Vol. 10, No. 4 firstname.lastname@example.org www.thespiritualherald.org April 2011 © 2011 Eastern Tsalagi Publishing Co.
Music and Entertainment
January 2011 (Vol. 10, No. 1)
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Kirk Franklin Takes On the Issue of ‘Fear’ Engulfing the Planet
By Waleed Jones
FORTH WORTH—The phrase “art imitating life” has rarely been more meaningful and relevant than in the music of singer Kirk Franklin.
In his new album on the Verity label, entitled “Hello Fear,” he delves into the emotional toll of the many disasters that are occurring around the globe.
“I titled this album Hello Fear because—with everything going on in the world—it is the word and the feeling, that paralyzes all of us on some level right now,” said Franklin.
“In my own life, fear has been a shadow that has followed me since I was a child. But the season of running from it is over. I am turning around and speaking directly to it,” he said, adding:
“This album is full of personal and painful work that invites the listener to join me on the journey of letting this familiar ‘friend’ know that his time is over.”
His twelfth CD, “Hello Fear,” is not only about the disasters, but is an inventive musical work that charts Franklin’s growth as an artist.
It also shows him at his best, melding different styles and genres. He has joined forces again with many well-known artists, such as Isaac Carree, Anaysha Figueroa, Nikki Ross, Charmaine Swimpson and Eric Moore. There is a tremendous amount of synergy between them and Franklin.
Franklin has released two singles simultaneously off of “Hello Fear”: “I Smile” and “I Am,” which are climbing the charts after being released only a few weeks ago.
“‘I Smile’ is a fun, urban upbeat melody I wrote,” said Franklin. “It is a declarative statement that I’m not going to live my life based on how I feel. I will live my life based on God’s word.
“It is not easy and I acknowledge there are always obstacles, but like a lot of folks, I get tired of being guided by my emotions. When I have a deeper trust in God, I live my life in stability,” he said, adding:
“‘I Am’ is about exchanging all of my weaknesses for God’s strength. This song is also about declaring what God says about me and not my situation. As we daily transform to God’s image, we no longer identify with who we were, but who we are becoming.”
It all started for Franklin as a child in his native Fort Worth, Texas. He was raised by his great-aunt Gertrude, having been abandoned as a baby by his mother. In order to pay for piano lessons for four-year-old Kirk, his aunt collected and resold aluminum cans. He excelled in music, and was quickly able to read and compose music by ear.
Franklin was first offered a record contract at the age of seven, but his aunt turned the label down. Instead, he began singing in his church choir, and by the age of eleven, he was the music director of the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir.
Even though Franklin was raised in a religious environment, he was nonetheless a rebellious youth. While he was attending a professional youth conservatory at a local university, his girlfriend became pregnant. Eventually, he was expelled from the program for behavioral problems.
The turning point came when a friend was shot and killed. The tragedy prompted Franklin’s transformation, and he returned to his church, where he rejoined the choir.
That was beginning of Franklin’s road to gospel superstardom. He has become not only one of the great gospel singers of his generation, but he is also moving into television and other venues. During the month of March, Franklin went on tour with comedian Steve Harvey for a special comedy tour.
“We know these are hard times for a lot of people out there, with the economy, family life, even church life…it’s just hard,” Franklin said.
“We want people to leave the concert inspired, happy and charged—knowing that no matter what they are facing, hard times do not last forever and brighter days are indeed ahead,” he added.
Franklin recently received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Literary Work - Instructional for his New York Times bestseller, The Blueprint: A Plan for Living Above Life’s Storms.
Franklin was also recently honored at the 26th Annual Stellar Awards for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of Artists United for Haiti.
It was Haiti that helped to inspire his new album because of the fear that emanated from the island’s earthquake.