Mary Mary is an American gospel music duo, consisting of sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell (born April 29, 1972) and Tina Atkins-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.
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 choir director 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.
Both sisters are married to unrelated men with the last name Campbell. Tina married drummer Teddy Campbell from Chicago in August 2000. The couple has four children. Cierra (b 1993) from a previous relationship, Laiah Simone (September 9, 2003), Meela Jane (June 11, 2007), and Glendon "TJ" Campbell (October 20, 2009). Erica married their record producer Warryn Campbell on May 26, 2001. On September, 13 2004, Erica gave birth to their first child, Krista Nicole Campbell. On April 24, 2010, she gave birth to the couple's second child, Warryn Campbell III.
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. 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. Mary Mary together with Bebe & Cece Winans featuring the West Angeles Choir performed at The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
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.
Wikipedia contributors. Mary Mary. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. January 21, 2011, 03:25 UTC. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mary_Mary&oldid=409099898. Accessed February 23, 2011.