Kierra Sheard: Growing in the Industry

by Louise M. Moore

Kierra Sheard has been singing since she could open her mouth. And, it's no wonder considering she is the daughter of Grammy award-winning gospel star Karen Clark Sheard and the granddaughter of legendary choral director Mattie Moss Clark. She's got musical anointing in her genes. She has literally grown up in the gospel music industry.
Sheard was first introduced to the industry as "Kiki" at 9 years old when her mother featured her on the single The Will of God on her album, Finally Karen. What we didn't know then is that a beautiful teenager would emerge several years later with a jazzy, mature sound reminiscent of the Clark Sisters yet urban, edgy and indicative of the diverse musical styling that are uniquely her own. Her first two studio albums, I Owe You and This is Me were very successful--both debuting at #1 on the Billboard Gospel Chart.
At 21, Sheard is all grown up and has relinquished "Kiki". She has released her third studio album Bold Right Life and started a non-profit youth empowerment organization bearing the same name. Additionally, Sheard is featured on Mary Mary's single God in Me on their latest CD, The Sound.
In all of her successes, this EMI recording sensation has amassed a huge fanbase but is still quite grounded. An English major at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Sheard credits her parents for being so grounded.
"My father and my mother play a huge role in my life," says Sheard. "I can talk to my mom about anything." And her father, J Drew Sheard is "not just my father but my shepherd," says Sheard who attends Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ where her father is senior pastor. So naturally, she gains much inspiration and influence from her family including her brother J Drew Sheard II. Mary Mary, Hezekiah Walker (who she refers to as "Uncle Hez"), Donald Lawrence and Tye Tribbett are also among those who offer the inspiration and guidance that has helped Sheard to grow not only as an artist but as a young woman.
"I pour and take from everyone that I can. When there is an area that I'm weak in, someone else is stronger," she explains.
Recognizing the need for others in her life to offer balance and support Sheard says "I always liked being independent and doing things for myself but I realize I need other people to help me accomplish my goals."
So, what's Kierra's advice for independent gospel artists? "Make sure you have the right people around you. Surround yourself with successful people with a plan and vision."

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About Airplay 360

AIRPLAY 360 is a monthly published digital magazine designed to inform, empower and motivate independent inspirational musical artists by offering a soundboard of information provided by artists, producers, label executives and other industry professionals.
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