|Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark|
|Birth name||Elbernita Clark|
|Born||November 15, 1954|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, organist, pianist|
|Instruments||vocals, organ, piano|
|Labels||Sound of Gospel, Tyscot, Crystal Rose, Tribute, Verity, EMI Gospel|
|Associated acts||The Clark Sisters, Dorinda Clark Cole, Jacky Clark Chisholm, Karen Clark Sheard|
|Ivory Hammond Super CX-1, Hammond B3 Organ, Piano|
Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark is a two-time Grammy award–winning American gospel singer, composer, musician, and evangelist. She is a member of The Clark Sisters, an influential gospel vocal ensemble active since the late 1960s.
The Clark Sisters
She has been dubbed "Queen of the Hammond Ivory Super CX-1 & Hammond B-3 organs" and "The Mother Of Contemporary Gospel." She is a musician, songwriter, arranger, producer and vocalist. Elbernita "Twinkie" Clark-Terrell has been the force that shaped the sound that has become the Clark Sisters' hallmark (more affectionately known as the 'Clark Sound') since their mother Mattie Moss Clark turned over control of the group to her in the early 1970s.
Twinkie has written and/or arranged over 200 songs that have been recorded by the likes of Donald Lawrence & The Tri City Singers, James Cleveland, Dave Hollister,Kelly Price, Rev. Donald Vails and others. Richard Smallwood, Jennifer Holiday, Kim Burrell, Shirley Murdoch, Donald Lawrence, R&B singer Coko and Fred Hammond count Twinkie was influences/inspirations. An accomplished pianist and organist, Twinkie received her formal musical training at the Howard University in Washington, D.C. According to sister Jacky Clark-Chisholm, their mother, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, began training Twinkie on the piano as an infant and by the age of four, she could play full songs.
Around the age of nine, Twinkie began showing interest in the organ and began training. At 12, she made her professional debut as an organist on the Southwest Michigan State Choir's album A Closer Walk with Thee. Twinkie would serve as Dr. Clark's personal organist until Dr. Clark's death in 1994.
In the early 1970s, while still a teen, Twinkie began to compose songs. Some of her early compositions and arrangements were featured on her mother's choir and workshop albums and were a contemporary contrast to her mother's more traditional style. Early Twinkie Clark songs include "That Shall He Also Reap", "The King Of Glory Shall Come In" and "If My People"(all recorded by Mattie Moss Clark & the Southwest Michigan State Choir in the early to mid 1970s. Her blend of classical, jazz, blues, traditional and modern chords and riffs, atop a hard and punctuating bass line were a vehicle for the development and popularization of the "Cogic sound".
Twinkie's organ sound can be heard on such albums as the Cogic International Choir's Because He Lives(1978), Cogic International Choir's I can do all things(1979), Mattie Moss Clark and The Michigan State Community Choir's I am Crucified with CHRIST(1978), Mattie Moss Clark Presents: Southwest Michigan State Choir sings again, UNAC 1977 Vol. 5(1977), among others.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Twinkie co-wrote and produced two solo projects for her mother: I am not alone(1979) and Make me that Building not made by Hand(1980).
In 1979, she contributed to Rev. Charles Nicks most successful album, He's so Real. Twinkie and Rev. Nicks duetted on the title track, which would be his biggest hit. Largely an instrumental affair, Twinkie was featured prominently on the piano on the album as showcased on the songs "Medley: Everything Must Change, Since Jesus Came Into My Heart, I'll Never Be The Same Again" and "Without A Song."
That same year, Sound of Gospel records approached Twinkie about recording a solo album. Her first solo record, titled Praise belongs to God, is a contemporary piece that patches together traditional Gospel sounds along with the influences of contemporary jazz, disco and ragtime which also featured the first national exposure of a then unknown Ronald and Marvin Winans. Her take on the hymn "Fountain Filled With Blood" was a staple on Gospel airwaves in the late 1970s.
As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, Twinkie gained increasing notoriety through the popularity of The Clark Sisters albums He gave me Nothing to Lose(1979), Is my Living in Vain(1980), You brought the sunshine(1981) and Sincerely(1982). Those albums featured the Twinkie penned classics; "Nothing To Lose", "Is My Living In Vain", "Pure Gold", "Expect A Miracle", "Name It Claim It", "Endow Me", "Walking In The Spirit" and the Clark Sisters crossover smash "You Brought The Sunshine."
In the summer of 1981, "Is My Living In Vain" stayed atop the Billboard Gospel Songs chart for 13 weeks while the accompanying album would hit #1 and remain there for over a year. The summer of 1983 brought more success as "You Brought The Sunshine" became a national phenomenon and netted Twinkie and the Clark Sisters a Gold album. In the midst of this success, Twinkie wrote and recorded another solo LP titled Ye shall receive Power. In the mid-1980s came up with the idea to merge rap and Gospel in the song Computers rule the World featuring rapper Melle Mel. When presented to the record label, they rejected that notion, thinking that audiences were not ready for hip hop incorporated into Gospel. The label relented and few years later, the song turned up on the 1988 Clark Sisters album CONQUEROR.
