Kirk Franklin Signs Exclusive Worldwide Deal With Zomba Label Group

Gospel Megastar Brings Fo Yo Soul Entertainment to ZLG

Biggest-selling Contemporary Gospel artist in Soundscan history set to begin his second groundbreaking decade, as Zomba expands dominance within Gospel music market


Multi-platinum award-winning recording artist Kirk Franklin -- the reigning force and biggest-selling artist in the Gospel movement -- has signed an exclusive worldwide contract with the Zomba Label Group (ZLG) that will bring his prodigious talent as well as his newly established record label Fo Yo Soul Entertainment to ZLG, it was announced today by Barry Weiss, President/CEO, Zomba Label Group. This new agreement with Fo Yo Soul is an important element of the Zomba Label Group's acquisition of the GospoCentric label. That announcement was made last week.

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Kirk Franklin is currently at work in the studio on his 7th album, which is expected to be released early next year. Future signings to the young label will be announced in the months ahead.

"After 12 years in this industry, I've learned so much," Franklin, says. "I want to take those lessons as well as my own experiences as a man who grew up with one foot in the church and one foot in the streets, and use that to connect with a generation that's not really listening to Gospel music anymore. I look forward to a healthy and successful relationship with Barry Weiss and the Zomba executive team."

"Kirk is one of the premier artists in the world. His connection with his audience is unparalleled. We welcome him and his Fo Yo Soul label to our Zomba Label Group," said Barry Weiss President/CEO ZLG.

Kirk Franklin has won a combined total of more than 9 Dove, 33 Stellar and 3 Grammy awards in the Gospel music field. At the same time, he has earned 6 consecutive RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums -- all of which have spent multiple weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums and Top Contemporary Christian charts, and all of which have crossed over to the Billboard 200 Albums and Top R&B/ Hip-Hop Albums charts. Among these are:

   * Kirk Franklin & The Family, his debut album (1993), the first Gospel
     album of the Soundscan era to cross over to the R&B and Pop charts and
     sell 1 million copies (RIAA platinum);

   * God's Property (1997), the all-star project that became the
     biggest-selling Gospel album ever at triple platinum, and the first
     Gospel album to hit #1 on the R&B chart;

   * The Nu Nation Project (1998), whose centerpiece "Lean On Me" (with
     guest vocals by R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, and U2's Bono) made history
     when it became the first Christian single nominated for the Song Of the
     Year Grammy Award; and

   * Rebirth Of Kirk Franklin (2002), which swept the Stellar Awards as CD
     Of the Year, with its hit single "Hosanna" taking Song Of the Year and
     Video Of the Year awards, as Franklin was named Artist Of the Year and
     Producer Of the Year.

Kirk Franklin's mission on behalf of Fo Yo Soul Entertainment -- "to creatively impact the world through the roster of artists and resources with Christ centered, innovative products and services" -- has been at the heart and soul of his artistry since he first emerged from the Fort Worth, Texas church environment more than a decade ago. Raised up in the church by his aunt, and trained on piano at age four, he was leading the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir by age 11. Franklin was a gifted youth, but his career was nearly short-circuited by violent teenage rebellion.

Jolted back into the fold of his church, Franklin began to envision a sound that fused traditional Gospel with the R&B, rock and pop that he heard. It was an eclectic mix that ran from the funk of Cameo, George Clinton and Rick James, to the rock of U2, INXS, and Depeche Mode, to name a few. Franklin's life took a dramatic turn when a demo of his local 17-voice ensemble reached GospoCentric founder Vicki Mack Lataillade, who signed Franklin immediately. Within six months, Kirk Franklin & The Family (also known as Why We Sing) had launched the label to platinum status.

As a musician, producer, songwriter, label executive and businessman, church leader and Urban role model, Kirk Franklin is a welcome addition to the ZLG roster.

About the Zomba Label Group (ZLG):

The Zomba Label Group (ZLG) is one of the industry's most dynamic record companies, and its associated labels are comprised of Jive, LaFace, So So Def, Verity, Volcano, Violator Records, GospoCentric and Fo Yo Soul. These labels are home to a varied group of top entertainers, including 311, Backstreet Boys, Byron Cage, Ciara, Clipse, Jermaine Dupri, Eamon, Kirk Franklin, Buddy Guy, Anthony Hamilton, Fred Hammond, J-Kwon, Joe, Syleena Johnson, Kurt Carr, John P. Kee, Kelis, R. Kelly, Donnie McClurkin, Mystikal, Nivea, *NSYNC, OutKast, Petey Pablo, Pink, Britney Spears, Three Days Grace, Justin Timberlake, Tool, Usher, Hezekiah Walker and Weird Al Yankovic.

* For further information please contact Sonia Muckle at 212.824.1370.

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SOURCE: Zomba Label Group

CONTACT: Sonia Muckle, +1-212-824-1370, for Zomba Label Group

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