Through the 1980′s, the Clark Sisters had the most exciting and talked about stage show in the entire gospel field. There were no laser lights and no big rig props, it was just the girls and their band, and they never ceased to turn whatever church they entered inside out and upside down. As astounding as their biggest hit records such as “My Redeemer Liveth,” Is My Living in Vain” and their R&B breakthrough “You brought the Sunshine” were on wax, they paled in comparison to the colors the sisters rinsed them in concert. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the Clark Sisters’ sic and intricate vocalizing have influenced the vocal style of Mariah Carey, Faith Evans, Exscape, Kelly Price, Mary Mary, Kenny Lattimore, and Smokie Norful, among others.
The Clark Sister’s mother, the legendary Mattie Moss Clark, was the president of the music department for the Church of God In Christ (COGIC) and coached and recorded choirs around the country for years. She dragged her children with her and pushed her daughters to sing just as her own mother had pushed her to play the piano years before. The five Clark sisters (Jacky, Twinkie, Denise, Dorinda, and Karen) were reared in Detroit and professionally assembled as a group in 1973.
Perfectionist extraordinaire Mattie would even awaken the girls in the middle of the night if she felt the Lord had given her a song. While this was hard on the girl’s playtime, it was also hard on the singers in Mattie’s choirs, who often complained behind her back that Mattie favored her daughters over other singers. If she was teaching a choir and they couldn’t get the song right, Mattie would call her daughters out and have them flawlessly sing a song they had probably learned, sleepy-eyed, in the middle of the night.