DG.com: Hi Kierra! It’s a pleasure to do this interview with you. Do you remember how old you were when you started singing?

Sheard: I don’t remember how old I was.

: Did you want a singing career or did you have other aspirations?

Sheard: When I was younger, I was pretty much into doing everything. I was into doing nails. I wanted to do your hair. I wanted to play basketball. I was cheerleading. I was doing some of everything. I realized after I got older and as I became more involved in church and realized what Christ was all about, what ministry was all about. Having those type of things give you a much better understanding of what ministry and God can do through you. That happened when I was about 14. That’s when I began to understand what was the deal. Watching my mom when she was taking me out on the road. I said, okay, I think I enjoy doing this. You know, going to different cities and meeting new people and just going to help somebody or encourage them. So that happened when I was about 14. But I did have other things I wanted to get into.

: Not only did your last CD “I Owe You” debut at #1, but you went international by going to #1 on Japan’s radio chart. What was that experience like and how did that feel?

Sheard: It was definitely a blessing. It was hard for me to believe because you know, even though I do the things that I do, the Lord still gave me a chance. He didn’t have to choose me. I know he could’ve given this opportunity to somebody else. It didn’t just have to be me. I just thank God. It was really an experience for me. It was real hard for me to believe it. Everybody was saying why aren’t you so excited about it. Well, I got to get over it first. I got to see it for myself. But Of course, I gave all thanks and praise to God for him making a way for me at such a young age. I’m just excited it’s just a blessing. I’m so speechless when it comes to talking about a record going over into Japan. It’s just God. It’s crazy! I’m just like what do you mean charts? I’m just excited about it.

DG.com: How would you describe your relationship with God? Being just 18 years old?

Sheard: My relationship as of now, I feel like I’m close to him, but I feel like I’m getting closer. I feel like you’re never too close to him. I find myself maturing spiritually because I’m reading my bible on my own. And when I’m in my room I’m noticing that the television has been off a lot lately. Usually your parents say you need to turn off that television and do your homework or something. Yet I find myself turning it off, not even having it on. I began praying to myself or reading the bible and not watching the television. Actually I’ve been finding a lot of things in the bible that I can relate to even though its in biblical terms. Its been helping me to get closer to Jesus and him helping me get through the many situations that we go through in life. I would say that I’m close to him, but I want to be closer. I want to touch him and I want him to get close to me. I think that’s what I’m doing as of now.

: What would you say to your generation about being saved? How important is it to being saved young?

Sheard: It’s very important because with our young generation today the enemy is really after us. I think that he knows a lot of us have visions and goals that we want to accomplish. Maybe getting out of the neighborhood or getting away from those who discourage us or breaking us down. I think that by us being young people we now know we can make moves, or go to school doing the things that we have to do. I think that it is important to be saved. A lot of us are just growing, making new friends. I’ve been studying about spirits transferring. We take that for granted. A lot of us we overlook it. Spirits do transfer and you have to be careful about who you might hang around with. You may be around someone who has a demonic or witchcraft spirit on them and it can easily get on to you. It is very important for us to be saved and be in tune with God. We need the power and authority to defeat the enemy. So I won’t be walking around looking crazy looking like smoke is coming out of my head. It’s important to be saved and have a relationship with Christ and having him in your life, having his favor in your life, there’re nothing like it. He will lead you and guide you. Life is just much better trying to live a saved life. We are human and we all make mistakes, but due to God’s faithfulness there is no telling where we would’ve been without his grace and mercy. I think it is very important to be saved and try your best, at least, to try to make some changes and have a relationship with Christ. It’s time for us to be separated from worldly things and making better decisions. I think it is very important.

DG.com: Do you feel your music is your ministry?

Sheard: Definitely! Of course with what God has taken me through. I think that the Lord has taken me through certain situations and experiences that I didn’t want to go through or that I tried to prevent myself from going through. I believe I went through those things to help another young person. And at the same time it made me stronger. I learned that life isn’t easy but if you have the anointing on your life you learn the ways he has for you is not easy, whether you are doing good or bad. At times you have to encourage yourself. At times everybody, your parents, and your friends will not be there. Sometimes I realize that it is a lowly road when you are walking in the light of Christ.

: Sometimes.

Sheard: Exactly! It almost gets to the point where its all the time and you have to just say the enemy is really after you. I can honestly say that the Lord has made a way for me. I realized that I’m kinda dropping off friends because some people do not appreciate my vision. Others may not think I’m worthy of what God is doing for me. So it’s just important to stay prayed up. But I do think my ministry is my music. That’s how I reach out to the young people. Once we get to a concert that’s my chance to say look here God has this in store, God has that in store for you and this song is meant to encourage you.

