Gospel Singer Kierra Sheard Moves in Edgier Direction on New Album, ‘Graceland’
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For as long as Kierra Sheard is alive, she will always be connected to the awe inspiring, magnificent legacy left by her grandmother Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and the living legends she calls mom and aunties, The Clark Sisters.

Now coming into her own as a bonafide Gospel superstar, business woman, TV judge and reality TV star, the sky is the limit in carving out a lane and identity all her own. ESSENCE.com recently sat down with Kierra to discuss her new CD Graceland and how she’s managing all her projects, from a hoisery line to judging Sunday Best.

ESSENCE.com: Your new CD is called Graceland. Where did the title come from?
Kierra Sheard: I was dealing with a personal struggle and I started to become frustrated with myself. So I was venting to a friend of mine one day and she went on to explain that I was getting condemnation and conviction confused. I was dealing with it from the standpoint of what people say your walk with Christ should be. She said I think you’re afraid of a place that doesn’t exist like “no graceland.” I think of it like Alice In Wonderland. She was lost in a place of make believe. We will always have the opportunity to benefit from God’s grace. I really learned the true beauty of God’s grace during the recording of this project. And that’s how I came up with “Graceland” because we’re all in the land of God’s grace!

ESSENCE.com: Graceland is very different from any of your previous releases. Were you worried about how it would be received?
Sheard: I was actually very nervous about it. People really enjoyed the “churchy” Kierra more than I expected and they were very receptive to that side of me. But, I feel like on this record you get a little bit of everything too…you get some urban, CCM, pop, and some churchy. As we started promoting the project and I saw the response I was getting on social media, I started to relax. I also prayed about it and God put me at peace. I wanted to be that artist to cater to young Christian believers for that sound they go looking for on the secular side. This record is truly my favorite CD I’ve ever done. I absolutely love it.

ESSENCE.com: You have a new stocking line “Sheers by Sheards.” How did that come about?
Sheard: It was an idea my manager came up with.  I would have never thought I would end up having a stocking line. I hadn’t worn stockings in years! But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it would be a great way to expand my brand. I had the opportunity to work with the same company that makes Spanx for my product. So now my thick curvy girls don’t have to spend $30 and $40 at the mall, they can get control tops right in Walgreens for $8.99!

ESSENCE.com: How was it being the newest and youngest judge on Sunday Best?
Sheard: It was a dream come true for me. I’m still in awe. But it was a great experience. I wasn’t there to beat up on the contestants or anything, but to share with them what I’ve learned on my journey as an artist and what I’m still learning. I’m doing so much these days, but I could be sitting at home on my couch, so I’m extremely grateful.

ESSENCE.com: Is there a special someone in your life right now?
Sheard: I’m dating. But everyone will see more of who I’m dating during the second season of The Sheards. This season I’m giving a lot more than I did before. I was a little uncomfortable with it at first, but it gives me the opportunity to take the Gospel to the world in a more casual way. I can let my life be the example, without being so preachy. So I’m happy for the platform the show has provided.

Graceland is available on iTunes.