Kirk Dwayne Franklin (born January 26, 1970) is an American gospel musician, choir director, and author who sold nearly 20 million albums worldwide. He is known for leading urban contemporary gospel choirs such as The Family, God’s Property and One Nation Crew (1NC), and has won multiple awards, including seven Grammy Awards.
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 four. Kirk excelled in music, being able to read and write music, while also playing by ear.
He received his first contract offer at the age of seven, which his aunt turned down. He joined the church choir and became music director of the Mt. Rose Adventist Church adult choir at the age of twelve.
In 1992, Franklin organized “The Family”, which is a seventeen-voice choir, formed from neighborhood friends and associates. In 1992, Vicki Mack-Lataillade, the co-founder of fledgling record label GospoCentric, heard one of their demo tapes and was so impressed she immediately signed up Kirk & The Family to a recording contract.
In 1993, the group, now known as “Kirk Franklin & The Family,” released their debut album, Kirk Franklin & The Family. It spent almost two years on the Gospel music charts and charted on the R&B charts, eventually earning platinum sales status. It remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart for 42 weeks. It was the first gospel music album to sell over a million units.
Two years later, after releasing a 1995 Christmas album entitled Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas, the group released Whatcha Lookin’ 4 in 1996. The album was certified 2x platinum and earned Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. 1997 brought another album, a collaboration with the vocal ensemble God’s Property, aptly named God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation. The lead single, “Stomp”, featuring Cheryl “Salt” James (of Salt-N-Pepa), was a big hit, enjoying heavy rotation on MTV and other music channels, and charting at No. 1 on the R&B Singles Airplay chart for two weeks, even making it into 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 3x platinum. It also brought Franklin another Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album, as well as three Grammy nominations.