Kirk Dwayne Franklin, born Kirk Dwayne Smith on January 26, 1970 in Fort Worth, Texas to a teenage mother. He never knew his father and his mother struggled caring for him and gave him up for adoption. At the age of three he was adopted by his great aunt Gertrude Franklin, who had cared for him since birth and the only mother figured he had known. Gertrude recognized Franklin’s gifts and talents at a young age and encouraged his development and growth. Detriment to provide Franklin with the musical foundation and training he needed to enhance his talents, she and Franklin recycled cans and newspapers in order to pay for his piano lessons. He was extremely advanced at an early age and by the age of four he was a trained pianist and played regularly at his church. His obvious talent brought a lot of attention to him and also led to a recording contract offer at the age of seven. Gertrude concerned that he was too young to handle such a big responsibility at such a young age turned down the offer but continued to encourage him along his musical journey. It wasn’t long before Franklin was leading the adult choir at Mount Rose Baptist Church, an eleven year old in charge of people 60 and older. Although Franklin was very active in church he was also attracted to the street life, being the only child in the home with an older woman Franklin desired to just be a kid. When he was around a group of his peers he began to act out and rebel out of fear of being called a “church boy”. Franklin never wanted the accreditation of being a hardcore gangster he just perpetrated one so the other kids wouldn’t see him as weak. Although he wasn’t considered hardcore gangster by the street standards, he hung around the wrong crowd smoked marijuana and was involved in a few fist fights. It wasn’t until, at the age of 15, Franklin witness his friend die of an accidental shooting that he realized the street life wasn’t for him and decided to change. The death of his friend had profound implications for the direction Franklin life took and his return to church. A few years after Franklin returned to church he was faced with another life alternating event fatherhood. At the age of 18 Franklin became a father to a baby boy Kerrion, with his teenage girlfriend and left her to care for their child alone for several years. Franklin realized he was wrong for abandoning his child as his mother had abandoned him, and began to step up as a father. With being a better father came focus and ultimately he focused totally on his music. Franklin co-founded the group The Humble Hearts, which recorded a demo tape that impressed the gospel legend and producer Milton Biggham. Biggham and the DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) Mass Choir recorded Franklin song Every Day with Jesus, this led to Franklin being hired by Biggham at the age of 20. DFW Mass Choir went on to record other songs by Franklin including I Will Let Nothing Separate Me on the Choir’s 1991 release and Another Chance on the 1993 release. This created the opportunity for him to lead the choir at the 1990 GMWA (Gospel Music Workshop of America) a convention in which all of the industry greats participate. Wanting to have full creative control and the desire to perform his own material he put together the group, The Family, in 1992 which consist of a 17 voice choir. The group was given the name, The Family, because it was the extended family Franklin never had and the family he always wanted. Franklin searched for a record deal and even turned down an offer with Savoy Records, but it wasn’t long before the right offer came along from Gospo Centric record label. Kirk Franklin and The Family released their debut album Kirk Franklin and The Family in 1993 which was recorded at Grace Temple Church in Forth Worth Texas. Franklin refused to omit Jesus and the Lord from his song lyrics to reach mainstream fame as other gospel artist had done in the past. His music was different from the traditional gospel music...
Cited: Franklin, Kirk (1998) [1998-10-1]. Church Boy. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 0849940508
Waldron, Clarence (2007-10-29). "Kirk Franklin 's new mission: finding gospel 's next superstar and boosting the music 's appeal". Jet (Magazine/Journal) 112 (17): 60(5)
Slagle, Dana (2005-12-26). "Kirk Franklin healed from 20-year addiction; filled with Christmas joy". Jet (Magazine/Journal) 108 (26): 52(6)
"Kirk Franklin 's Joyful Noise". Guideposts. 1997
The Official Kirk Franklin Site. http://www.kirkfranklin.com/biography
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