*It’s been 47 years since The Clark Sisters, who were barely teenagers, released their first gospel album titled “Jesus Has a Lot to Give.” Since the classic recording, The Clark Sisters have had much to give the world through their epic gospel songwriting, singing, recordings and live performances.
With a huge portfolio of songs recorded over the last six decades, some of the group’s biggest gospel hits have included “He Gave Me Nothing to Lose,” “Name it Claim it,” “Hallelujah,” “You Brought The Sunshine,” “Ha Ya,” “Expect Your Miracle,” “Blessed & Highly Favored,” “Is My Living in Vain?” and more.
Now, just weeks into the New Year, The Clark Sisters, the best-selling female gospel group ever, are ecstatic about dropping new music and starring in a new made-for-television movie.
The recording, the group’s 20th album (which, as of this posting, is still un-named), features the vocal offerings of four of the five Clark sisters: Jacky Clark-Chisholm, Elbernita “Twinkie” Clark, Dr. Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Karen Clark-Sheard.
“We are really excited about this new album in our lives,” said Clark-Cole. “It always gives us such great excitement to know that after being here for over 40 years, God has allowed us and afforded us the opportunity to sustain, be relevant, and carry on the gospel legacy of our mother, the late, great Dr. Mattie Moss Clark.”
Clark-Cole said the album’s first released single, “Victory” carries a timely message, as it currently climbs major music charts for the three-time Grammy Award-winning gospel group.
“There are some devastating things that are happening in the world today,” explained Clark-Cole. “So the only victory we have is through Jesus Christ. In this song, we just want to sing out to people who are going through something that they will always have victory because God is the ultimate source of their strength and source of getting through life.”
Several major producers have attached their names and talents to the group’s new single and upcoming gospel album, to include Jermaine Dupri, Rodney Jerkins, Kirk Franklin, Warryn Campbell, Donald Lawrence, Kurt Carr, and Mano Haines.
Clark-Cole said The Clark Sisters are also extremely happy about the new made-for-television movie about the group, which debuts on Lifetime, Easter Sunday, April 12. The movie’s title is “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel.” The biopic will chronicle the life and times of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark and all five Clark sisters, including Denise Clark-Bradford, who sang, recorded, and performed with her sisters until 1986.
“We are very happy about the movie,” Clark-Cole said. “People have always wondered how it was growing up in the Clark house in Detroit, beginning in the 1960s. Viewers will now see how it all started for us – from little girls singing at home and church – to where we are now. The biopic shows our ups and downs, our triumphs and challenges.”
“Our story is so unique because we were raised in the church by a mother who was saved,” Jacky Clark-Chisholm, the oldest of the sisters, has said in numerous interviews. “Because of her believes and our commitments, our mother told us to use our anointment to always sing together.”
When asked about the patented “Clark Sisters Sound,” Clark-Cole credits her mother, who was an international-renowned gospel songwriter, singer, pianist/organist, arranger and choral director.
“Our mother would get us up early in the morning, because God would place a song in her mind,” recalled Clark-Cole. “Although there were tape recorders back in those days, our mother would rather give us our parts to sing and tell us to sing it again, sing it again, and sing it again.”
Gospel music historians and aficionados have described The Clark Sisters’ signature sound as high and complex acrobatic vocals trills, riffs, and growls, which emanates from the voicing, range and strength of each sister, to contribute and generate an uncanny three-part sweet, powerful, and unique harmony. The group’s technique is widely used by today’s contemporary gospel ensembles.
The Clark Sisters, according to Clark-Cole, have other endeavors that they would like to pursue this year, such as performing overseas, including England, where the sisters are ultra-popular. Each sister continues to minister the word of God on multiple audio and visual platforms, and have enjoyed solo recording projects and performances in the past.
Collectively, Jacky, Twinkie, Dorinda and Karen, are all long-time members of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit, where Karen’s husband, J. Drew Sheard is bishop. The sisters’ strong connection and membership, said Clark-Cole, to the same church in the city where they were born, raised and continue to live is a major reason for the group’s success and longevity.
“When you’re committed at home and God can trust you with home, He will allow you to expand,” said Clark-Cole. “God gives us great territory, and He’s able to trust us to where we are about to go. However, you have to have a spiritual base to continue to flourish.”
And before we close out our story on the Clark Sisters, we want to also congratulate them on their NAACP Image Awards nomination for “Victory.”
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