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Published on Dec 17, 2008
The Clark Sisters were 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. A few years later, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark turned over control of the group to Twinkie, who would then go on to write, arrange, conduct and produce all of the Clark Sisters recordings. 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 Bilboard 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. "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." After this release, sister Denise left the group to become a minister and start a family.
After a four-year gap between releases, the sisters would continue as a foursome, signing with Rejoice Records, a division of Word. This new deal yielded 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).
The Clark Sisters are renowned for their unique vocal stylings, dubbed as "The Clark Sound." They incorporate high and fast melismas, acrobatic trills and riffs, and deep, soulful growls, or "squalls". 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 Tenor.
The year 2008 At the 50th Grammy Awards Ceremony The Clark Sisters took home trophies in three major categories: Best Traditional Gospel Album (for Live - One Last Time), Best Gospel Performance (for "Blessed & Highly Favored" and Best Gospel Song (for Karen Clark-Sheard's composition "Blessed & Highly Favored"). The Gospel Hall of Fame members were also recipients in June 2007 of the esteemed President's Merit Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Grammy Salute to Gospel. After two decades-plus of faithful service, these marked the quartet's very first well-deserved Grammys.