Gospel music legend Karen Clark Sheard is renowned throughout the music industry for her signature musical style, her one-of-a-kind multi-octave vocal range and her inspirational messages. A long-time favorite with gospel music lovers, the multiple GRAMMY®, Stellar and GMA Dove Award-winner also is wowing audiences in contemporary music venues, and remains a legendary influence on a diverse range of female artists from Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, to Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Missy Elliott. Clark Sheard continues her extraordinary musical journey with the release of her highly anticipated sixth solo album, Destined to Win. The CD marks a new direction for the artist, aimed at both feeding the faithful and expanding the reach of her music and message of hope and encouragement to further connect with new and broader audiences beyond the gospel music and church communities. "I want this album to be something different," says Clark Sheard. "I want people to hear it and be impacted and encouraged by the message that God has given me. I want the album to be a driving force to move people to where they need to be. I hope they experience a life changing moment as they listen."
Produced by Donald Lawrence, an award-winning singer, composer, producer and long-time collaborator and advisor for Clark Sheard, Destined to Win features an impressive mix of musical styles that range from praise and worship to contemporary, urban and traditional gospel. Each song showcases a different aspect of Clark Sheard's stunning musical talent, which has garnered her international acclaim as a gospel superstar and inspired a generation of artists of various genres. The album was recorded live at an electrifying concert at the House of Hope in Chicago, IL, before an audience of five thousand enthusiastic fans. "I love the experience of recording live and the connection that we have with the audience," says Clark Sheard. "I feel them, they feel me and we are all on one accord. I believe that people who listen to the album will feel like they are in the session."
One of the emotional highlights of the live recording event was the performance of Andraé Crouch's hit song, "Where Jesus Is." Clark Sheard performed a hauntingly beautiful version of the song, and was joined by The Clark Sisters and her daughter, Kierra. "That was a Clark Sister moment," says Clark Sheard. "My sisters didn't know we were going to ask them to sing, but when Donald Lawrence called them up, the audience went crazy and we got up there and sang it and made it our own. When Kierra sang that song that night, she took it to another level."
Other album highlights include the critically acclaimed, Grammy®-nominated lead single "Sunday AM," an R&B style ballad with an encouraging message of spiritual restoration, and the second single, "My Words Have Power," an upbeat song with an uplifting message and urban gospel style, featuring Donald Lawrence & the Co., and multi-platinum, Grammy® award winning recording artist, Faith Evans on "The Who Doesn't Matter." "My God Is Big," is a personal favorite of Clark Sheard's. Produced by her son, J. Drew Sheard II, she describes it as a "happy and upbeat," song that "turns into a celebration when we sing it at our church." She also pays tribute to Richard Smallwood, one of her favorite gospel artists, with a stunning and emotional rendition of his classic song, "The Resurrection." The title song, "Destined to Win," is a powerful song of hope and encouragement, a message that permeates the CD.
Clark Sheard believes this album is a reflection of both her musical and spiritual journey. "God took me through something and He empowered me with a word deep down," she says. "A lot of the words that God gave me and the messages that I preach are coming through the songs on the album."
A vocalist, songwriter, entrepreneur, wife and mother, Clark Sheard is a part of a musical dynasty -- daughter of pioneering gospel choir director and gospel music icon Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, a member of the legendary gospel group, The Clark Sisters, and mother of gospel superstar Kierra Sheard, and multitalented musician and producer J Drew Sheard II. She also is a partner in ministry with her husband, Bishop J. Drew Sheard, Pastor of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, MI, where she serves as First Lady. In addition, they are partners in their family-owned label, Karew Records, which they established in 2009. The label's music is distributed by Motown Gospel and Entertainment One Music. Karew's first release was Clark Sheard's All in One (2010), her GRAMMY-nominated urban-style gospel CD which also garnered her a Stellar Award win for Best Female Vocalist, followed by The Clark Sisters' Family Christmas (2010) and Kierra Sheard's fourth and fifth albums, Free (2011) and Graceland (2014). The family was also the subject of BET's docu-drama series, The Sheards, which premiered on the network on April 7, 2013.
Music has always been a part of Clark Sheard's family life. Mattie Moss Clark formed her five daughters into the Clark Sisters when Karen was barely a teenager. In 1973, they recorded their first album, Jesus Has A Lot to Give. In 1983, their signature song, "You Brought the Sunshine," from the album of the same name, became a smash hit--as popular on dance floors as in churches. Over the years, the sisters have recorded 20 albums, including GMA Dove Award-winner and GRAMMY® Award-nominated Heart and Soul (1987) and GRAMMY® Award-nominated Conqueror (1988) and Sincerely (1983), while crafting enduring gospel anthems such as "Endow Me," "Pray for the USA," "Name It Claim It" and "Is My Living in Vain?"
In 1997, Clark Sheard launched a solo career with Finally Karen on Island/Def Jam. An instant hit, it sold nearly half a million copies, garnered four Stellar Awards (Female Vocalist of the Year, Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year, Music Video of the Year, and Best Children's Performance for "Will of God, featuring daughter Kierra Sheard), a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for Best Female Vocalist, and a GRAMMY® nomination. Clark Sheard continued her solo career with other hit CDs, including 2nd Chance (Elektra, 2002), The Heavens Are Telling (Elektra, 2003), the GMA Dove Award winner, It's Not Over (Word Records, 2006) and her award-winning Karew Records release All in One (2010).
A decade later, she reunited with her sisters for their #1 comeback CD, Live...One Last Time (EMI Gospel), for which the Clark Sisters won the 2008 GRAMMY® Award for Best Gospel Album. They won a second GRAMMY® for Best Gospel Performance for "Blessed and Highly Favored," the lead single from that album. Clark Sheard, who wrote and led the song, won a third GRAMMY® that year for Best Gospel Song (a writer's award). The Clark Sisters also won four Stellar Awards for the album, including Artist of the Year and CD of the Year. "Blessed and Highly Favored" was as popular with record-buying audiences as it was with music critics. The song, shot to #1 on Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart, where it remained for seven weeks.
In 2010, Clark Sheard stepped away from her solo work to record "Wait On The Lord," a duet with Donnie McClurkin from his album, We Are All One. The record won a GRAMMY® Award for Best Gospel Performance, raising Clark Sheard's GRAMMY® Award total to four. That year she also received a GMA Dove Award for Special Event Album of the year for her performance on Oh Happy Day and a Stellar Award for Special Event CD of the Year for her performance on A Tribute to Maze. At the 2012 BMI Urban Music Awards, she gave one of the evening's most memorable performances in a tribute to Mariah Carey.
Clark Sheard is expanding her horizons in new directions. In her newest venture, she is working toward the upcoming release of a clothing line, beginning with her dress line. Most important to her, she continues to travel the country, spreading her message of hope and encouragement as both a singer and a speaker in a variety of venues.
"I've had some test and trials, and sometimes I felt like giving up, but I kept pushing through," says Clark Sheard. "I believe that will bless people because it lets them know that if I came out of my situation, then God can bring them through whatever situations they are in. God gave me a word that you have to speak because your words have power. I have a testimony and I believe I'm delivering through my words and through this album."