Karen Valencia Clark-Sheard was born on November 15, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan. Clark-Sheard began singing with her sisters at the age of five in what soon became known as The Clark Sisters. In 1997, she started her solo career with the release of her first album, “Finally Karen.” The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 1999. In 2008, Clark-Sheard won the Grammy Award under the category, Best Gospel Song for ‘Blessed and Highly Favored,’ which was sung by The Clark Sisters.
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Karen Valencia Clark Sheard
November 15, 1960
Karen Valencia Clark-Sheard is an American Grammy award-winning gospel singer who was born in Detroit, Michigan. She is the youngest daughter of Reverend Elbert Clark and Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Clark-Sheard began singing with her sisters at the age of five in what soon became known as The Clark Sisters. She attended Mumford High School in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated in 1979.
Clark-Sheard’s involvement in The Clark Sisters’ made her quite famous. In 1997, she began her solo career with the release of her first album, “Finally Karen.” The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 1999. It peaked at number two and 28 in the U.S. Billboard Gospel Albums and the U.S. Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, respectively. She became the second gospel artist to sign to Elektra Records after Yolanda Adams. She released her “2nd Chance” album after her near-death experience. The album reached 82 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and 27 on the U.S. Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Clark-Sheard soon had another album, “The Heavens Are Telling,” in 2003 when Elektra Records was being dissolved into Atlantic records. In 2005, she released another album, “It’s Not Over,” with a new signing under Word Records. It was her first album that did not feature guest vocals from her daughter, Kierra Sheard. In 2007, Clark-Sheard won the Grammy Award under the category, Best Gospel Song for ‘Blessed and Highly Favored,’ which was sung by The Clark Sisters. In 2009, she partnered with her husband, J. Drew Sheard, and both launched a new record label, Karew Records. In 2009, she won a Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for ‘Wait on the Lord.’
Clark-Sheard got married to Bishop J.Drew Sheard in 1984 and served as the first lady of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit. They have two children, Kierra Sheard and John Drew Sheard II. In 2001, Clark-Sheard faced a life-threatening situation when a blood vessel burst during her scheduled bariatric surgery, but she recovered.
Clark-Sheard begins her solo career by releasing her first album, "Finally Karen."
Clark-Sheard wins the Grammy Award under the category, Best Gospel Song for ‘Blessed and Highly Favored,’ sung by The Clark Sisters.
Clark-Sheard features in a documentary titled "Gospel."
"The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel" is a biographical film about Clark-Sheard and her sisters.
Why We Love Karen Clark-Sheard
She is influential
Karen Clark-Sheard is a legendary influence on female artists like Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, and Missy Elliot. She is a phenomenal woman!
She is a reality star
Clark-Sheard has her family on the B.E.T. docu-drama series, "The Sheards." We love how it showcases her as a musical genius.
She is a family woman
Clark-Sheard is family-oriented and puts her family first before anything else. We love how passionate she is about them!
5 Surprising Facts
She had a near-death experience
Clark-Sheard faced a life-threatening situation when a blood vessel burst, resulting in her falling into a coma.
She plays drums
Apart from being a vocalist, Clark-Sheard is also good at playing drums.
She owns a record label
Clark-Sheard co-founded Karew records with her husband.
She is Kierra Sheard's mom
Clark-Sheard is the mother of the gospel star Kierra Sheard who did guest vocals on some of her albums.
She has four Grammys
Clark-Sheard has won a total of four Grammy awards out of 12 nominations.
Karen Clark-Sheard FAQs
Does Karen Clark-Sheard have any grandchildren?
Yes, she has grandchildren.
How long was Clark-Sheard in a coma?
She was in a coma for three and a half weeks.
Is the movie "The Clark Sisters" based on a true story?
Yes, it is based on the true life story of real singing siblings who are also Grammy award winners.
Karen Clark-Sheard’s birthday dates