Erica and Trecina “Tina” Campbell are the singing sisters who make up the award-winning gospel duo Mary Mary. The two grew up in Inglewood, California with their five sisters and a brother. As their parents were also gospel singers, the siblings followed right along, singing in their church choir.
After a stint in traveling gospel plays, the pair started singing back-up for several R&B groups, but their hearts were always in gospel music. A meeting with producer Warryn Campbell proved fortuitous for both their personal and professional lives – he helped the sisters sign a publishing deal and eventually became Erica’s husband.
In 2000, Mary Mary’s debut CD, “Thankful,” and its crossover hit, “Shackles (Praise You),” won them fans from both inside and outside the gospel realm. Now they’re set to debut as authors this year with their new book “Be U: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, Be You!” due out in April.
Here are five things you should know about Mary Mary.
1. They’re always at their “Sunday best.”
Mary Mary returns to the BET show, “Sunday Best,” as judges when Season Three debuts fittingly enough on Easter Sunday, April 4, at 8 p.m. EST. The duo will be on the lookout for the hottest new gospel sensation in the next round of the exciting, suspenseful series. The Season Three winner will win a host of prizes from the Ford Motor Company, General Mills, Nationwide Insurance and Walgreens.
2. They’re Campbells by coincidence.
Erica and Tina were born Erica and Trecina Atkins. Both took their husbands’ name, Campbell, but their husbands are not related. Confused? Erica is married to producer Warryn Campbell, while Tina is married to musician Teddy Campbell. And no, the two are not brothers or cousins or related in any way. It’s strictly coincidence that the two sisters managed to find two unrelated musicians with the same last name and married them. Erica and Warryn have two children; Tina and Teddy have three.
3. They’re so very thankful.
Mary Mary has many reasons to be thankful, and they’ve had the chance to say so publicly many times. The duo has won three Grammys, two American Music Awards, a BET Award, a Soul Train Award, two MOBO Awards, two NAACP Awards, 10 Stellar Awards, two Lady of Soul Awards, and seven Dove Awards. Their five studio albums – “Thankful,” “Incredible,” “Mary Mary,” “A Mary Mary Christmas,” and “The Sound” – have all gone either gold or platinum. Aside from those accolades, the sisters have kept their faith at the forefront through serious life challenges, like the premature birth of Tina’s daughter and the sudden diagnosis of kidney cancer for Tina’s husband, Warryn. (He made a full recovery.)
4. They’ve got lots of reading material.
Mary Mary’s new book, “Be U: Be Honest, Be Beautiful, Be Intentional, Be Strong, Be You!” marks their debut as authors. The book hopes to empower young women, using Christianity as their core. The book includes scriptures that have personally helped the sisters in their own lives, as well as positive affirmations to help young women in their walk with Christ. “Be you is our mission statement for life; it keeps us focused on authenticity and truth and keeps us honest: honest to God and honest to ourselves,” say the Campbells. “God didn’t make a mistake when He created you, so you should accept who you are and what you are and live on purpose and not by accident.”
5. For them, God is in everyone.
Mary Mary may have won a 2010 Grammy for Best Gospel Song for “God in Me,” featuring their friend Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, but the appearance of rapper Kanye West and his girlfriend Amber Rose, Fonzworth Bentley, Common and other celebrities in the video made some of their fans feel the singers had become too “worldly.” Others thought the duo was simply being inclusive and embracing the God in everyone. Still, the song has become one of their biggest crossover hits.