The Clark Sisters, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, are credited for helping to bring gospel music to the mainstream and are considered pioneers of contemporary gospel.
They each began singing at an early age and by the late 1960s were all performing together in church services, usually singing songs written and arranged by their mother, gospel musician and choral director Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. With a compelling, commanding fusion of styles as diverse as blues, jazz, R&B, and classical, sisters Jacky, Twinkie, Karen, and Dorinda created a sound that was new, fresh, and entirely their own, dubbed as The Clark Sound.
There is no single lead vocalist in the group. Dr. Mattie Moss Clark turned over control of the group to Twinkie, who would then go on to write, arrange, conduct, and produce the Clark Sisters recordings. In 1973, the sisters recorded their first album, Jesus Has a Lot to Give. 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 and went on to release 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 became a hit in churches and on dance floors. In 1983, the song peaked at on the Club Play Charts and on the Hot R&B Charts driving the album to Gold sales. The sisters delivered Sincerely in 1982. The sisters later signed with Rejoice Records, a division of Word, yielding the Grammy-nominated Heart Soul (1986), Conqueror (1988), and the live album Bringing It Back Home (1989).
Following their last Word Records release, Twinkie resumed her calling as a minister and recorded the independent solo album Comin' Home in 1992. Jacky, Dorinda, and Karen performed as a trio, signing with Sparrow Records and delivering the album Miracle in 1994. Karen delivered her solo debut Finally Karen in 1997 which was nominated for a Grammy and won a Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. She has also released 2nd Chance, The Heavens Are Telling, and It's Not Over. Dorinda released her solo album, Dorinda Clark-Cole in 2002, earning her two Stellar awards, and a Soul Train Lady of Soul award. Dorinda also released Live in Houston and Take It Back, each of which earned Dorinda female Vocalist of the Year at the annual Stellar Awards. Jacky released Expectancy in 2005.
They reunited in 2006 resulting in the acclaimed album Live One Last Time, recorded in July 2006, before a sell-out crowd of 6,000 in Houston George R. Brown Convention Center. Since the release of Live One Last Time, the Clark Sisters have been the recipient of many awards. They received four Gospel Stellar Awards for Gospel Artist of the Year, Gospel Group or Duo of the Year, CD of the Year, and Traditional Group/Duo of the Year.
On February 10, 2008 the Clark Sisters received three Grammy Awards for Best Traditional Gospel Album, Best Gospel Performance, and Best Gospel Song (foR&Blessed and Highly Favored composed by Karen Clark Sheard). They also had the honor of performing at the 50th Grammy Awards with the legendary Aretha Franklin.