With so much currently going on in his career, even Kirk Franklin has taken on the philosophy of working smarter and not just harder. He is involved in a series of new ventures, executive producing BET’s Sunday Best, and preparing to host an all-star Gospel event for the BET Experience, June 30. Amalgamation caught up recently with the multi-Grammy and Stellar Awards winner to get the run-down.
How excited are you to host the upcoming BET Gospel event, Kirk Franklin & Friends?
It’s going to be really cool because you have all of these other events the same weekend showcasing and celebrating all of these different styles of music. Then on Sunday morning, we get a chance to showcase some great Gospel music. We will feature Sunday Best winners; Donnie McClurkin is going to be there; as will Karen Clark Sheard & Kiki Sheard, Tamela Mann, Marvin Sapp, and more at Club Nokia.
When will the new season of Sunday Best begin?
The new season premieres July 7, along with our returning judges: Donnie McClurkin, Yolonda Adams and CeCe Winans. We’ve got a great band, and some great talent. We have been working hard shooting the show in Atlanta. I expect a really good season.
Sunday Best is in its sixth season. Did you anticipate it going so well and for this long?
Not at all! I had no idea that it would connect with people the way it has. It’s just something that has organically grown. It’s still going strong and we’re fortunate to run into so much great talent through the audition process.
Last year you co-headlined the King’s Men Tour; do you have plans for another tour this year?
We are trying to develop content that is not as road driven; whether it’s different TV platforms, or the new venture I just started with RCA where I’m going to sign and develop younger artists. We also re-branded the Sunday Morning Brunches with the House of Blues. We are calling it the Kirk Franklin Gospel Brunch. I will be attending some of the HOB events, not all of them. But we will produce video trailers and content of myself being engaged with the people. We’ve worked really hard with the general manager of each HOB and the local talent to ensure the content is of the highest quality.
Talk about your recent venture with Sirius/XM called Kirk Franklin’s Praise.
I’m going to oversee the channel and develop new programming; some of it will be hosted by me. We’re going to have live events and concerts that we can stream; there will be unplugged performances, along with your favorite artists discussing the stories behind their songs. We will even feature some Gospel Hip-Hop programming, some fresh interviews—it’s about bringing the genre into the 21st century and letting people know the music is alive and well.
Talk about the acts you are developing, and when can we expect a new Kirk Franklin album?
The first group is The Walls, a young group of siblings: two brothers and two sisters out of Houston. They are phenomenal. We’re going to radio with their first single soon. My label also has the upcoming Sunday Best winner. I personally hope to have some new music coming in 2014. If you look at my pattern, I usually put out an album like every three years.
How do you have time to do so much?
I don’t know, but I am very thankful. I have a strong team working with me, and a wonderful family, too!
To purchase tickets: