks. Also in 1998, Franklin had made a guest appearance on the hit television sitcom Sister, Sister.
The “Kirk Franklin & The Family” records came to an end when members of The Family sued Franklin and GospoCentric Records for millions of dollars in royalties for their work on The Nu Nation Project. Franklin carried on with his newer group, One Nation Crew, releasing the album Kirk Franklin Presents 1NC, which was recorded before the lawsuit.
At the 25th Annual Stellar Awards show taping in Nashville, Tennessee, on January 16, 2010, Kirk Franklin and The Family briefly reunited on stage to play songs that they had made popular in the 1990s.
SOLO ARTIST (Present – 2001)
He composed the soundtrack for the 2001 film Kingdom Come. Gospel singers Mary Mary, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Crystal Lewis, and Franklin’s group 1NC appeared on the album, as did mainstream performers Az Yet, Jill Scott, Tamar Braxton, Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, and others.
After being postponed, The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin was released in February 2002. It spent 29 weeks at the top of the Gospel Albums chart, hit number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and was certified platinum. Bishop T.D. Jakes, Shirley Caesar, Willie Neal Johnson, TobyMac, Crystal Lewis, Jaci Velasquez, Papa San, Alvin Slaughter, and Yolanda Adams all contributed to the album.
Hero was released in the United States on October 4, 2005. The Recording Industry Association of America certified the album gold on December 2, 2005, and platinum on December 14, 2006. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian and Top Gospel Albums charts. The first song, “Looking for You,” was a hit, as was the follow-up, “Imagine Me,” which charted on R&B. Franklin received two Grammys for “Hero” at the 2007 Grammy Awards. Hero was also named the Stellar Awards CD of the Year in 2007.
The Fight of My Life, Franklin’s tenth studio album, was released in the United States on December 18, 2007. The album debuted at No. 33 on the Billboard 200, with 74,000 copies sold in the first week. It reached No. 1 on both the Billboard Top Gospel and Top Christian Albums charts and also peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The first single, “Declaration (This is It),” was released on October 23, 2007, and peaked at No. 35 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Pop Songs chart. The song “Jesus” was released as the album’s second single in 2008 and was sent to Urban AC radio on July 15, 2008. In January 2010, after Haiti had a devastating earthquake, Franklin got an ensemble of gospel artists together to sing the song he wrote, called “Are You Listening”. They included Yolanda Adams, Jeremy Camp, Shirley Caesar, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Natalie Grant, Fred Hammond, Tamela Mann, David Mann, Mary Mary, Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton, J. Moss, Smokie Norful, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra Sheard, BeBe Winans, CeCe Winans, and Marvin Winans
In 2005, Franklin appeared with his wife on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss how he ended his pornography addiction. In 2010, he published The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms, a book in which he recounts the family difficulties experienced during his childhood, and how he got out of a sexually active life and an addiction to pornography.
Franklin served as the host and co-executive producer of the BET original series Sunday Best and the musical co-host of GSN’s The American Bible Challenge with Jeff Foxworthy. Franklin’s 11th studio album called Hello Fear was released on March 22, 2011. The album features Marvin Sapp, Mali Music, Marvin Winans, John P. Kee, and Rance Allen. The first single, “I Smile”, peaked at No. 85 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his first appearance on that chart in six years.
Franklin began signing artists to his label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, which became an imprint with RCA Records in 2013, and he has signed acts such as The Walls Group and artists such as Tasha Page-Lockhart. These two artists received ten Stellar Award nominations at the 30th annual Stellar Awards.
In September 2015, Franklin announced his 12th studio album, Losing My Religion, and the album was released on November 13, 2015. The first single off the album, “Wanna Be Happy?”, was released on August 28, 2015. It was at this point that Vinson Cunningham referred to him as a hype man when writing for the New Yorker.
Franklin contributed to Tori Kelly’s Hiding Place album, released September 14, 2018. They had intended to collaborate on one song, but it turned into a larger project.
On January 25, 2019, Franklin released his single “Love Theory” and official music video for the song. “Love Theory” served the first single from his 13th studio album, Long Live Love. Franklin released his second single, “Just for Me”, in April 2019. His third single, “OK”, was released in May 2019. Long Live Love was released on May 31.
In February 2019, it was announced that BET’s gospel music reality singing competition, Sunday Best would return from a four-year hiatus. Franklin will reprise his role as host.
After the 2019 GMA Dove Awards broadcast on Trinity Broadcasting Network on October 20, 2019, Franklin stated that his acceptance speech was modified to eliminate comments he made on the death of Atatiana Jefferson by a police officer. He announced that he will continue to boycott the award presentation because it was not the first time they had modified his acceptance speech to omit “reflections on police violence against Black Americans.” GMA president Jackie Patillo apologized to Franklin, and GMA released an uncensored version of the speech, stating that it was an inadvertent move and that they were attempting to decrease the running time to fulfill a two-hour time frame. Several other artists joined Franklin in her boycott.
He was one of the first inductees into the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame in 2021.
Franklin and American rapper Lil Baby released the song “We Win” for the soundtrack to the 2021 film Space Jam: A New Legacy on May 21, 2021.
Kerrion, Franklin’s oldest son, released an audio clip of a private discussion between himself and his father in March 2021, in which both can be heard uttering profanities. Franklin later apologized to his fans and supporters.
Main article: Kirk Franklin discography
Kirk Franklin & The Family
- Kirk Franklin & The Family (1993)
- Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas (1995)
- Whatcha Lookin’ 4 (1996)
Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation
- God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation (1997)
- The Nu Nation Project (1998)
Kirk Franklin and 1 Nation Crew
- Kirk Franklin Presents 1NC (2000)
- The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin (2002)
- Hero (2005)
- The Fight of My Life (2007)
- Hello Fear (2011)
- Losing My Religion (2015)
- Long, Live, Love (2019)
Kirk Franklin & Maverick City Music
- Kingdom Book One (2022)
- Main article: Kirk Franklin’s list of honors and nominations
- Franklin is the recipient of numerous prizes, including Grammys, GMA Dove Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, and Stellar Awards.
- He won 16 Grammy Awards  and 22 Dove Awards.
Main article: Kirk Franklin’s list of honors and nominations
Franklin is the recipient of numerous prizes, including Grammys, GMA Dove Awards, BET Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, and Stellar Awards.
He won 16 Grammy Awards  and 22 Dove Awards.