Kirk Franklin’s New Album, ‘Father’s Day’ Might Be His Most Personal Project Ever

The Grammy Award-winning gospel great details the reasons why while recently hosting a free performance and listening session in Atlanta.

Grammy Award-winning gospel artist and producer Kirk Franklin hosted a free, pop-up live performance and listening party this week (Oct. 9) at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in metro Atlanta, just days after releasing his newly anticipated studio album, “Father’s Day.” 

Hundreds of people came out to listen to new music from this latest project featuring songs like “Somebody’s Son,” Needs,” and “Welcome Home,” but they were also lucky enough to hear Franklin speak about more personal topics like his life growing up without a father and how that has impacted him as an adult.

The 53-year-old shared with the audience that he met his birth father only a few months ago while he was in the midst of producing “Father’s Day.” Last month, he released a mini documentary, “Father’s Day: A Kirk Franklin Story,” on YouTube detailing the events that led to meeting his birth father for the first time as well as other personal traumas he has faced as a child.

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“The inspiration behind this album undoubtedly came from me being in the middle of a personal crisis and experiencing something that shook the core of who I was and who I am as an individual,” Franklin told “I discovered that after 53 years, the man who I thought was my father was not and that was happening at the same time as [when I was] in the middle of creating this new album. They were both happening simultaneously.”

Franklin further explained that for him, this felt like a time when art imitates life. In order to deal with meeting this man for the first time and finishing the production of his new album, he had to use the only tool he had and that was creativity. Additionally, Franklin noted that during this “tumultuous moment” in his personal life, he also made the decision to stay off of social media and ignore anything written or said about the album.

“I have intentionally not looked at social media and told my team not to say anything to me about reviews because it was such a sensitive album and sensitive moment for me. To try to pivot back into the commercialization of it or the human response to people’s creative critiques, I just did not want to contaminate the moment,” Franklin said. “I haven’t looked at charts, reviews, or anything. I’m really trying to step back and let it be.”

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Franklin has conquered the charts as one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, winning 19 Grammy awards and countless others. He is one of the few lauded for his ability to contemporize the genre without losing his Christian integrity. Now, he’s taking on a different challenge with the second season of BET+’s hit drama series, “Kingdom Business,” on the horizon (returning on November 2). Franklin serves as the show's co-executive producer, executive music director, and executive music producer, and from time to time, you’ll also see him in front of the camera playing Deacon D’Wayne.

“I am happy to be a part of this incredible show. I love curating new songs, scenes, and moments, and that just really feels exciting,” said Franklin, who was also involved with the creation of the “Kingdom Business” soundtrack. “I’m also one of the actors in the show. I love the project and I think it’s really fresh.”

These days, Franklin is on the road promoting “Father’s Day” (which marks his 13th studio album), and though excited about this new project, he’s still trying to process everything concerning his biological father. His emotions are still raw, even after the two met. But with time comes healing and with healing will inevitably come further inspiration. He needs grace while he works his way out of the current fog, but he believes this album will be the road map to finding the peace of mind needed to move on.

Kirk Franklin’s "Reunion Tour" featuring Israel Houghton, The Clark Sisters, David & Tamela Mann, Tye Tribbett, New Breed, The Family, and God's Property, is officially underway nationwide, with several shows still remaining in 2023.

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