A celebrated limb on a royal Gospel family tree that includes her grandmother Mattie Moss Clark and the legendary Clark Sisters, Grammy-nominated songstress Kierra Sheard has been charged with carrying the legacy of the dynasty into the future by her lonesome. At only 32-years-young, her answer to the call – courtesy of Urban-tinged Gospel-tunes like ‘You Don’t Know’, ‘Why Me’, ‘Indescribable,’ and more – has been to carve her own path of hit-filled ministry.
With a new project on the horizon featuring production from Urban hitmakers Missy Elliott, Harmony Samuels, and more, Sheard – despite spending over half her life in the spotlight – tells That Grape Juice she’s only just begun making her impact.
Dishing on her highly anticipated new album and more, the globally recognized Gospel star talked about her role on the forthcoming Clark Sisters biopic on Lifetime, the McDonald’s ‘Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour,’ and so much more.
Read our exclusive sit down with the diva inside:
TGJ: Let’s talk first about the McDonald’s annual celebration. Having been a big part of Black music month for some time now, what inspired you to be a part of this again?
KS: It’s a celebration of who we are as people [of color]. It’s about how strong and beautiful we are and the fact it’s called “we are golden” speaks volumes about the era we are in as it relates to bringing awareness about self-acceptance.
I’m proud to be part of such a movement.
TGJ: What makes this event a “must-see” for Gospel lovers?
KS: I’ve done this event multiple times as a performer, but even when I’m not performing I still make it when I can because it’s just such an unforgettable experience because you get to see so many Gospel greats matched with some of the newcomers.
You’re getting inspired, you’re connecting with other Gospel lovers, and you’re having a Jesus experience.
TGJ: One of the biggest parts of this event is the talent showcase that puts the spotlight on undiscovered hopefuls. As a former judge on BET’s ‘Sunday Best,’ what advice would you give them?
KS: Sing a song a lot of people know. Don’t be too busy with a lot of vocal acrobatics. Pace yourself and don’t give your all at the beginning of the song.
We look for authenticity in artists. Make sure your heart is in the right place and come with power so you can touch listeners.
TGJ: Speaking of BET, what happened to season 2 of your reality show, ‘The Sheards’? It was announced (as we reported here) and then we heard nothing else about it.
KS: We filmed it, but we didn’t put it out. There were changes in the network and, truthfully, my dad wasn’t really all that fond of it.
TGJ: Would you ever do reality TV again?
KS: Yes, but I would have to have creative control. I don’t want to put things on TV that destroy professional and personal relationships in its aftermath. Plus, I’m not trying to create memories that I don’t want my unborn children to have access to.
TGJ: I understand that. Things are filmed one way then edited another to create a story line. We remember some of the negative comments your family received as a result of the show. How did you deal with that pressure?
KS: It didn’t really affect me. I’ve been in the industry a while now, so I’ve learned to focus on the positive. I know what I signed up for by being in the public eye.
TGJ: Since we’re on the subject of TV, we’re super excited about the upcoming Clark Sisters biopic on Lifetime (click here to read more). As this was your first major acting role, what would you say were some of the challenges or surprises?
KS: I originally wanted to play my aunt Denise [Bradford], but I was given my mom’s role. I’m glad things turned out that way. Seeing things through her eyes was amazing and even brought me to tears at times. I’ve gotten light-headed trying to sing like her in the film (laughs). She’s lived the life she sings about.
In my heart, I feel like I performed for my mom – not just for the people. I can’t wait for you all to see it (click here to read more).
TGJ: Do we have a premiere date yet?
KS: No, but I’m sure an announcement is coming soon.
TGJ: Coming away from the experience, do you have the acting bug? Will we see more from you in that regard?
KS: Yes, but I understand now why people don’t like the pressure that comes with it. You give every part of yourself into these roles and it can be overwhelming. So, if I do continue I want to be very selective with the roles I choose.
It could be a different way for me to be a light in the world.
TGJ: Wrapping it up, we know you have the tour and the movie, but what else can we expect from you before the year’s end?
KS: I’m finishing up my new album. I have a new single coming with Missy Elliott (click here to listen), Harmony Samuels is working on the new project, and – of course – my brother J. Drew Sheard also produced some tracks. I can’t wait for you guys to hear it.
Ahead of the arrival of Kierra’s forthcoming self-titled project (due September 13), click here to see when you can catch her on the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration tour.