Kierra Kiki Sheard
Kierra Kiki Sheard
Kierra "Kiki" Sheard is the daughter of gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard, one of the legendary Clark Sisters from Detroit, and Dr. J Drew Sheard, (minister of Greater Emmanuel Inst. COGIC, in Detroit). She began singing as a child, with her influences being not only her talented family, but also Gospel artists such as Fred Hammond and Donnie McClurkin and popular singers like Beyonce and Mary J. Blige.
At age nine Kiki was a featured singer on her mother's solo album Finally Karen and amazingly won a Steller Award for Best Children's Performance. She continued to perform during her formative years, and was signed by EMI Records as a solo performer at age 17 in 2004. With her parents' help, she was paired with an eye-popping group of songwriter/producers, including Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins (Whitney Houston, Brandy, Lionel Richie), Detroit's PAJAM (Dru Hill, Patti LaBelle, Boyz II Men) and Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, BeBe Winans, Kelly Price) for her debut album, I Owe You. Kiki had her "coming out" for the Gospel world at the annual Detroit PraiseFest that June, sharing the stage with Hammond, LaShell Griffin and her mother, among others.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kiki in August 2004, and she is a delightful young artist who is very grateful for her opportunity. She was very cognizant of the musical and social influences on teenagers, and her goal with I Owe You was to reach her peers with a sound that they could "groove to and give God praise."
I Owe You debuted at #1 on the Gospel charts, an amazing feat for a new artist. Belying her young age, Kiki Sheard attacked the mix of dance tunes and ballads like a seasoned Gospel veteran. Her bright, appealing voice and her well developed interpretive skills were simply amazing for a 17-year old. Excellent cuts such as the danceable first single, "You Don't Know," "Let Go," "Church Nite," the Kirk Franklin-like "Closer" and the fine PAJAM-produced, Gospel ballad "Praise Offering," made the disc one of the top Gospel albums of the year and placed Kiki Sheard among the most promising young artists in modern music.
In 2006, following her high school graduation and a lot of touring, Kiki released her album, This Is Me, working with a number of top producers and songwriters, including Campbell, PAJAM, Tommy Sims, Antonio Neal and P.J. Morton.
By Chris Rizik