It’s 8:30 in the morning. Not an ideal time for an interview. But if you’re going to catch gospel superstar Kirk Franklin, you have to squeeze into whatever scheduling window you can. With the 49-year-old helming Kirk Franklin’s Praise channel on SiriusXM, organizing the Exodus Music & Arts Festival in his home city of Dallas and hosting the hit BET gospel competition series Sunday Best, it’s a miracle that we were able to get on the calendar at all.
The 14-time Grammy winner is also on tour with his 13th album, Long Live Love. The night before our early-AM chat, Franklin was in Fort Lauderdale for a show. The evening after our interview, he performed in Atlanta. After that, there were nearly 20 more U.S. cities waiting to rejoice to Franklin’s unique blend of gospel, R&B and hip-hop sounds.
Road life is nothing new for Franklin, of course. He’s been performing for more than 25 years. In the following chat, Franklin explains how he’s learned to care for himself with a grueling schedule, names his favorite tour city and reveals the summer blockbuster he enjoyed for its storytelling.
Where do you find the energy to do all that you do?
It’s my love for God and my love for people. It’s really both.
You’ve been doing music professionally since the early ’90s. To the naked eye, you still look the same. How have you stayed in such great physical shape?
I’m very committed to a diet and very committed to exercise. I’m borderline vegan. I’m committed to doing cardio and lifting. I’ve been doing it for many years.
We know the record industry, with regards to sales and streaming, has changed over the years. But how has touring evolved over the years?
There’s really not much that has changed. You really just continue to go and try to engage people. If anything, there are just a lot of more tours. There are many more people touring. I’m grateful to have an opportunity to be a part.
I know you like every city on the tour calendar, but are there any special cities that you circle and really look forward to visiting?
I really love New York. I just love the aesthetics and the spirit of New York. I’ve just always loved the energy of it. When you’re flying into New York and you look out of the window, it’s like you’re flying into another planet. I’ve never stopped being amazed at it.
What has the reception been like for your new album?
I’ve been very grateful. By God’s grace it’s been connecting. I’m just very thankful for that.
The news was just announced that there’s a movie based on your life in the works. When did that project come about?
It’s been in the works for about 15 years. I’m just real excited about the opportunity. Very humbled and thankful. It’ll be a very real and transparent movie. It won’t be a cute, Christian movie. It’ll be a very honest and very vulnerable movie that I hope people who have fallen, feel abandoned and rejected feel like there’s some hope.
Why is Sunday Best such a hit with BET viewers?
I think it just has the ingredients of great programming, great TV. For people who love that [gospel] genre, there’s just nothing else to compete with it. For people that like competition shows, it speaks to that ingredient as well. It’s feeding a very hungry audience that has wanted something like this for a while. That’s what makes it very special.
In just these few minutes that we’ve been talking, we’ve discussed a TV show, a movie, an album and other things. How do you relax with so much going on?
Movies. I can go to a movie theater and sit there all day. I love movies. They intrigue my brain and they relax me. I am a movie buff.
What are a few recent movies that you’ve really enjoyed?
I saw the last Avengers movie. I loved the latest [Netflix] documentary, The Black Godfather, about Clarence Avant. I’m getting ready to get into the Ava DuVernay miniseries When They See Us about the Central Park Five.
I wouldn’t have ever connected you with Avengers: Endgame. Are you a comic book person?
No. I’m just really into storytelling. The genre doesn’t matter to me. Just as long as it’s good storytelling.