First Ladies of Gospel
The Divah Filez had the pleasure of speaking with two of the infamous Clark Sisters, Jacky and Karen. We were able to dive into their careers, their new album The Return, their first biopic The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, ministry and more. These ladies have been singing together since they were young children and over 50 years later, they are still together. They have been an inspiration not only to Gospel artists but have influenced artists of all genres. When asked why the album was named The Return, Jacky stated she felt because they hadn’t recorded an album in such a long time. They haven’t stopped singing, so they never really left the music industry. They continued doing shows, but they were returning from their hiatus of recording music. The inspiration behind the album, simply put, was to “Bless God’s people”, and I must say, the album has surely blessed me. We began to talk a little more about their childhood and their mother. If it was possible to put into words, I asked how they would describe the “Clark Sound?” Jacky said it would be their blend and the anointing they have on their lives. One thing their mother instilled in them was to stick together. She talked about how they all evangelize and are all “saved women” which helps them keep that anointing going on. Bringing that all together creates that “Clark Sound” they have been noted for. In the movie, there were various scenes where their mother spoke life into their voices and their crafts. I asked the sisters what was the importance of speaking life over your life, ministry, and businesses? As Karen gave us a word, she let us know that it’s very important to speak positivity over your life. She called it a “declaration”. “You have to be careful of what you say and always walk by faith”. She mentioned her husband, Bishop John Drew Sheard often quotes “You have to see it before you see it”. She also stressed the importance of prayer and being obedient to God’s word. Right before she jumped on the call, she said that her and her husband drove around to various homes and hospitals praying for people. She called this her “declaration”, speaking life over those who are sick during these times. I asked them who is most like their mother, the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and they both replied Jacky because she was bossy.
They both explain how their mother was very strong and resilient. She didn’t care what others thought because she was going to do what God called her to do. That was most important to her and that’s something that stuck with them. Speaking more about their music, I wanted to know what is was like to work with secular artists. They both said they were just as amazed working with the producers as the producers were working with them. Jacky told the story of how they met Jermaine Durpi at Tyler Perry’s studio opening. She said that she knew God ordered their steps, because if they hadn’t gone, they would not have met him. Jermaine Dupri produced the track titled “Masterpiece”, which explains how God specially made each one of us as his “Masterpiece”. The lyrics state, “Cause I, Found me a love that won’t leave me. Divine, so full of grace, full of mercy. And I, found my security in him. Inside his eyes, I’m a one of a kind, special design, I’m a Masterpiece.” “Masterpiece” is a song that can be played almost anywhere. With a powerful message and the beautiful harmonies coming from the sisters that can be heard over a nice beat, producing that “Clark sound” with a little extra bounce. Both Jacky and Karen were grateful for the opportunities God has allowed them to have and all the doors he continues to open.
Aside from their new album, they were also featured in their first biopic about their lives. Executive producers Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, and Mary J. Blige alongside Holly Davis Carter came together to make this dream come to life. The biopic details the sister’s journey with their mother singing in church to singing on stages to signing their record deal until now. The ladies portraying them did an excellent job recreating their lives and their songs, as both sisters agreed. Aunjanue Ellis as Mattie Moss Clark, Christina Bell as Twinkie, Kierra Sheard as Karen, Shelea Frazier as Dorinda, Raven Goodwin as Denise and Angela Birchett as Jacky come together, doing a beautiful job depicting the sister’s life and music over the years. Jacky mentioned that everyone involved wanted the music to be authentic, which is why they wanted real singers. Donald Lawrence, who has worked with The Clark Sisters for many years and have studied their sound acted as the music director for the film. And I must add he did a wonderful job.
When asked what her favorite Clark Sisters song was, Jacky responded with “Jesus is a Love Song”, “Balm in Gilead”, “Name it, Claim it”, and “You Brought the Sunshine”, because that was the first song that helped rocket their career. If I didn’t get anything else from this interview, I understand they really love God and credit him for where they are today. Both ladies had very humble spirits, were very down to earth and appreciated all the love they’ve received over the years. They've endured a lot of struggles over the years, but they know that it was God that brought them out and helped keep them together. They want to continue being a blessing to those around them through their music and ministry. If you haven’t already, make sure to stream their new album The Return on all streaming platforms and check your local listings to view their movie The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel on Lifetime.