In a field that has become increasingly competitive, sisters Erica and Tina Campbell, affectionately known as Mary Mary, have proven to the world that a family that prays together stays together. The gifts and talents of the gospel singing duo have led to many awards and accolades. It has also allowed them to travel the globe, delivering their message of hope, encouragement, and salvation through infectious beats of rhythm and praise.
Embarking upon their third release with Columbia Records, their self-titled CD "Mary Mary" is a true testament of who they are musically, spiritually and professionally.
"We have grown a lot over the years. We believe that this is who we are as a people," Tina told the JFP, in response to the timing of their self-titled album.
Eleven tracks fill this electrifying CD, and based on early reactions, it is their best offering to date. From the big-band sound of the track "Biggest, Greatest Thing," to the soulful ballad "Yesterday" inspired by the movie "Ray," there's something there for everyone.
"We recognize our responsibility of reaching everyone. We have never liked being boxed into one form or genre of music," Tina said.
Erica agreed, "Gospel music is global, and we have that type of audience, so we did not want to exclude anyone."
"Our aim is to make music that the entire world—every age and nationality—can relate to. We want people to be encouraged and uplifted when they listen to our music," the sisters added.
Never judging a book by its cover, these sisters realize some of the problems that are plaguing African-American young ladies across the country.
"Low self-esteem has been around in our community all of our lives," Erica said, adding, that people must embrace these young ladies and continue to instill in them a message of greatness.
"We have been there, thinking we were not as cute as the other girl or we didn't have the designer clothing like our classmates. So our message to those young ladies out there is to know that you are a creature of God, done in His own image. You are beautiful and you can walk in the light," Tina added.
Just like the third track and lead single, "Heaven," suggests, these sisters want young ladies that are suffering from low self-esteem and people all over the world to know that you can go to heaven if you submit to His will and do those things according to His plan for your life.
Gospel music was a natural attraction for the two song birds growing up in Southern California in a house filled with music, a preacher and six other siblings. They were inspired by the likes of The Clark Sisters, Shirley Caesar, Hezekiah Walker and John P. Kee, to name a few.
But they did not always sing gospel music to keep food on their tables. Though they held down day jobs—Erica at a local supermarket, Tina at a major department store—to pay rent and complete college, the sisters found themselves constantly drawn to work in music. Erica began background singing on the road with secular artists Brian McKnight, Brandy, Terry Ellis and Ray-J while Tina sang with Eric Benet and Kenny Lattimore. While secular music helped pay the bills, Eric and Tina's deeply held personal beliefs found even greater expression in the inspirational songs they began writing together.
Having written songs for the movie soundtracks of "Dr. Dolittle" and "The Prince of Egypt," it wasn't until gospel diva Yolanda Adams used two of the sisters' songs on her multi-platinum album "Mountain High Valley Low" that the sisters felt they had truly been blessed.
These two young pioneers are committed to the ministry of music for as long as the Lord would allow.
"God has instilled in us the ability to reach people, and we must and will carry out our assignment," Tina said.
"We are in it for the long haul and we want to see gospel music soar to new heights," Erica added.
Their latest celestial praise offering is set for a July 12 release date and should continue to solidify their place in the hierarchy of the anointed ranks of gospel music.