Daughters of gospel musician and choral director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, The Clark Sistersconsist of Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Karen Clark Sheard. A fifth sister, Denise Clark Bradford, performed with the group originally but left in 1982 to become a minister and start a family.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. They each began singing at an early age and by the late 1960s they were all performing together in church services, usually singing songs written and arranged by their mother. In 1973, the sisters recorded their first album, Jesus Has A Lot To Give, on their uncle's local label Billmo Records.
The following year, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark Presents The Clark Sisters was released, and people around Detroit began to take notice of the group. The Clark Sisters signed to Sound of Gospel Records in 1974. Under this association, the group released albums such as Unworthy, Count It All Joy, and He Gave Me Nothing to Lose. It was not until the early 1980s that The Clark Sisters began to become the phenomenon that they are now. Their popularity soared with the release of the live recording Is My Living In Vain. The album topped the Billboard gospel charts for more than a year and yielded now famous songs such as the title track and "Expect Your Miracle."
Their next release You Brought the Sunshine would prove to be a monster hit as the title track, reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster(Jammin')," became a hit in church houses and on dance floors, including New York's fabulous Studio 54 "Sunshine" was picked up from its original independent gospel record label Sounds of Gospel and distributed by both Westbound Records and Elektra Records. In 1983, the song peaked at #16 on the Black Singles chart, #27 on the Club Play Charts, and #80 on the Hot R&B Charts driving the album to Gold sales. The sisters delivered another progressive effort in 1982, Sincerely, which included "Name It And Claim It" and the politically-charged "World." They took a break for four years, upon their return signed with Rejoice Records, a division of Word, and released the Grammy-nominated Heart & Soul (1986) featuring the mainstream single "Time Out." Next would appear another studio release Conqueror (1988) and the live album Bringing It Back Home (1991).
More recently, The Clark Sisters did a live recording on July 8, 2006 in Houston, Texas entitled Live... One Last Time. The recording was directed and produced by Donald Lawrence and was released as a CD on April 10, 2007 on EMI Gospel, followed by a CD/DVD Special Edition release June 19, 2007. Following the group's resurgence in popularity, Rhino Entertainment is releasing a greatest-hits collection sampling recordings from no less than 3 albums recorded for Word Records from the mid 80's through the early 90's, including the Grammy-nominated Heart & Soul. The album Encore: The Best of The Clark Sisters was released February 12, 2008. Though The Clark Sisters have been thrice nominated previously for the Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy with 1983's Sincerely, 1986's Heart & Soul, and 1988's Conqueror without a win, the group won two Grammys in 2008. Live - One Last Time won the Best Traditional Gospel Album. Its album track "Blessed & Highly Favored" won the Best Gospel Performance. As songwriter of "Blessed & Highly Favored," Karen Clark Sheard won the individual Best Gospel Song.
Renowned for their unique vocal stylings, The Clark Sister have been dubbed as "The Clark Sound." The sisters are also well known for each distinctive sound that they contribute. Jacky (alto/tenor) is known for her soft, deeper vocals. Dorinda (alto), the "jazzy" sister, inputs scats and riffs. Karen (soprano) is known for her riffs, runs and very high vocal range, and has also been known to implement an "echo" in her live performances. Twinkie (alto/tenor/soprano) is credited with being the "heart of the Clark Sisters." Early in the group's development, Twinkie was the chief songwriter, music and vocal arranger, producer and also possessing a wide vocal range from soprano to contralto.
Having sold millions of albums and credited as the largest selling female gospel group of all time, they are definitely a group to check out.