I interviewed Karen Clark-Sheard on Friday. I’m telling you guys, but I’m partly reminding myself, because it was just a little incredible.
She had just shared advance music from her upcoming album (click here for that recap), so life was already feeling a little surreal. But to realize that we now sat across from each other in a conference room, me with a BUNCH of questions and her with a willing heart to answer ‘em… FOR REAL?
I’ll admit that I kinda broke protocol and became the UBER-FAN for a minute before launching into the interview, telling her how I used to watch her when I was a kid and blah blah blah… whatever! I have no regrets EXCEPT for the fact that I totally forgot to grab a photo with her.
So, what did we chat about? LOTS.
The Clark Sisters were in Nashville on Thursday night for the taping of a TBN Christmas special. It was actually historic for them because it was the first time that The Clark Sisters have ever had their own TBN program (she shared that they’ve always been invited by other hosts, but never had their own special). The 30-minute musical program will PROBABLY air sometime next week– I’ll let you know details when I get ‘em.
We chatted briefly about her new album and its direction. Karen went the studio route for her upcoming album, All In One, instead of doing a live album because, as she explained, “it was just time” to do it this way. She’s been writing more and the studio afforded her the opportunity to really take her time and put her heart into her writing, a gift that she’s not always felt comfortable with.
Compared to Twinkie Clark, and more recently to Dorinda Clark-Cole, Karen shared that she often ”felt inadequate” as a songwriter. She was encouraged, though, when God allowed her to win a GRAMMY for Gospel Song Of The Year in 2008 for her hit “Blessed And Highly Favored.” “It was God’s way of saying ‘don’t question the gift’ that was placed inside of me,” she recounted.
In addition to her GRAMMY win, Karen has recently started her own label, Karew Records. She’s incredibly proud of it because it’s truly a family affair– even her kids, J Drew II and Kierra, have positions in the company. The first project on the label was the Clark Family Christmas album, which will be followed by her own project. After that? Expect to see a new album from The Clark Sisters.
Take note– despite all of the hard work and success, Karen really doesn’t see herself as a celebrity. As hard as I tried to explain that she’s considered one of the greatest female vocalists alive, she kinda doesn’t get it. LOL
Instead, she tries to remain as accessible as possible, especially because of her role as a pastor’s wife. “The people of our church need to be able to reach me and have access to me,” she shares. That attitude hasn’t been without its problems, though, as she has also had to change her mobile number in the past. “People would call and just be breathing on the other end, or they’d call and play one of my songs and hang up,” she shared.
I asked Karen why she doesn’t have a Twitter account yet and she said she wasn’t sure about using technology much because she’s seen how negative it can be. “I saw how some people had hurtful things to say about Kierra for doing the track ["God In Me"] with Mary Mary.” Apparently, Karen even reached out to encourage Mary Mary after fans came down on them for not featuring Kierra on the BET Awards. “We weren’t even thinking about that stuff. Kierra was just so happy to have been included in the song, she didn’t care about all of that. She’s just happy for them.” Karen shared that it’s sad to see how nasty things can get on the internet.
Still, I tried to convince her that the web has some merits and, no promises, but we may see a Karen Clark-Sheard Twitter account soon… y’all can thank me later.
Before we wrapped up her chat, we talked a bit about the new track that she recorded with Aretha Franklin. It was actually completed a while ago, but the opportunity was unreal to Karen because Aretha is her favorite singer. I got the impression that the song, which will be on Aretha’s upcoming project, turned out very well.
Aaaaand that’s about it. To say that I enjoyed interviewing Karen Clark-Sheard would be an understatement. At its core, though, it was just a really great conversation.
Hopefully, you guys got some cool info out of it, too. Whatd’ya think?