The Mary Mary duo are pioneers of the new wave of gospel. They have deepened and diversified the gospel sound.
Mary Mary was consisted of sisters Erica and Trecina “Tina” Atkins-Campbell. The two grew up in Inglewood, CA, with seven siblings. The family was heavily immersed in the church with their evangelist choir director mother and their youth counselor father, both COGIC members. The sisters were close due to their desire to pursue music and their proximity in age. This prompted the two to enroll at El Camino College to study voice. As the sisters grew older, they began to pursue musical opportunities together, such as; joining church choirs and traveling gospel shows. The two even went so far as to enter the secular side of music, each back-up singing for various R&B acts.
The Sisters began their career in music with producer Warryn Campbell, which duo member Erica Atkins-Campbell married. The duo began to compose pieces recorded by artists such as 702 and Yolanda Adams. But the sisters were destined for more. The sisters gained recognition for their vocal skills and were signed to Columbia Records in 2000. They were the first gospel act to perform under the label. The duo decided to perform under the stage name Mary Mary to pay homage to Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Their debut album as Mary Mary, was entitled Thankful, which contained the hit single Shackles. This album went platinum in 2001 and won a GRAMMY that same year. The group continued to produce contemporary gospel music with albums Incredible, Mary Mary, and The Sound.
Mary Mary honored the Christain faith with their lyrics while incorporating R&B elements. They contributed to the controversial contemporary urban sound of the gospel alongside artists like Kirk Franklin. The duo were trailblazers in their own way in that they catered not only to those who appreciated the secular sounds but also God-fearing women. A number of their songs are associated with the presence and significance of Christ in the life of ordinary Black women like themselves. Their impact allowed them to become judges on BET’s Sunday Best, publish a book entitled Be U, and headline their own reality TV show entitled: Mary Mary. The sister’s sincerity and authenticity in all aspects of their career made them relatable and ultimately led to their success.
The sisters have both pursued their own solo gospel careers. Erica Atkins-Campbell’s debut album was entitled: Help, for which she earned a GRAMMY. Trecina Atkins-Campbell released her debut album: It’s Personal, in May of 2015. Though the two decided to explore their solo careers, they never neglected Mary Mary. Their most recent project is their new single: Back To You for the motion picture Ben-Hur. The duo also still performs together as Mary Mary to continue their legacy.
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