Who is Kirk Franklin?
Kirk James Franklin is one of contemporary gospel music’s most emergent singers, songwriters, and producers. Born on January 26, 1970, Franklin would find himself the child of a strict Baptist household. The product of a rather unconventional family– Franklin lived with his aunt in Fort Worth, Texas for the better part of his childhood. Franklin was always bright when it came to music, starting piano lessons at the age of four getting his first record deal offer at 7 years old. Franklin is very popular in the Gospel/ R&B world, now amassing 14 complete albums. It can even be argued that Kirk Franklin is a staple in the black gospel community. Franklin was the leader of many choirs over his lifetime. He released his first album Kirk Franklin & The Family with his choir The Family compromised of 17 of his friends and associates.
It is no secret that Kirk Franklin has produced massive hits. He has many awards under his name, including grammys, top 20s hits, and award-winning albums. Franklin mixes the traditional sound of a church choir with newer sounds like r&b and hip hop, and it has had an incredible impact on the trajectory of gospel music. To further understand his impact on the Gospel community, let us look at some of his hits from the 2000-2010 period.
Listen to the infectious song Brighter Day, released by Kirk Franklin in 2002.
This song exhibits many of the qualities that songs from Kirk Franklin’s discography has become notorious for. It is a fun and engaging gospel song that fills the whole congregation with the Holy Spirit. It’s prominent use of the choir, repetition of uplifting messages, and Franklin’s hype ad libs, are only some of the features that contribute to the success of his records. It is easy to see how the energy present in Franklin’s records would encourage others to praise the Lord. It is also simple to see how gospel records such as Brighter Day would find their way to mainstream/secular audiences who prefer a more hip hop/ R&B sound.