Kirk Dewayne Franklin (born January 26, 1970) is an American gospel musician, choir director, and author. 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.
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Franklin was raised by his aunt, Gertrude, having been 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 Baptist Church adult choir at the age of twelve.
Despite his strict religious upbringing, Franklin rebelled in his teenage years, and in an attempt to keep him out of trouble, his grandmother arranged an audition for him at a professional youth conservatory associated with a local university. He was accepted and, while his life seemed to be on track for a while, the announcement of a girlfriend’s pregnancy and his eventual expulsion from school for behavioral problems proved otherwise.