Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sheard spent her formative years surrounded by the strong influences of her family, their faith, and their music. At age 6, she began singing in the choir at Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ, pastored by her father Superintendent J. Drew Sheard. Even at a young age, Sheard had a preternatural grip on the signature “Clark sound” pioneered by her mother and aunts, executing high and fast melismas, riffs, runs, and deep, throaty growls sometimes referred to as “squalls” (the latter is prominently displayed on “Done Did It”, a traditional gospel leaning track from her album I Owe You).
Sheard made her stage debut at the age of 10 duetting with her mother on the Twinkie Clark-penned “The Will Of God”, the standout closing track from her mother’s debut solo album Finally Karen in 1997. The song won a Stellar Award for Best Children’s Performance the following year. In the years following, she honed her skills as a performer accompanying her mother on stage. By 2003, EMI Gospel won a bidding war between several record companies to sign Kierra to her first recording contract.
Grammy Nominated for 2010
Best Gospel Song
God In Me,’ Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell & Warryn Campbell, songwriters (Mary Mary Featuring Kierra “KiKi” Sheard)