In addition to dropping new album “Bold Right Life,” which debuted this week at No. 3 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart, Kierra Sheard has dropped 86 pounds and her childhood nickname Kiki. It’s all part of Sheard coming into her own as a contemporary gospel artist and a young adult woman.

“Everybody would say that’s little Kiki, Karen’s daughter,” Sheard tells
Billboard. Her mother is Karen Clark Sheard, a member of the famed
gospel group The Clark Sisters. “But I’m a woman now,” she continues. “I want people to hear what I have to say when I minister and not think of me as a little girl.”

Taking its name from Sheard’s youth organization in Detroit, “Bold Right Life” (EMI Gospel) marks the 22-year-old’s third studio album. The 11-track set includes collaborations with producers Warryn Campbell, Gerald Haddon, PAJAM, Asaph Ward and Sheard’s brother J. Drew Sheard Jr. A powerful mix of R&B/hip-hop, pop, rock and traditional gospel, the album shifts from a hot uptempo beat (opener “Won’t Hold Back”) to pop (“My Boyfriend”) then to rock (“Invisible”) and traditional (“Praise Him Now”).

The Grammy-nominated singer and Dove and Stellar Award winner has entered her junior year at Detroit’s Wayne State University where she’s majoring in English with later plans to earn an entertainment law degree. Last November she started a regimen of diet and exercise, losing 86 pounds: “It made me a better person inside and out.”

Sheard, who did a lot of writing on “Bold Right Life,” says, “A lot of young people are bold about their favorite singer or basketball player. But when it comes to being bold about living for Christ, they back down and that bothers me. This album is about encouraging them that you can live a righteous life and still have a good time.”

Sheard’s debut album, “I Owe You,” was released by EMI Gospel in 2004 followed by 2006’ “This Is Me.”