7up w/ Kierra Sheard
The Gospel Guru caught up with the Princess of Gospel, Kierra Sheard for a candid 7up session. She is the daughter of Gospel icon Karen Clark Sheard and the granddaughter of the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. We first heard Kierra Sheard on her mother’s solo debut album “Finally Karen” back in 1997 on the Stellar award winning song “Will of God.” In the following years, Kierra honed and matured her skills as a performer and vocalist, and now has 4 LP’s under her belt.
The vocal phenom’s most recent release “Free” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Album chart. Sheard showcased a total different aspect of artistry on “Free” than we’re accustomed to hearing from her. I think it’s safe to say that she’s created her own “brand” of Praise & Worship. Now sit back, relax, and get a bit of 7up with Kierra Sheard.
- Describe Kierra Sheard in three words. Saved, dedicated, and fun.
- What has the response been like from your latest release “Free?” It’s been a great response. It’s been exciting to see/hear how the people have been responding to the release of the album. People are still responding to it like we released it yesterday. It’s been a blessing….it’s been a year now since we did the live recording and with people responding like it was released just yesterday means so much. A lot of people did repsond kinda weird with me going a different route with the album, but it’s been really exciting.
- How was it working with your younger brother JDS, and taking direction from him as a producer? It’s was really great…it was exceptional. A lot of people think that people who are younger than you can’t be an inspiration to you. My brother inspired me, and he pulled out a side of creativity out of me that no one else has. When it came to my skill of songwriting I didn’t believe in myself, but we prayed and consecrated together and God gave us songs. Anytime I went to sing a song to him he would immediately give me what I was looking for musically. It was a lot of fun, and I was overjoyed to see how we grew together…not just spiritually and naturally but even when it comes to the music side of it.It actually brought us closer together.
- Some people weren’t too happy with the musical direction you went with “Free,” what do you have to say to those people? I’m not gonna make everybody happy, when you’re doing your work, ministry, career..etc it’s something you have to enjoy. We get mad at waiters or waitresses when they come serve us with bad attitudes, in order for me to serve God’s people I have to make sure it’s something I enjoy, and lining up with God’s will. But of course it has to be what people like, but it’s gonna be some people that don’t like but it may be more people who love it. So am I gonna go with the 410 or 10?.. Of course i’ll go with the majority, but at the same time lining up with God’s will. I’ll still make sure I give that urban side, that’s what a lot of people want from me..that urban contemporary sound. So that’s why we did half and half, we did live and studio. Even in the live portion you had your urban contemporary songs, we didn’t just go full blown praise and worship..it was a bit for everybody. The other thing is believe it or not, I’m a Gospel artist and it’s hard for me to sing urban contemporary songs for a Sunday morning service. I have to be versatile and take the Gospel all places, with this record I’m able to take it to the church and allow whoever the listener is to listen to it in the car.
- You hold a prominent position at your family owned record label, how is it handling the business side of things? It’s really exciting, it challenges me to not just be able to sing but to know the business that I’m in. That’s what I love about the label, outside of that it challenges me to be creative as it pertains to the image side of an artist. At the same time by me being an artist and this being my company I can’t worry about if someone goes far past me. It all keeps me humble. It also challenges me to want the best for whoever the artist is, not just because their a good person but because I have to work to put you on top because that’s what’s gonna bring us money. It’s a great thing, every aspect of it. It gives me more creative control within my music, packaging..etc. My family and I were already close, but it causes us to respect each other on a different level.
- With your family being immensely talented is there pressure to up hold such a great legacy? It’s fun, but it can be some pressure because you come from a great group of women, and then my grandmother who is no longer with us. They’ve been in the game for 40 or 50 year, and i’ve only been in the game for 10 years that’s not even close to the 40 yet. And they’re still going and always thinking of new ways… that’s what love about my family, once you’ve been at it for so many years you’ll kinda be like ok I Got this thing. But when I see my mom and my aunts they’re always reminding themselves that there are new ways to go about things. They are so humble. I look at everything (not everything) as a challenge to make me better, so I would say there’s pressure, but I wouldn’t say there’s pressure.
- What can we expect from Kierra and KaRew records this year? Well, we just signed Jonathan Nelson to our label. So now we have myself, Jonathan Nelson, Karen Clark Sheard, and we may be signing someone else really soon. I can’t really let that out yet..lol. We’re looking forward to that, we’re always looking for good stuff. I can’t really say to much just yet. But I’m ready to work, you’ll have to something from me very soon. I gotta keep it fresh you guys are loving the new music, and I don’t want that to die down.