Kirk Franklin The man has produced a discography rewarded with every industry award imaginable, Gold and Platinum plaques and nearly two-dozen chart topping singles on Gospel and mainstream radio. Tagged as a 21st century Gospel genius thanks to his interesting and massively appealing mix of genres, Franklin continues to record his personal life fights on Hello Fear (verity) - musically confronting elements of worry, depression and anxiety with God’s promises of provision and peace. CCM: hello Fear. What’s behind the title? kirk Franklin: God gave me this theme over a year ago. It’s about maintaining a position of courage right in the face of fear. On some level we all deal with issues of fear, it’s apart of the human condition. But I’m so encouraged with the body of music on this album because over and over again the music speaks to hope, encouragement and faith! CCM: How does the first single, “I Smile,” an upbeat urban track fit into that theme? kirk: This track is all about being intentional about our faith and determining to have an attitude of joy consistently. As Christians our compass is not set by what happens externally: if something good happens, then I’m happy. When something bad happens then I’m unhappy. The song speaks to a deeper level of contentment and gratitude. CCM: kirk Franklin records are acclaimed for tight beats and innovative production. What’s your studio M.o.? kirk: I routinely get an idea about a song in my normal life routine but I don’t subscribe to an M.O. I do what is organic to me but I don’t have a music formula. People may be surprised, when I’m not working on an album I shut down the music piece and I’m with my family. CCM: This spring you hit the road with the “Steve Harvey and Kirk Franklin Gospel Comedy Tour.” a comedy tour for kirk Franklin? kirk: Steve and I have been good friends for over fifteen years. we are excited to bring Jesus and jokes to our friends and fans. CCM: alright, we gotta’ ask. as host for BeT’s sunday Best, what piece of advice would you offer an up-and-coming Gospel artist? kirk: you do not go into Gospel/Christian music to be a star. God is the only superstar here. This genre is so not like all of the other genres. We have a higher calling and mission. For the fourth season, I’m grateful to serve in this role in what I believe is the greatest genre that has the best singers hands down. —Andrew Greer Check out a special lyric video of the new smash single, “I Smile” on Kirk’s VEVO channel now! CCM 45