Twinkie wrote and produced three more albums for the Clark Sisters: 1986s Heart and Soul, 1988 Conqueror and 1989 Bringing it back Home-live. From those albums "Jesus Is A Love Song", "Pray For The USA", "Balm In Gilead", Jesus Forevermore", "My Redeemer Liveth" and "For The Love Of The People" were played on air. Twinkie amassed other hits in the 1980s ("I Tried Him And I Know Him", "The Anointing Breaks The Yoke", "Lord Let Me Hear From Heaven") from her continued songwriting on her mother's convention records.
Twinkie left the Clark Sisters in 1989 to focus on ministry and family. She continued her solo career with 1992 Comin Home, 1996 Masterpiece, 2002 Twinkie clark and friends live in Charlotte, 2004 Home Once Again and 2011 With Humility In 1997, Twinkie was featured on the COGIC International Choir's Leaning on Jesus album on the hit duet with Richard "Mr Clean" White's "Accept What God Allows" and in 1996, she produced the album Twinkie Clark Terrell presents the Famu Gospel Choir which was a staple on the Gospel charts well into 1997.
Twinkie and the Clark Sisters were inducted into the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999. The Clark Sisters received high honors at the 2007 Stellar Awards when they were presented with the award for Most Notable Achievement. Twinkie reunited with The Clark Sisters on July 8, 2006 to record a new live album, The Clark Sisters did a live recording in Houston, Texas entitled Live... One Last Time. The recording was released as a CD on April 10, 2007 on EMI Gospel, followed by a CD/DVD Special Edition release June 19, 2007. In support of the reunion album, The Clark Sisters embarked on a 25-city Concert Tour . On January 16, 2009 Twinkie Clark was honored at the 10th Annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards Luncheon Friday, January 16 in Nashville, TN
Since leaving The Clark Sisters she has recorded several solo albums intermittently including Comin' Home, Masterpiece ( Produced by top gospel/jazz artist and musician, Ben Tankard. In 2002, she recorded her first live solo album Live in Charlotte. Twinkie's son John Terrell raps on the album. Its success warranted another live effort, the Asaph Ward-produced Home Once Again: Live in Detroit, two years later. She also released a collaboration project with the Florida A&M University Gospel Choir called Twinkie Clark-Terrell Presents the Florida A&M University Gospel Choir which also was a mainstay in the Billboard Gospel top 10 in late 1996.
Clark's influences include jazz, reggae, classical, funk and blues. This is evidenced by listening to her first two solo albums Praise Belongs To God and Ye Shall Receive Power recorded for Sound of Gospel Records while still with The Clark Sisters.
- Praise Belongs To God (Sound of Gospel, 1979)
- Ye Shall Receive Power (Sound of Gospel, 1981)
- Comin' Home (Tyscot, 1992) (#40 US Gospel)
- Masterpiece (Tribute/Verity, 1996) (#19 US Gospel)
- Twinkie Clark-Terrell presents FAMU Gospel Choir (Crystal Rose, 1996) (#10 US Gospel)
- Twinkie Clark and Friends: Live In Charlotte N.C. (Verity, 2002) (#10 US Gospel)
- Home Once Again: Live In Detroit (Verity, 2004) (#66 US R&B/Hip-Hop) (#9 US Gospel)
- Praise & Worship (Verity/Legacy, 2006) (Compilation)
- With Humility (Larry Clark Gospel, 2011) (#14 US Gospel)
- Live and Unplugged 2013 (#16 US Gospel)
- "Power"(Ye Shall Receive Power) 1979
- "You Brought The Sunshine" (The Clark Sisters) (1981)
- "Balm In Gilead" (Karen Clark Sheard) (1997)
- "I Tried Him And I Know Him" (Mattie Moss Clark) (1986)
- "Something New" (The Clark Sisters) (2007)
- "Is My Living in Vain"(The Clark Sisters) (1980)
- "Awesome"(Masterpiece)" (1996)
- "Bless You Real Good" (Masterpiece)" (1996)
- " Worship the King" (Twinkie and Friends:Live in Charlotte) (2001)
- " Everything You Need is Right Here" (Home Once Again:Live In Detroit) (2004)
- " God's Got A Blessing" With Humility (2011)
- " Awesome God" With Humility (2011)
- " I Can Do All Things Through Christ"(The Clark Sisters) (1976)
The Clark Sisters: Live one last time
- Gay, Gregory (September 1, 2005). "Twinkie Clark -- A Look Back". GospelFlava.com.
- Heron, Christopher (July 13, 2001). "An Interview with Twinkie Clark". GospelCity.com.
- "Twinkie Clark - Home Once Again... Live In Detroit". GospelCity.com.
- Percy, Damon (July 2006). "Clark Sisters Live Recording Recap". GospelFlava.com.
- Clark, Melanie (August 2002). "Twinkie Clark Live in Charlotte Album Review". GospelFlava.com.
- Official Clark Sisters website
- Watch Out Twink Fan Club
- Twinkie Clark and The Clark Sisters Youtube Video Channel
- Twinkie Clark at AllMusic
- Verity Records website