Written by Y-Lii
With Photography By Mel B. Elder Jr.
Blossoming before our very eyes, Kierra Sheard continues to break barriers beyond those naturally expected of a gospel recording artist. From the tender age of nine, Sheard began this journey introduced to the world by her mother Karen Clark-Sheard during the live recording of Finally Karen, a fourteen track grammy-nominated gospel album that was critically acclaimed, yet ahead of its time, even for the nineties. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. It was early on a Sunday morning when my mother had summoned me upstairs while watching Video Gospel on BET. I ran to her call only to see Kierra standing next to her mother confidently belting out the second verse of, “The Will Of God” which was later released as the final track on Karen Clark-Sheard’s debut album. At the age of nine, never before had I seen or heard of the Clark legacy, but that was the day I became an instant fan.
Now twenty-two years after her debut performance, Sheard has released her seventh album, self-titled KIERRA. Partially recorded live in September of 2019, the contemporary gospel record appeared to be a nod to her mother’s 1997 debut album, mirroring its likeness by combining musical elements beyond those known of the traditional gospel genre. Born into gospel music royalty with roots that reach back three generations, the bar has been inevitably set high for the Detroit native, since birth. Throughout the years, the “It Keeps Happening” songstress has gone above and beyond to maintain a prominent presence in movies, merchandise, and media.
Just last week KIERRA was released via Karew Records & Entertainment LLC, an entertainment company comprised of young and innovative millennials influencing the culture of music, film, fashion, and more. Debuting at #3 on the iTunes Charts, KIERRA unapologetically breaks the mold, delivering a sound more than capable of reaching not only the ears of believers in the Christian faith but of all people. Now if you want my two cents, I’m stuck somewhere between naming “Better” and “Human” as my favorite tracks on the album. Infused with 90’s R&B, Pop, Trap, Jazz, and Gospel, Sheard has sonically pushed the envelope by bringing forth a power-packed project that accolades can not deny, but don’t just take my word for it, preview the album on Spotify below!
During the live recording of KIERRA held at her father’s church, Greater Emannuel Institutional C.O.G.I.C, Sheard honored her mother’s legacy by wearing the exact same vintage sequined jacket that was worn by Karen Clark Sheard during the first half of the live recording for Finally Karen. This moment held such symbolic relevance, as she had planned to self-title the album just as her mother did twenty-two years ago. Kierra Sheard was also joined on stage by gospel artists, Leandria Johnson, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, and Todd Dulaney, all of which are featured on the fifteen-track album. The most precious moment of all, was when she opened her stage to her nephew Jacob Sheard to sing “So Into You” the final track of the album. This was very reminiscent of the moment when her own mother introduced her to the world many years ago, bringing the Sheard legacy full circle.
In the midst of working on her seventh album, Kierra Sheard was also preparing for something “BIG BIG BIG”. Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Missy Elliott teamed up with The Lifetime Movie Network to produce a televised biopic honoring the lives and legacy of The Legendary Clark Sisters. Sheard, who initially wanted to audition for the role of her aunt “Denise Clark” was selected to play the role of her mother “Karen Clark” instead. Although this may have been the first time audiences witnessed Sheard as an actress, she is no stranger to the film industry. In 2010 Kierra appeared in both The Preachers Kid and Blessed and Cursed, neither of which could compare to the stunning performance she gave as a supporting actress in The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel. With great success since it’s premiere and repeat air dates, the biopic has gained a total of well over 12 million viewers. Critics have even considered this to the best biopic of all time on The Lifetime Movie Network.
Lights! Camera! Fashion?! Yes, Kierra Sheard has continued to enlarge her territory by tapping into the fashion design industry thus creating Eleven60, a collection that specializes in chic attire for curvy women!
” Eleven60 honors the bold and classy nature of Kierra’s inspiration, her mother and Christian legend Karen Clark Sheard. Eleven60 is the month and year that Clark-Sheard was born. Our designer has crisscrossed the globe and absorbed the fashion trends of New York City, London, Paris, Tokyo, and Seoul. Eleven60 is poised to take curvy fashion to an unparalleled level.”
“Kierra’s unique experience as a curvy fashionista has allowed her to design red carpet, a night out, and boardroom-ready apparel that will compliment every “body.” Sheard has partnered with Korean manufacturer, Kim So- Young, to offer the full-figured women quality garments.”About The Brand – Eleven60
Like never before, social media is now playing a massive part in how entertainers connect with their audience and fans all over the world. “Katching Kierra”, one of the many video blog series that Kierra Sheard has to offer on her youtube channel, gives viewers more of an exclusive look inside the life of the gospel legend on the rise. Since the recent pandemic COVID-19, the singer has taken to her Youtube platform, creating new segments “Quarantine & Grill” and “Quaratining with Kierra”, both of which engage her audience with tips on cooking and spiritual balance during this difficult time. Take a look below!
One thing I can say for sure, Kierra Sheard has been the perfect example of Luke 14:23, a commanding order from God to “go out into the world” and compel men to come into the fold. Her unique style of ministry has propelled her onto a worldwide platform, that makes religion and a relationship with God relatable.