Kirk Franklin has forged a successful career creating cutting-edge gospel music that hits his audiences where they live. He does so again on "The Fight of My Life," due Dec. 18 on Fo Yo Soul/Zomba Gos

Kirk Franklin has forged a successful career creating cutting-edge gospel music that hits his audiences where they live. He does so again on "The Fight of My Life," due Dec. 18 on Fo Yo Soul/Zomba Gospel.

Franklin says the album's title sums up the way a lot of people are feeling. "A lot of people are trying to stay above water. People are fighting for their peace of mind and to keep their homes from being foreclosed or fighting for their children," he says. "I want people to know they aren't in it by themselves."

"The Fight of My Life" is Franklin's second release on his own Fo Yo Soul imprint, which is marketed and distributed via a partnership with Zomba Gospel.

The artist has won five Grammy Awards and 13 Gospel Music Assn. Dove Awards, the most recent one was the 2007 urban recorded song of the year honor for "Imagine Me," from his 2005 album "Hero." That effort has shifted 909,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

For "The Fight of My Life," he enlisted guest turns from Rance Allen, Da' T.R.U.T.H., Donovan Owens and the Williams Brothers. Franklin also teamed with tobyMac for "I Am God," which they recorded in Nashville.

"When black people play rock music, it sounds like black rock," he says. "And what I wanted to do is have it sound very authentic. That's why I used Toby's band. We had it all [done] in a day."

Tour plans for 2008 are still coming together, but Franklin, who this year played in Italy, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Jamaica, is hoping to expand his international base.

"[Those] audiences are great because it's not something they get a lot of," he says of gospel music. "So when they do get it, they are very receptive and they are very excited."