Mary Mary is a two-time Grammy award winning Platinum American gospel music duo, consisting of sisters Erica Campbell (born April 29, 1972)) and Trecina Campbell (born May 1, 1974)). The duo are often credited along with Kirk Franklin for broadening the fan base of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz. Mary Mary broke onto the music scene with their popular song Shackles (Praise You) which is considered one of the pioneering songs of urban contemporary gospel music .
Their debut album Thankful (2000) was certified Platinum. The duo has released three Gold albums: Incredible (2002), and Mary Mary (2005), which all charted #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums.
Their current release, The Sound,again was #1 on the Top Gospel Albums; as well as #7 on the Billboard 200. It has spawned two highly successful singles: Get Up and God In Me. In Spring 2009 God In Me began achieving crossover success (as Shackles had nine years earlier), reaching #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play.
They have currently been nominated as best R&B Group for the American Music Awards of 2009 .
The sisters were born Erica Atkins and Trecina Atkins. The Campbell (formerly Atkins) sisters grew up as part of a large family of nine children in Inglewood, California. Their parents are Thomasina (an evangelist and choirdirector at the Evangelistic Church of God in Christ) and Eddie (a youth minister).
The sisters quickly entered the world of church choirs, traveling gospel shows, and some television productions. All eight Atkins children were on the Bobby Jones Gospel show on BET.
The sisters had their sights set on making music a career and enrolled at El Camino College to study voice. There they ran up against the divide between academic music studies and the popular musical world. "We had to study classical and sing arias, which was fine," Erica told the Times, "but the teachers would tell us if we sang anything else it would damage our instrument".
The sisters toured with the 1995 Michael Matthews traveling gospel show Mama I'm Sorry and Sneaky. Each sister subsequently toured as a backup singer for a variety of R&B acts including Brandy.
Due to their proximity in age, the two singers grew up closer to one another than to any of their seven siblings . The Atkins children are Darrel (1965)(the only boy; the 2nd boy died in childhood); Maliea (1967); Erica and Tina; Delisa (1978); Thomasina (1979); Alana (1985) and Shanta(1987). Thomasina and Alana sometimes sing back up for their big sisters .
Both sisters are married to unrelated men with the last name Campbell . Tina married drummer Teddy Campbell from Chicago in August 2000. Ted has daughter Cierra (1993) with an ex girlfriend. Their daughter Laiah Simone Campbell was born sixteen days early on Tuesday, September 9, 2003, weighing 5 lbs 4oz . Tina/Teddy welcomed their second child, Meela Jane on June 11, 2007 . On October 20, 2009 their son Ted Jr was born .
Erica married their record producer Warryn Campbell on May 26, 2001. They have daughter Krista Nicole Campbell (September 13, 2004). On October 20, 2009 Erica announced via twitter the birth of her newphew TJ , as well as her second pregnancy .
A meeting with producer Warryn Campbell led to their song publishing deal with the giant EMI music conglomerate and a series of songs that landed on the soundtracks. They wrote "Dance" and performed it with Robin S. for the soundtrack to the 1998 film Dr. Dolittle; they performed "Let Go, Let God" for The Prince of Egypt and won more than two Grammy's Inspirational. Several of their songs were recorded by 702. The sisters' profile in the gospel industry was raised when their songs "Time To Change" and "Yeah" were recorded by Yolanda Adams on the Mountain High... Valley Low CD. At the same time, Mary Mary as a musical entity took shape.
Main Article: Thankful
The duo was subsequently signed to Columbia Records/C2 Records and decided to perform under the name Mary Mary, honoring Mary, the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. They were first gospel act to record for the industry giant Columbia Records since Tramaine Hawkins in the mid-1990s. Their first single, "Shackles (Praise You)" became a crossover hit, being popular with gospel, R&B, and pop audiences. It was a Top 10 R&B and Top 40 pop hit, and peaked at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It became the first gospel song in five years to crack the R&B top ten and gained wide exposure on the MTV video cable channel. The album was a huge success because it offered a younger, hipper version of gospel that audiences could relate to. Their debut album,Thankful was released in May 2000. It peaked at #1 on the Gospel album chart and at #59 of the overall Top 200 chart, and was certified Platinum for shipments of 1 million copies in the USA. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. The second single "I Sings" features rapper BB Jay. Both singles were also hits in the UK and Europe, and to this day remain popular with Christian youths in the US, Latin America, and Europe. Their only UK chart hit to date is "Shackles (Praise You)", which reached No.5 in June 2000. The follow-up "I Sings" peaked at a dismal No.32. The band have never made the Top 40 since 2000, and are genrally thought of as one-hit wonders in the U.K.
Main article: Incredible
With their second album Incredible, the duo was able to maintain their success. Soon after its July 2002 release it was #1 on the Gospel chart and was able to enter the Top 20 of the Top 200 album chart. Incredible was later on certified Gold for 500,000 copies sold in the United States. The album's singles were In The Morning and I Try. While this album charted higher than their debut, sales were lower. The duo attributed the lower sales to less aggressive promotion due to label switchovers and the advent of music piracy.
Mary Mary (2005)
Main article: Mary Mary
After taking time off to have children, Mary Mary released their third album Mary Mary in July 2005. It became the duo's first album to enter the Top 10 on Billboard and was later on certified Gold for sales of 500,000 copies. The first single "Heaven" contained a sample from seventies soul trio the Honey Cone's "Want Ads". Heaven made history and broke chart records as it had an unprecedented 9 week run as the #1 record on Billboard's Gospel Radio chart. The second single, "The Real Party" debuted at #43 on the Gospel Radio Chart. The third single, "Yesterday", also became a hit, especially on the Adult R&B charts where it peaked at #10. On the R&B/Hip Hop chart, the song became their second biggest hit since "Shackles" in 2000, reaching the #50. The album's final single, "Believer" indicated testimonies of being a Christian. The song hit #33 on the Gospel Radio chart.
A Mary Mary Christmas (2006)
On , 2006`, the duo released a Christmas album called A Mary Mary Christmas.
The Sound (2008)
On , 2008, the recording group released their fourth studio album of new music entitled The Sound. The lead single "Get Up" was released digitally via iTunes on July 15, 2008. The Sound saw Mary Mary achieve even greater success in the mainstream market; the album sold over 37,000 copies in its first week, and was their best charting album to date, debuting #7 on the Billboard 200, #2 on the US R&B chart, and topping the gospel and CCM charts. The album held the #1 position on the Billboard Gospel Album chart for over six months since its release. Warryn Campbell again returned to produce the album and saw collaborations with Kierra Sheard, David Banner, Marvin Winans, Daryl Coley, Andrae Crouch, Rance Allen, Dorinda Clark Cole, Joe Ligon, Walter Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins, and Karen Clark Sheard.