Interviews

Twinkie Clark

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Photos courtesy of www.theclarksisters.com

Clark Sisters The Clark Sisters are easily the most popular Gospel group not to release an album in the last 10 years. Their status in the industry is comparable to the most treasured American artist in contemporary music - Aretha Franklin.

To sum it up in a few words, it's pure respect and admiration for their contribution, skills and influence on another generation of singers.

No surprise the legendary Clark Sisters & the Queen of Soul remain friends to this day, back in Motown.

Think about it. If one were to leak the announcement for an upcoming release or nationwide tour featuring Gospel's best-known female group, you'd likely create the kind of hype most Marketing Directors for a record label would hope to achieve, just once in a lifetime.

Apart from their lonesome collaboration on Miracles (Sparrow) back in '94, the Clark Sisters have taken separate career paths in more recent years...each sister evolving and maturing into a trustworthy soloist that new fans of Gospel music can enjoy.

Perhaps this scenario may be a sense of solace for some, but for the authentic Gospel fan, few episodes in life would generate greater pleasure than to witness Twinkie, Jackie, Dorinda & Karen all joined on stage but for a few moments, as they appease an appreciative audience with a blast from the past with treasures like "Is My Living In Vain" or "You Brought The Sunshine".

In the meantime, we decided it was in our best interest to see how the sisters were doing.

With illness affecting the family, sisters on the verge of releasing new CD's and still more rumors of a reunion album, we thought we'd nip all the talk in the bud with a heart-to-heart with our friend, Twinkie.

As the front-person, writer and producer for most of The Clark Sisters' music and success, it was easy to assume she'd have the most to say. We hope you agree.

Twinkie Clark Christopher Heron: Let's start by asking you about the retreat you're coordinating - the Ministers and Evangelists Retreat 2001. I believe it's your first seminar of this magnitude.

What is your inspiration in bringing all of these spiritual and musical leaders together to Detroit?

Twinkie Clark: Well, the Lord put it on my heart - invite all musicians, ministers of music and evangelists from all over who are serving in some capacity of ministry. Invite them so they can be inspired, seek the Lord for a greater anointing to go out and minister.

The Lord laid it on my heart to reach out to the singers, musicians and recording artists. After giving out in ministry, sometimes you need to be poured back into. It's my prayer they will come and be uplifted.

So August 9-11, we'll be having classes during the day. And we have some people who said they would give their support and come teach in areas of ministry and music.

CH: And what would you like to see accomplished in this seminar over the weekend?

TC: That's a very deep question. What I would like to see is a spirit of oneness so we can all come together, share and go back revived, renewed and refreshed to minister with a greater anointing.

CH: Can an artist such as the legendary Twinkie Clark, who's seen everything there is to see in Gospel music, still find inspiration watching incredible speakers and ministers of music like Prophetess Juanita Bynum and the charismatic Ricky Dillard?

TC: Absolutely! I feel these people have gone past my limit as far as evangelist Bynum; she's traveling worldwide. She does a lot here in the States but she's going out.

She's walking through all denominations and all nationalities; it's just a blessing to see her reaching out.

Ricky has inspired a lot of up and coming choir directors, ministers of music and recording artists with his style. He has a very unique style that reaches out to old and young.

twinkie Clark CH: Who are some of the other special personalities that will be in attendance?

TC: Well, I'm hoping at least one or two of my sisters (who are very, very busy right now) will be coming to the event.

We also invited pastors to share about their ministers of music being sensitive to the spirit of their pastors in order to have the appropriate music etc.

It's important - my mother always taught me to be in tune with the pastor. That way you can feel the spirit of the people.

CH: Twinkie, you are a veteran in the industry; you've seen it all and done most of what there is to do in Gospel and church ministry. What would you personally like to impart to those coming up in the ministry of music?

TC: Thank you for giving me respect as a veteran minister of music. I think from being under my mother and father's teaching (they were kinda strict) but after awhile they let us spread our wings and get out there on our own.

My mother [Mattie Moss-Clark] realized how important it was for us to have the anointing. We could get up there and showboat all we wanted to, do all the good runs and rips with our voices. But if we weren't anointed, if didn't have the Word in us, if we didn't live by the Word then our singing was just going out the window.

