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Losing My Religion: Kirk Franklin returns with chart-topping hits

JESSICA NGBOR | 11/30/2015, 2:56 p.m.
The seven-time Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin is back after his five-year hiatus. His 11th studio album entitled Losing My Religion ...
Kirk Franklin performs his new hit single, Wanna Be Happy? The Dallas Examiner Screenshot

The Dallas Examiner

The seven-time Grammy Award-winner Kirk Franklin is back after his five-year hiatus. His 11th studio album entitled Losing My Religion hit stores on Nov. 13.

“What I’m saying is, when I’m losing my religion, I’m losing the weight of trying to fulfill what Christ has already fulfilled for me and what oppresses people,” Kirk explained.

Many gathered at the Angelika Film Center on Nov. 8 in anticipation of the private listening event for the album. Among the guests that attended were Bishop T.D. Jakes and his wife Sarita Jakes, Dr. Tony Evans and his wife Lois Evans, singers Anthony Evans and Myron Butler, and members from the choir.

The event began around 8 p.m. as Tammy Franklin, Kirk’s wife, thanked everyone for coming and urged everyone to get up and praise God in any way the music inspired. The theater was full of high energy and worship throughout the night.

Erica Campbell, the other half of the Grammy Award-winning gospel duo Mary Mary, hosted the listening party, which was held as a Q&A forum with Kirk.

Kirk has kept himself busy with other ventures during his hiatus, including hosting and producing BET’s Sunday Best. But he explained that he waited five years before releasing this album out of the fear of failing.

“When you have a big song like I Smile, you can become very intimidated to try again,” he said.

I Smile was No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart in 2011. It was his top-selling single for 40 weeks and probably his most downloaded song to date. The album, Hello Fear, was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Albums chart after debuting that year in March – that is not unusual according to Billboard, which reported Kirk always puts out an album that peaks at the No. 1 spot.

But if he was worried about doing it again, the gospel artist had nothing to worry about. His single from the album, Wanna Be Happy?, is No.1 on Billboard’s Hot Gospel Songs chart. It debuted at No. 1 and has been on the chart for 11 weeks. It also tops the charts for gospel airplay and gospel digital songs, according to the Billboard.

The song encourages listeners to stop concentrating on any negative feelings that might be weighing them down and give Jesus control of their lives … if they want to be happy. He uses an upbeat tempo that exudes happiness and freedom.

The Losing My Religion album fuses Christian hip-hop with contemporary gospel and features popular gospel artist Tamela Mann, Lalah Hathaway, Kim Burrell, Sarah Reeves and Tasha Cobbs.

After an intro about issues concerning America, the album includes other popular songs, such as 123 Victory, Over, When, and My World Needs You.

After two songs played from the album that evening, he revealed his thought process for each track. He stated that he uses his lyrics to help himself heal. He also likes to make sure his music touches on social issues that are affecting the world.

His music is produced through Fo Yo Soul Recordings, a joint venture established in 2013 between him and RCA Records. The label is locally based and showcases talented emerging artists in gospel music.

Kirk also divulged a big announcement. He is in the processes of building a recording studio in honor of his long-time friend and manger, Jessie Hurst, named Uncle Jessie’s Kitchen. The studio will be located in Arlington and is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2016.

Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.