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Falling To Higher Level Kirk Franklin Believes Tumble From Stage Was Meant To Be

Dave Ferman Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Just over a month after a fall from a concert stage in Memphis, Tenn., sent him to intensive care for 10 days, gospel superstar Kirk Franklin was back to work, grateful to be alive … and thankful for the accident.

“It was meant for a purpose; this had to happen to get me ready for the next level,” Franklin said recently from his Arlington home. “It’s made me grow up and fall so in love with God. I’ve always loved him, but now I’m ‘in’ love with him, you know? All I can say is, get ready for the next level.”

Franklin, the first gospel performer ever to sell a million copies of a debut album, said he was back in the recording studio and planning to resume his concert tour after Christmas.

On Nov. 1, the 26-year-old performer fell into the orchestra pit at a Memphis auditorium. He landed on his head and spent the next 10 days in intensive care. Rumors circulated about his condition.

Franklin said he needs no physical therapy and had seen a doctor only once since returning to Texas.

“I have brain contusions, bruises on my brain, but (the doctors) said they would heal in time,” he said. “And I was out of there. I do no therapy, nothing. I have no scars, no broken bones, nothing. I feel real good.”

Franklin said he remembers nothing about the fall.

“The last thing I remember is waking up in Kansas City, where we had a show the night before, and getting on the plane; that’s it,” he said. “Then I remember hanging out in the hospital a couple days and having headaches and having everybody tell me about what happened.”

He also does not remember hospital visits by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and rhythm and blues superstar R. Kelly.

While in the hospital, Franklin said he walked around at night “while everyone else was asleep, just goofing around,” and began to write a couple of songs the last few days he was there.

“I wrote songs about my new baby,” said Franklin, explaining that his wife, Tammy, is 4-1/2 months pregnant. “I was trying to show everybody I was OK.”

Raised in Fort Worth, Franklin began performing as a youngster; at 11, he was appointed minister of music at Mount Rose Baptist Church.

After working with the DFW Mass Choir, he formed the gospel group the Family. The group’s eponymous debut album is still in the top five of the national gospel charts more than three years after its release.

Franklin’s ability to communicate with young people by grafting traditional messages onto modern, catchy music has made him the most successful “crossover” gospel artist of the 1990s.

Family songs such as “Silver and Gold” and “Melodies From Heaven” are enormously popular throughout the country.

The Franklin song “Joy” is on the soundtrack to the film “The Preacher’s Wife,” starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington.

“Whatcha Lookin’ 4” has sold more than 500,000 copies.

xxxx RECORDS IN TOP 10 On Billboard’s gospel album chart for sales during 1996, Kirk Franklin and the Family put three records in the Top 10. Those albums are: 1.”Whatcha Lookin’ 4” 2.”Kirk Franklin and the Family” 6.”Kirk Franklin and the Family Christmas”

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