GOSPELflava.com: In your recent concerts, you have been doing some serious preaching. Is there anything different spiritually about the Karen Clark Sheard we see now as opposed to two or three years ago?
Karen Clark Sheard: You know, my mother was a preacher, and my grandmother too, so I believe what was instilled is just simply coming to fruition. I didn't chose, per se, to go into the ministry, but I knew it was time for me to minister the way God was calling for with authority plus I didn't want him to whip me!!. I have been doing some preaching and speaking, even in standing alongside my husband, Pastor J. Drew Sheard, but for the most part I leave that up to my sister Dorinda. I don't know how she does it, singing one night, preaching on another.
GOSPELflava.com: You have managed to remain one of Gospel music's premier artists, always reinventing yourself, never missing a beat, and now we have your third live recording as a solo artist (and fourth album solo album total). To what do you credit your success and longevity in an ever-changing industry?
Karen Clark Sheard: GOD! It is He who gives me life to continue what He has put in me. All the credit goes to Him. When I got done with my last recording, The Heavans Are Telling, I honestly thought, where can I go from here? Every CD I find there is more in me, something else blossoms and when I listen to this project and I realize that I had a hand in the production and writing, I know it's Him who keeps me a float in this industry. And of course I have to say my mother, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, who instilled in me a foundation and gave me something to hold on to. SHE MADE us go to church and become active in ministry, so I would say I'm still feasting off of the teachings of my mother to this day.
GOSPELflava.com: It's no secret that Donald Lawrence has been a key element in your solo career. What made you decide to step away from the formula that has worked so well for your past projects?
Karen Clark Sheard: Right! Donald is my favorite producer, so it was kind of difficult to work with someone else for this CD. I know we will work together again, but for now I felt it was time for a change. I had become very inspired by the anointing on the lives of both Aaron Lindsey and Israel Houghton, so although it seemed like a risk, I decided it was now or never!
GOSPELflava.com: Now you know that GOSPELflava.com was in the house to cover the live recording session. Let us say that the song "Authority" is bananas. What did you all think you were doing when you created that song?!!?
GOSPELflava.com: After being sought after by some very major record labels, you decided to sign with the legendary Word Records. Or should we say, Word Records has signed the legendary Karen Clark Sheard!! What were some key things kept in mind during your decision making process?
Karen Clark Sheard: You know, it's funny; the original person who brought me to Word [Desmond Pringle], and most of the staff that were there then are no longer with the label (laughing). I know it must be the Lord's doing, though. I'm just trusting in Him as I learn the people around me. It has been a blessing at Word Records. To answer the question, there were several record companies who did want to sign me but I think a major factor for me was I wanted to reach a broader audience and even venture into the CCM market, and I think Word will do a good job at that.
GOSPELflava.com: In two very recent interviews, both Beyoncé and Mariah Carey listed you as major vocal influences, and sang your praises. How important is it that Gospel artists be visible and recognizable forces in the secular music industry?
GOSPELflava.com: You ended the wait with Finally Karen, you gave God thanks and adoration with Second Chance, and after that you declared his glory with The Heavens are Telling. When you look back at your previous solo projects, which album or song in particular really ministers to you?
Karen Clark Sheard: Probably Second Chance, both the album and the song. You know that was my first CD after the trauma I had went through four years ago. I had been so weak, both physically and vocally. I just thought I couldn't do it anymore, but my cousin, James Moss, brought me the music to "Second Chance" and I literally had to walk out of the room. There was such a piercing in the music and a feeling of victory came over me. At that time, there were no words and I believe God had it set up that way so that the anointing on the music could inspire me to keep going.
GOSPELflava.com: At the Sister 2 Sister recording, in May 2004, you did "Second Chance" live, with a reprise of "Jesus Went To Calvary". The combo brings you straight "into a worship", as you would say.
Karen Clark Sheard: Right, you feel me!? Man, that song just really just does it for me every time and I would have to say above all other albums or songs, that one right there, it will always remind me that I am forever grateful for a second chance to be commissioned to what He's called me to do.
GOSPELflava.com: If I were to ask you for a word or phrase to describe the next season of Karen Clark Sheard what would they be?
Karen Clark Sheard:Next dimension.
GOSPELflava.com:What's next for you?
Karen Clark Sheard:Well I'm going to be doing some serious promotion for this new album, It's Not Over. Pick it up, pick it up! After that we are looking forward to doing a Clark Sisters live recording in July at our annual AIM convention, so be looking out for that!
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