: Do you think your music has a spiritual impact on your generation or on all people?

Sheard: Most of all my generation. But I want to speak to everybody. I believe if God has given someone a word that it shouldn’t be just limited to just one crowd. If it can help somebody else get through whatever they’ve been going through then it needs to be sent to them. But I want to reach most of all my generation, specifically those who have not been raised in the church or who have no clue of what church is, or whatever it is. I don’t want to limit my music to the four walls of what we call church music, I want to get out to people who don’t know who Jesus Christ is.

: That’s awesome! That’s awesome!

Sheard: Thank you.

: You have a talented musical family. Who would you say are your top three or four musical influences?

Sheard: I would have to say my mom. My father has had a great impact on my career. I love my Daddy and he is my hero. I’m a Daddy’s girl. I just watch my Daddy. I don’t think he realizes that I’m watching him as much as I do. He is just a great person to me. He is my spiritual leader naturally. But believe it or not my Daddy helped me write a couple of the songs I’ve written because I’ve stolen little things from some of his messages. So I would have to say my father and my parents basically. My Auntie Dorinda has had a powerful impact on me. I don’t think she knows that either. My auntie is a great woman of God. She has been my Auntie and I can go to her and kick it with her like you know what I’ve been going through with this knucklehead and I don’t know what to do. She will kick it with me like on niece and auntie terms. I have to say my Auntie because she not only lets me kick it with her personally, but musically as far as my career. She has given me a little write when she was doing the “I’m Still Here” record. Also, Mary J. Blige is my favorite.

: What was it like working with your brother?

Sheard: It’s fun – me and J. Drew. We’ve matured into great people because we used to argue all the time. My mom said you two need to get in the studio and try to work together. I used to say momma I don’t think it’s going to work because we can’t get along, it’s not going to work. But that’s just something you go through with your sibling, as you’re younger. As I mature I prayed Lord I want to be closer to my brother. I value the relationship that I have with my brother. When we get together in the studio its like something comes over us because we just flow so well. Just to see how he’s so young. He’s younger than me, and just to see how God has given him this unique gift to create a sound that nobody else has. We have different producers and everybody has their own unique sound and style. He is only 16 and he’s been doing this since he was 13. You know he’s in basketball and he is so talented when it comes to basketball. But when it comes to music its like how do you come up with these chords. So I just say that our chemistry is just great. I love being in the studio with my brother to see how we work. He tells me you shouldn’t sing that right there. You should do this. It’s just great I love working with my brother.

DG.com: What is different about your new CD – “This Is Me?” What can we expect?

Sheard: Well, I’ve been walking around telling everybody that I’ve matured naturally and spiritually. You know I mentioned a couple of times how I’ve grown from a young lady into a young woman. My writing skills have matured and it’s more of myself writing on this record. I’m doing some co-producing. It’s a lot more of myself and I have a fuller understanding of how the business works and all that good stuff. Things are not always going to go my way as far as choosing the songs and stuff like that. But this record is great and I called it “This is Me” because the music is a new sound. It’s a sound I would appreciate if it was recorded by another artist. I would have my same appreciation. It’s just my type of music. I listen to rapping, RB, I listen to jazz. I listen to everything. I included all of it in my new album. There’s a little bit of me rapping. It’s really personal. I’m singing from the bottom of my heart. On a lot of these songs I was crying in the studio. This record is just awesome. I’m excited about it.

: Well Kierra, before we wrap-up would you like to give any advice to anyone who wants to enter the music industry?

Sheard: My advise to aspiring new artists is most of all keep your head up and know that the enemy is going to be out to attack you. You have to really seek God and ask him to give you the power and strength to walk this rocky road. Most of all keep God first and being faithful to your own ministry. I was taught you have to crawl before you walk. Even to this day when I’m home I sing in the choir. If they tell me to wear all black, I wear all black. If they tell me to put on my robe, I put on my robe. I try my best to make it to all the rehearsals. It’s just important to keep God first, pray, and seek him.

: Do you plan on just singing gospel?

Sheard: Yes. Of course it has crossed my mind to do R&B and go over into the world. I’m not even going to lie because that’s something I have thought about. But as I mature and sing about what God has done for me and my family. He’s delivered some folks, and healed others in the family. I just have it set up in my mind – why would I go do something he doesn’t want me to if he gave me the gift why can’t I just do his work. So I just decided to be pleasing in his sight. You know we do a lot of the little things we do. That’s with me being a gospel artist. You know if you do this—why can’t you just stay as pleasing as possible. So gospel is what I want to do.