It's important to have the anointing because it destroys the yoke. It helps you deal with the spirit, the mind and the needs of the people. When the people come with burdens, problems, weights and shackles, through the singing all of that stuff can be broken off of them.

My word today is because of the anointing the yoke is destroyed, so whatever you're being burdened with, as long as you seek Him, you have the anointing and can be set free.

CH: You see so many young people today pursuing a career in recording Gospel music or as a professional choir director. Do you have a sense that they're getting all kinds of acclaim and marketing attention, yet they're not conscious about being anointed in their music?

TC: I'm afraid they're not; that's a very, very touchy situation because, yes, they've gone out too far. I think we have gospel singers now being more worldly and even their presentation is commercial.

They're marketing to a worldly crowd out there; they don't have any standard for holiness or godliness. If you have a gift, the Bible speaks of having the anointing. Some people are so gifted when they open their mouth or when they play, when they write. You hear some good quality music.

Yet they don't see the importance of seeking God for the Spirit, being led by the Lord when they write their music, how to present themselves on stage, what to wear and we're not gonna even talk about how to live.

It just goes back to the old school, getting back into that Word and having some kind of prayer life. I think I'm very excited about where gospel is going because you can't reach everybody being old school either.

To a certain extent you have to have some contemporary music, but, on the other hand, you have to be led by the Spirit to know how far to go with your delivery and presentation.

CH: There has been so much talk in different circles about the health of your sister Karen (Clark-Sheard), how is she doing now?

TC: Actually, it's a miracle how the Lord has brought her. She is recovering very well; right now she has to take it slow and easy. The doctor says she's gonna have to stay put for awhile and not overdo it.

 Twinkie Clark Slowly but surely she's getting around much better, making a lot of progress with the prayers of the saints. With the support of her husband and the people at their church, they had a 24-hour prayer vigil on her behalf.

She did have us worried there for awhile; we weren't getting much movement from her but she's coming back around now.

CH: There's much optimism about your sister Dorinda's (Clark-Cole) soon-to-come release on Gospo Centric Records; are you excited?

TC: Absolutely yes! This is Dorinda's first solo recording and we're real excited. It was a live recording and we got tremendous support from all over. People flew in from everywhere to support her. We know that the people are gonna love it.

CH: Will it sound like Dorinda?

TC: Oh yeah. But you're gonna see something a little different, because she has something for everybody: a praise song, a little praise and worship, some contemporary, something with the choir backing her and a solo. Dorinda, to me, is good with the rhythm; she's good with that beat, anything that has that beat she knows how to really work.

CH: I hope there's at least one song with all the Clark Sisters singing together?

TC: Yeah we did back her up on, I think it was, one or two.

CH: Enough can't be said about the fact you have not recorded in some time. Are you planning to change that any time soon?

TC: I'll probably do just one more and from that point I'd like to write and produce other people; I'm looking forward to that. I just want to concentrate on writing. You'll be hearing something soon.

CH: How soon is soon, Twinkie?

TC: I would say no later than the end of the year.

Evangelist Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark presents...

Ministers and Evangelists Retreat 2001

When: August 9-11, 2001

Time: 11 am-1:00 pm Daily Seminars
7:00 pm nightly services

Place: Hill Memorial COGIC
5501 Chase Road
Dearborn, Michigan 48335
Elder Hill, Pastor
(313) 246-4674

(Tentative) Nightly Speakers:
August 10, 2001 - Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Perfecting Church
August 11, 2001 - Prophetess Juanita Bynum, Juanita Bynum Ministries

(Tentative) Musical Guests:
Ricki Dillard and New G
The Clark Sisters
Michael Fletcher & The Chorale
The Thomas Whitfield Company
Anton Foster & Chemistry
...others

Thursday, August 9, 2001
Pre Musical: Various local recording artists

(Tentative) Daily Seminar Speakers:
Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark
Damien Sneed, Long Island, New York
Emile Tedford, Perfecting Church
Ben Whitfield, Whitfield & Associates
Michael Powell, Vanguard Studio
Evangelist Faith Brooks, St. Paul COGIC
Michael Bennett, Los Angeles, CA
Brian Spears/Angela Peterson, Whitfield & Associates

Eddie Milton, 1-888-365-0000 ext.2814



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