Kirk Dewayne Franklin, born January 26, 1970, is a gospel singer, dancer, songwriter, and author. He is most recognized for his leadership of urban contemporary gospel choirs and has received various honors, including 16 Grammy Awards, for his work. Franklin has been labeled the “Reigning King of Urban Gospel” by Variety, and he’s one of the first entrants into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame. We’ll assist you in celebrating him today.
Kirk Dewayne Franklin
The Old Kirk
January 26, 1970
Kirk Dewayne Franklin was born on January 26, 1970, in Fort Worth, Texas, and was raised by his aunt after his mother abandoned him as a baby. He joined the church choir and eventually became the music director of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir. Franklin studied music at Oscar Dean Wyatt High School and became the choir’s pianist. He co-founded The Humble Hearts, a gospel group that released one of his tunes and drew the notice of gospel music veteran Milton Biggham. The veteran reached out and allowed Franklin to conduct the Dallas-Fort Worth Mass Choir at the prestigious Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention in 1990.
In 1992, Franklin formed The Family — a 17-member choir made up of old friends and allies. A year later, the group debuted the “Kirk Franklin and the Family” album, which topped Billboard’s gospel chart for 42 weeks before crossing over to the R&B and mainstream charts. It eventually turned platinum. Franklin’s second album, “Kirk Franklin and the Family Christmas,” followed in 1995, but it was his 1996 album, “Whatcha Lookin’ 4,” that cemented his stardom. The album peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and earned Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. The following year, Franklin partnered with the Dallas-based choir, God’s Property, on the album “God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation,” which was even more successful, receiving a Grammy for Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album. Over the next several years, Franklin worked on the soundtrack of the 2001 film “Kingdom Come” and returned in 2002 with “The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin,” his debut album as a solo artist.
Following the devastating earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Franklin gathered an even larger group of gospel all-stars in Nashville’s Quad Studios to record the benefit track ‘Are You Listening?’ Following several years of traveling, he co-produced Tori Kelly’s 2018 album “Hiding Place” and organized the Dallas Exodus Music and Arts Festival. He also hosted and co-produced the B.E.T. original series “Sunday Best” and was the musical co-host of G.S.N.’s “The American Bible Challenge” with Jeff Foxworthy. Franklin launched his label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, in 2013. He married long-time friend Tammy Collins on January 20, 1996. They each had one child from prior relationships when they married. They have two children together as a couple.
Franklin and ‘The Family’, a 17-member choir, release the "Kirk Franklin and the Family" album, which tops Billboard's gospel chart for 42 weeks then moves on to the mainstream charts and turns platinum.
The Album "Whatcha Lookin' 4," peaks at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 and earns Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.
After working on a movie soundtrack, Franklin returns with "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin," his debut album as a solo artist.
Franklin hosts and co-produces the B.E.T. original series "Sunday Best."
Franklin launches his label, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, in association with R.C.A. Records.
Why We Love Kirk Franklin
He’s had a positive impact
Franklin is technically a solo artist, but he constantly travels with a posse of amazing singers and musicians. In his pursuit of talent, he seeks those with "great hearts." He considers himself "a big brother or father figure" to his band members.
Franklin is a natural performer but also likes to spend time with family. He loves going to the movies with his kids.
His style is unforgettable
Franklin leaves an unforgettable mark no matter what he wears. His biggest fashion faux pas was being dressed for an outdoor event when the service was held indoors.
5 Surprising Facts
He was a porn addict
Franklin discussed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that he had a pornography addiction he has now overcome.
His aunt rejected his first contract
When he was seven, Franklin received his first contract offer, which his aunt rejected.
His favorite movies
His favorite movies are "The Godfather," "Glory," and "Philadelphia."
He led a choir at age 11
Franklin became the music director of Mt. Rose Baptist Church's adult choir when he was 11.
He was involved in a controversy
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 using profanities; Franklin later apologized to his fans and supporters.
Kirk Franklin FAQs
What station is Kirk Franklin on?
He appears on Channel 64.
Is Kirk Franklin related to DeVon Franklin?
No. He is not
Is Meagan Good married to Kirk Franklin's son?
No. She was married to DeVon Franklin.
Kirk Franklin’s birthday dates