Fearless. That one word eloquently captures the creative spirit of groundbreaking duo Mary Mary. Ever since siblings Erica Campbell and Tina Campbell broke through in 2000 with the pioneering crossover hit “Shackles (Praise You),” the chart-topping sister act has never wavered from defying convention to fulfill its mission: sending uplifting messages through music and words that are relatable to everyone.
“It’s about making music that touches both adults and young people,” says Erica. Adds Tina, “It’s about spreading good news for the world but doing it in the Mary Mary way: banging beats and melodies, intertwined voices and messages of hope.”
An amazing ten years later, having earned 3 Grammy Awards, 2 American Music Awards, an NAACP Image Award and a BET Award, the “Mary Mary way” sounds just as fresh and innovative on the duo’s sixth album, the aptly titled SOMETHING BIG (My Block/Columbia/Sony Music; March 29, 2011). This vibrant outing, once again produced by longtime collaborator Warryn Campbell, picks up where the group’s most recent mainstream success story, 2008’s The Sound and its Grammy Award-winning smash hit “God in Me,” left off.
“People ask us all the time whether we’re gospel, inspirational or trying to go pop,” says Erica. “Tina and I are artists whose music fits in so many other places. That’s always been the leading force behind each of our albums. Knowing who we are, we know each album can be different from the next.”
Born in Inglewood, CA to an evangelist/choir director mother and a youth minister father, sisters Erica and Tina Atkins—and their six other siblings—grew up singing in church choirs. After a stint studying vocal performance at local El Camino College, Erica and Tina joined the lineup of traveling gospel shows and toured as backup singers for several R&B acts.
Three years later, songwriter/producer Warryn Campbell played a pivotal role in the sisters’ career, helping them secure a song publishing deal with EMI. Soon thereafter, the pair began accumulating writing and performance credits on soundtracks and through songs recorded by various recording artists.
With their platinum-selling, Grammy-winning debut album, Thankful, Mary Mary hit a homerun, due in large part to the broad success of its first single, “Shackles (Praise You),” in 2000. Their sophomore follow-up, Incredible, was released in 2002 and was certified gold, before the group released such hits as “Heaven,” “The Real Party,” and “Yesterday” on their self-titled album, Mary Mary (2005), which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200. Their success continued with the release of an acclaimed holiday project, A Mary Mary Christmas, in 2006. It is Mary Mary’s The Sound (2008), however, that sparked Mary Mary’s best mainstream success to date, bowing at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 and No. 2 on the publication’s R&B/hip-hop chart, as well as garnering numerous awards for the album, and for its record-breaking single “God In Me.”
Yet with their tremendous accomplishments, the sisters are quick to point out that they’re driven by something far greater–“It’s not just about musical achievements, awards, charts and sales,” says Erica. “That’s not our guiding light. It’s about connecting with people and offering them real hope…hope that, ultimately, changes lives.”
“We’re committed to our message and purpose,” adds Tina. “Years later, we’re still here; our fans are still with us and our audience is still growing. We’re just so grateful to still have this opportunity.”
Erica Campbell has released two solo albums as well as seven albums with her sister as part of the dynamic duo “Mary Mary”. Campbell has received numerous awards and accolades. Her album “Help” won a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album as well as eight Stellar Awards. Campbell is the host of the new nationally syndicated radio show “Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell” that can be heard weekdays 6am-10am EST in over 40 markets, while ministering internationally. Among her entrepreneurial endeavors is the luxury hair line “Erica By Erica Campbell” which launched Christmas Day 2015 in partnership with hairstylist Vernon Martin as well as her “More Than Pretty” empowerment organization. Campbell is married to Grammy Award-winning producer and pastor of California Worship Center, Warryn Campbell II, and they have three children — Krista, Warryn III and Zaya. “Mary Mary”, the successful reality show on WE tv, returns for a sixth season in Fall 2017.
Be sure to connect with Erica on social media at @imericacampbell.
Tina Campbell, the multiple award winning soloist, multi-Grammy® winning recording artist, author, WE tv original series star, and now web series star, who, with sister Erica is one-half of the iconic Gospel duo, Mary Mary, unveils her new single, the Gospel/Pop ballad, “Too Hard Not To,” today, Friday, July 28th, on sister Erica Campbell’s nationally syndicated morning radio show Get Up! Mornings With Erica Campbell.
In the coming weeks Tina returns with her newest solo album, It’s Still Personal, the follow-up to 2015’s solo debut, It’s Personal. A re-working of the NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Gospel Album in 2016, It’s Still Personal features three new original tracks—the heart felt new single, “Too Hard Not To,” plus a rousing soulful Southern Gospel tune, “Evidence,” and the rap/hip hop tinged “We Livin.” The singer also includes a re-production of the previously recorded track “Woh, Oh, Oh.”
Along with husband Teddy Campbell and Grammy® winning producer Warryn Campbell, among others, Tina set out to create a series of new songs representing multiple musical genres, from the pop sounding, inspirational ballad, “Too Hard Not To,” to World Music/Caribbean sounds and Southern Gospel to Hip Hop and Urban Soul, to Praise & Worship, and even Country/Rock, all while shining a white-hot spotlight on her inimitable and powerful vocal range, and her ongoing impact as a songwriter/producer.
Multiple videos and new photo images were shot throughout the course of one exciting week in LA. Promotional dates coinciding with the long-awaited new single release and upcoming album are scheduled in the coming days with a full tour to follow later this fall. Cities included so far are Chicago, IL, Columbus, OH, Memphis, TN, Birmingham and Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA and other southern cities, New York, Washington, DC and Houston.
An extensive schedule of high profile media, promotional activities and special events in each of the markets are booked around the single launch. Included on the packed itinerary will be appearances on Chicago’s Windy City Live/ABC (July 31st); CBS 46 Atlanta & Peachtree TV (August 3rd); WFSA/NBC 12 News, Birmingham, AL (August 4th), WPIX Morning News, NY (August 7th), Get Up! Mornings 1 Year Anniversary Concert, NY, August 7th, at Wingate Park in Brooklyn with sister Erica, Fox’s Good Day DC (August 10th), Treasures of the Heart–A Woman’s Experience with Ylawnda Peebles in DC on August 11th, The Black Family Reunion in Cincinnati, August 20th, The World Changers Women’s Conference in Houston, September 23rd and on September 30th, the Annual Circle Of Sisters Expo in New York.
The creation and recording of It’s Still Personal will be highlighted throughout the upcoming Season 6 of Tina’s original hit WE tv series, “Mary Mary.”
“It’s a tremendous blessing to write and sing songs, and author books, and produce shows, and share my life, and communicate my faith, and fully be who I am and have the platforms on which to do so. My sole desire is to inspire, with God as my source of inspiration. I believe this new single and upcoming album, my returning reality show and web series, and all my endeavors, afford me the opportunity to do just that,” the singer stated.
The Number One debuting album It’s Personal scored double wins last year at the 31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, with Traditional Female Vocalist and Traditional CD of the Year honors, in addition to the 2016 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Gospel Album.
Along with her husband Teddy, Tina currently co-hosts the couple’s popular web series, 10 Minutes with Teddy and Tina, a bi-weekly series discussing life, love, family and faith. The series has reached over 200,000 views and counting. See below link from a recent episode.
On a final note, although Tina shares her current official Instagram page with husband Teddy, where they have over a half-million followers, because of the excitement over the new project, she has decided to create a separate and new Instagram page. Please be sure to also follow her at @iamtinacampbell