Kirk Franklin was adopted as a child by a teenage mother and never met his biological father. Gertrude, his great-aunt, reared him and saw early on that he has extraordinary musical abilities. When Franklin was seven years old, his knack for church singing led to a record deal. With members of the DFW Mass Choir, Franklin established the Family, a singing ensemble.
He studied music with Jewell Kelly and the Singing Chaparrals at Oscar Dean Wyatt High School. He also co-founded The Humble Hearts, a gospel group that recorded one of Franklin’s compositions and caught the notice of gospel music veteran Milton Biggham, the Georgia Mass Choir’s musical director. Biggham was so impressed that he asked him to conduct the DFW Mass Choir in a recording of Franklin’s “Every Day with Jesus.” As a result, Biggham hired Franklin, who was only 20 years old at the time, to conduct the choir during the 1990 Gospel Music Workshop of America Convention.