Gospel music's songwriter, singer, label chief, and producer Kirk Franklin is #1 on Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs. Taken from his new album, his latest song "Wanna Be Happy?" ranks at No. 1 for a 23rd week. The single ties 2011's "I Smile" for his longest-ruling of four No. 1s.
Franklin's also #1 on Billboard's Gospel album chart. Containing one of Franklin's songs, compilation WOW Gospel 2016, the 19th edition of the annual series (begun in 1998), opens at No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums. The set bows with 7,000 sold in the week ending Feb. 4, according to Nielsen Music. Of the 19 albums, 17 (all consecutively since 2000) have hit the summit; 2006's brought the best starting sum: 43,000.
The WOW franchise is unique in that the artists featured are from the three major gospel labels (Motown Gospel, RCA Inspiration and Word-Curb). The new set includes, among others, Tasha Cobbs, Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. "There's a huge appetite for gospel music, so when you pair that with an album full of the genre's top hits, fans react," says RCA Inspiration vp national sales Mark Michel. "It's a win-win for all the labels involved."
Franklin's latest solo album is Losing My Religion. This is his twelfth studio album released by RCA Inspiration, a division of RCA Records alongside Fo Yo Soul Recordings released the album on November 13, 2015. Here's our of the album: "It's easy to misinterpret the titular of Kirk Franklin's new album "Losing My Religion." For starters, Franklin is not abandoning his Christian roots. Neither is he eskewing his references to God and faith on this album. In fact, there's nothing on this new record that suggest any crossover hints. This is a distinctively Gospel records with no shade of selling out for the secular market. Moreover, the title cut "Losing My Religion" is not a cover of REM's 90s hit song of the same name. Rather, the title cut "Losing My Religion" is a spoken song which functions more like a sermon where for 3:21 minutes Franklin berates Evangelical Christians in the West for not living out the talk we often profess. Giving a copious litany of where we as a church have not lived to our Lord's calling (including an ode to how the church should minister to homosexuals), this is a much-needed kick in the butt for those who are serious of Christ."