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Kirk Dwayne Franklin is an american gospel singer, best known for his work with The Family,God's Property and One Nation Crew. He has won multiple awards, including 12 Grammys. Franklin is best known as an urban gospel performer.
Franklin has always had an ear for music. At age four he started piano lessons, and by age 12 he was the director of his church choir. At a young age he was able to not only play by ear, but could also read and write music. Franklin had a strict upbring in the church and his grandma did her best to keep him on the straight and narrow.
At age 15, Franklin found himself as the father of a child. He had attempted to talk his girlfriend into an abortion, but she insisted on keeping the child. He has since talked about his transgressions, but has always remained to keep his girlfriends identity hidden. Franklin was expelled from school after developing behavioral problems after the birth of his child.
It took the shooting of a close friend to finally get Franklin back to church. He found himself rededicating himself, and becoming a big part of the church choir. Through his efforts with the church choir he got the attention of gospel music legend Milton Biggham, who became responsible for getting Franklin his first recorded song. His song "Every Day with Jesus" was recorded when he was only 20 years old.
In 1992 he was the mastermind of a 17 person choir that was made of neighborhood friends and associates. In 1992 Kirk Franklin & The Family was signed to a recording contract with GospelCentric. There first album spent 42 weeks on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, and became the first gospel album to sell over 1 million copies.
In 1996 the group released the album Whatcha Lookin' 4, and it became 2X platinum and and won Franklin his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. In 1997 he had a collaboration with Cheryl "Salt" James (of Salt-N-Pepa). The song was popular on MTV and spent two weeks on top of the R&B charts. and was one of America's top 40 hits.
Despite all of the fame, Franklin had fallen in love with his long time friend, Tammy Collins, and they were married in 1996. Tammy had a child from a previous partner, and the couple also had 2 more children together. This relationship helped Franklin deal with a lot of issues he had in his closet. Tammy convinces him to speak on his childhood and the difficulties he had. Another thing that comes to light is his surprising addiction to pornography.
He claims his wife is the only reason he was able to rise above his addiction. He gave his marriage the credit for breaking the cycle of pornography and his closer relationship with God. He talks openly about the issue and encourages any other man that is facing the same addiction to turn to God for help but to also lean on loved ones for support.
Franklin had also admitted to having an affair after their marriage, but again the couple turned to God and was able to get through this problem as well. Tammy states that he always knew he could turn to her any time he was having problems and never had to be ashamed or embarrassed. Tammy assured that Franklin was a clean man and have removed all the problems from his life. There were no rumors about divorce as Tammy decided to be on his side, during many problems and there can be no argument, fight or misunderstanding that would bring their relationship to an end, in the near future.
There were a lot of rumors about him cheating on Tammy with some secret girlfriend. However, Kirk confirmed that he never cheated on Tammy. He agreed to have a had a lot of romantic relationships with a string of women. However, after he started dating Tammy, things changed. Tammy talks a lot about Franklin, how he came out of his problems and about their marital relationship. She agreed that it was a rocky relationship and things were up and down many times. However, they stood with each other and somehow solved the problems.
With all of the bad times behind them, Kirk and Tammy set their eyes on the future. In 2002, The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin topped the Gospel Albums chart for 29 weeks. On the album he had collaborations with people such as, T.D. Jakes, Toby Mac, and Jaci Velasquez. In 2005, he experienced more success when his album Hero claimed gold status in just three months, and the album became platinum in December of the following year.
In December 2006, Franklin won two 2007 Grammy Awards for Hero, and was the 2007 Stellar Awards CD of the Year. Franklin's release in 2007, The Fight of My Life, sold 74,000 copies in the first week, and reached No. 1 on both the Billboard Top Gospel and Top Christian albums charts.
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. In 2013, Franklin started his own record label imprint, Fo Yo Soul Recordings, which is in association with RCA Records
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