Chart Beat

Kierra Sheard Halts Kanye West's 6-Month Reign on Top Gospel Albums Chart

Mel Elder


"Kierra" bows as her fifth No. 1.

Gospel music star Kierra Sheard's new LP Kierra bounds in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart, dated May 2. The set earned 6,000 equivalent album units, including 3,000 in album sales, in the week ending April 23, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Kierra marks the first new No. 1 on Top Gospel Albums since Kanye West's first entry in the genre, Jesus Is King, which debuted atop the list dated Nov. 9, 2019, and governed the chart for 25 frames. (West's first-week haul of 264,000 units for the set marks a record for the survey.)

Sheard earns her fifth Top Gospel Albums No. 1, all of which have arrived at the summit. She last led with Graceland, her most recent LP before Kierra, in August 2014.

"It's been several years since my last album, so I'm thankful that the music and the messages are resonating with people," Sheard tells Billboard. "I pray that Kierra inspires everyone that hears it to rely on their faith. The response has been amazing and I'm excited and truly grateful."

Sheard's other three Top Gospel Albums No. 1s: debut entry I Owe You (two weeks, 2004); This Is Me (one, 2006); and Free (one, 2011).

Sheard wrote or co-wrote all 15 songs on Kierra, which sports a mix of studio cuts and live tracks recorded in her hometown of Detroit.

Concurrently, Sheard scores her sixth Hot Gospel Songs top 10, as the new set's "Something Has to Break," featuring Tasha Cobbs Leonard (who adds her 12th top 10), flies in at No. 9. The song drew 1 million U.S. streams in the tracking week and sold 3,000 downloads. It enters at No. 1 on Gospel Digital Song Sales, awarding Sheard her second leader and Cobbs Leonard her fifth.

Also a skilled actress, Sheard is the daughter of Karen Clark Sheard of legendary gospel quartet The Clark Sisters. The former portrayed her mother in the biopic The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel, which premiered on the Lifetime network on April 11.