Karen Valencia Clark Sheard (née Clark; born November 15, 1960) is an American Grammy Award–winning Gospel singer, musician, songwriter, First Lady, and businesswoman. Clark-Sheard is the wife of the current Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard and she serves as the current First Lady of the COGIC denomination. Clark-Sheard is the youngest member of gospel group the Clark Sisters. She is also the mother of contemporary gospel singer and actress Kierra "Kiki" Sheard. She has released five solo albums, seventeen with the Clark Sisters, and collaborated with her son J. Drew Sheard II and her daughter Kierra Sheard. During the hiatus of the Clark Sisters, Clark-Sheard recorded her critically acclaimed solo album Finally Karen, which spawned her hit, "Balm in Gilead" (a re-recording of a song she originally recorded as part of the Clark Sisters in the 1980s for their Heart & Soul album) the R&B-flavored "Just for Me" and "Nothing Without You" – a contemporary duet with R&B diva Faith Evans. Finally Karen became one of the most successful gospel albums of 1998 earning Sheard a Grammy nomination and a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award for "Best Female Vocalist".After her debut album and touring, Clark-Sheard was hospitalized in 2001 after a blood vessel burst during a bariatric surgery, resulting in doctors giving her a 2% chance of survival. The experience inspired the title for her second album, 2nd Chance, released in 2002. Clark-Sheard recorded two more live albums, including The Heavens Are Telling and It's Not Over (which featured some studio recordings), before releasing All in One, Clark-Sheard's first all-studio-recorded album in 13 years. The album debuted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Gospel Chart and #98 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart, while its first single "Prayed Up" peaked at #9 on the U.S. Billboard Gospel Songs chart.Singers Beyoncé and Mariah Carey count Karen Clark-Sheard and her sister Twinkie Clark as two of their vocal influences.

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