Gospel Artist Speaks of Bout With Anxiety That Led to New Album

Over the years, we’ve watched her grow from being Kiki, the daughter of phenomenal gospel artist Karen Clark Sheard, to maturing into a woman of God who has her own distinctive voice in gospel music. Distinction, maturity, and a newfound freedom are just some of the elements that you’ll hear on her forth-coming album, Free.

Having released Bold Right Life in 2008, it’s been nearly three years since Kierra Sheard has released a full album. Free not only marks a new album for the 24-year-old but a new experience, with this being her first live recording and her first recording with Bold Right Life, the community choir she began.

Sheard, being a native of Detroit – a hub for gospel music that has turned out the legendary Clark Sisters, J. Moss, Deitrick Haddon and many more of today’s most influential gospel artists – some have wondered why she chose Chicago to record this landmark in her career.

“I did it in Chicago because we wanted to take the whole choir. We wanted all of the family to go. And then I also considered the choir’s family members as well. And Chicago is not a long drive at all,” she told BREATHEcast. “Chicago, we have a chapter there, a BRL chapter, and they always show us so much love there, and so we wanted to take it there for that reason.”

Often performing youth events to reach out to young Christians in Detroit, this gave Sheard the opportunity to expand her reach and also to display a different part of herself in a live setting that many don’t often see.

“We wanted to do this live record because … I’m a worshipper and love rejoicing and praising God with high energy and just having a good time on stage," she said. "This live album record is something that I’ve always wanted to do because when it comes time for me to minister, God just always uses me in a totally different way.

"With the records that I’ve put out before, a lot of people just kind of refer to me [as], ‘Oh, is that … ? That’s little Kiki’ and they haven’t been able to see that side of me where I’ve grown and I’ve matured spiritually. God really uses me in a different way than what a lot of people have ever seen.”

She continued, “So that’s why we did it live. It shows my growth, my maturity and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And I just have fun, when I’m with my band, when I’m with my family, and it’s just a whole different side of creativity that comes out of me when I’m doing something live.”

Although the majority of the album has live songs, it does include a few studio tracks. Whether live or studio, the album carries a central theme that is highlighted in the title.

Free was birthed through a trial Sheard was experiencing before the recording of the album. She said she felt confined and attacked in her mind.

“It was a season in my life – and I’m still kind of getting over it – where the enemy was just really attacking me in my mind. And I was having thoughts that, I was kind of like, ‘Where is this coming from? I don’t even know how this is happening. Why am I thinking this?’”

“And I got to a place where I began to pray and ask God to allow me to be free. Allow me to find where Your Spirit is so that I can find that liberty that Your Word speaks about. Allow me to be free in every area because I don’t believe that God would have me on Earth to worry and be anxious and have these issues where my mind is just always going.”