Gospel music singer Kirk Franklin and collective Maverick City Music stopped by our Twitch channel to talk about their new album Kingdom Book One — and what it was like recording it in a Miami prison.
The experience was especially personal for Maverick City Music co-founder Tony Brown, who would visit his mother behind bars in Staten Island as a kid. “One of my first memories of being in New York was visiting my mother when I was nine years old,” Brown said. “Me and the guys [in Maverick] have been impacted by mass incarceration and the issues concerning that for a long time, so this has been an important project for us.”
It’s also an important project for Franklin. When he and Brown went to the Everglades Correctional Institution to record Kingdom, they were serenaded by inmates singing Franklin’s music as they walked past cells from the chapel to the prison yard. “Walking past these brothers who were singing my songs on the way to the performance was really, really humbling,” he explained. “To hear the hope and freedom in their voices even though they were in situations that are extremely challenging … that’s why we do what we do, and that’s what the music is for.”
Maverick City co-founder Jonathan Jay added that they strive to create an atmosphere that reminds people that they aren’t alone. “For us, creating music and spaces where people can bring their full self and be celebrated is really special,” he said.
1,300 inmates at the prison contributed to Kingdom. Maverick City Music and Franklin performed several of those songs live in the Rolling Stone studio. Watch the full performance below.
As Maverick City embark on a tour, they said fans can expect a safe and inclusive space when attending their shows. “It’s a room full of people that look nothing like the next person, and we get to hear all of this music and these voices that come together,” lead singer Naomi Raine said. “It’s just a beautiful sound. There’s a bunch of energy, there’s dancing, there’s joy, there’s freedom, there’s deliverance, there’s salvation, there’s hope.”
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