Grammy-nominated recording artist, actress and fashion designer Kierra Sheard is hitting the road for her anticipated summer tour “Bridges,” but this time around she is traveling solo with an all-girl band selected through social media online auditions. After the recent release of her latest project, LED EP, the music veteran is excited to reconnect on stage with her fans singing all her greatest hits from the past decade.
In addition to her hectic tour schedule, Sheard is launching her new app,”UNLOCK MY WORLD” where she will provide her supporters with exclusive photos, live video streams, music covers and more. The app is available to subscribers on both Apple and Android devices. Rolling out caught up with Sheard to hear more on what’s happening behind the scenes with the tour and she shares why this moment in her career is so special for her.
What sparked the concept behind your “Bridges” tour?
It’s my first headlining tour and I’m really excited about just being able to be myself and not have to filter so much. Hopefully, the following that will be there to see Kierra and, of course, to see God most of all. I’m not going to try to filter anything. I’m not going to try to change anything. I’m going to really be myself. I’m going to do other songs that I’ve been wanting to do for the longest. I’m just excited about this refreshing and transparent experience. I’m going to say things that I can’t always say in certain situations or certain kinds of buildings. You know churches and stuff like that.
What made you use social media as a tool to select your all-female band for the tour?
I decided to go this route because so many of us are building brands and I think that we tend to forget the power that’s in social media. I’ve heard other major celebrity artists who have chosen their makeup artists from social media. I wanted to give someone who may not have direct access or who may not have heard of virtual auditions period. I want to give people who have never had the opportunity that opportunity. There are more of us that are sitting on our phones, so to see an opportunity come across your phone will make you want to jump on this. A lot of the women that had sent in auditions had already been on a stage with Beyonce but some of the young ladies have the gift but they’ve never gone on the road. The only people that they’ve actually played in front of were inside of their churches. They’re really excited and it’s so refreshing to have people on the road with you that really appreciate this. Some of us have been doing this for so many years that we lose appreciation and respect for our craft and for the opportunity. We kind of just come in with you gotta pay me this and you gotta pay me that and all of these demands. We never really say I’m just thankful to even be here. I pray that I have no crazy people on the road with me. [laughs]
What was the process like of putting together your first solo tour?
It’s really a lot. This is a faith step for me. The tour is called the “Bridges” tour. With me being a Christian artist, I’ve been very limited with my outlets because a lot of people are like Christian music but are okay from it and don’t want to hear it. My ways of connecting with my following have been through limited radio and most of all social media and just going in and out of cities to connect with them. Seeing the responses on social media and seeing how people think and say that they don’t know that it’s very possible to bridge this gap between faith and real life. So many people act like because I’m a believer I have to leave this part of my life behind. God wants us to come as we are and He wants to talks to us on the level that we are on. I wanted to do something different.
What will the tour consist of?
The tour is going to consist of a panel discussion. We’re going to talk about relationships and building our brands. I always pray and ask the Lord to give me wisdom so I can speak to married women. We are going to have those kinds of conversations because there is healing in those conversations. The tour is very different. We’re going to do the panel discussion and then we’re going to do the music. I will also be doing covers. I’ll be doing Janet Jackson’s “Control” and I’ll do Jill Scott’s “Hate On Me” but then I’m going to go deep into my archive of music from when I was like fourteen singing those songs as well. Having all of these elements apart of the tour is very cost effective because you have to get bands the instruments. Some of the clubs didn’t want us in there. It’s been a bit of a task but I’m ready for it. It’s a faith step for me. I feel that people’s lives will be restored and they will leave from knowing that they can be a believer and still live their life but with a standard so I’m hoping that people will leave will that most of all.
What is the most pivotal message you want your fans to take away from the tour?
I would definitely say now that I’ve set here and thought. I want them to leave knowing that God will buy them at full price. He doesn’t want to buy us at a discounted rate. We don’t have to discount ourselves and being loved the way we want to be loved is very possible. I’m hoping that they’ll leave with the mindset of saying that I’m going to put God as a priority. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God wants our future to be beautiful and have hope and his plans for us is not a disaster. Once we include him, we will find that life is so much better and so much easier. I’m hoping they will leave just feeling restored and refreshed and just inspired to go after whatever dream that they have. Also, to tap into a better awareness of their purpose but most of all to not discount ourselves.
What was your inspiration for creating your app and what does it include?
My mom has an app and she is just not using it. It just kind of goes with her age, of course. We are dealing with a generation that is tech savvy and, of course, all of the Kardashians have apps and I’m like obsessed with them. I love them. It kind of makes us feel connected. I have some followers and some strong supporters who are always asking what’s next. We recorded the whole season of a reality show but it didn’t come back so I wanted to connect with them. They want to know what’s going on and what I’m doing next. I did this app, which includes videos, personal journal pieces, and live streaming. Inside of the app, I’ve chosen songs that I’ve wanted to sing or wanted to re-do because I could relate to it. It was a place that I have been in my life. I dated this boy who was very irritating. I kind of made myself a wife to this guy that was only able to make me his girlfriend. I reveal all my secrets. I am very transparent inside of the app and I just wanted to connect hoping to inspire. The app is available for both Apple and Android.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I have a plus size clothing line and that too is in the app. Not too long ago we did a live stream of me in Korea. They saw me in Korea then I had to come back and they wanted to see what I came back from Korea with. I showed them the designs that are for next season and I let them weigh in on to see which pieces they like best, so they kind of advised me on prices and stuff like that. The plus size clothing line is all Eleven 60 and it’s named after my mother’s birthday, which is November 1960. It’s just a plus size clothing line there to complement the full-figured woman. It’s doing really well. They’re even more inspired and excited as well to see that I am building this from the ground up. That is a project that I am currently working on and then, of course, the tour and the app keeps me busy. I am getting ready to get back working on music. We’re trying to put out a single so that we can exclusively have it for the tour. It’s always things going on with me.