Mary Mary Exclusive at Lehman Center

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Sisters Tina and Erica Campbell of gospel duo Mary Mary perform in the Bronx

Tina and
Erica Campbell (a.k.a. Mary Mary) had a day filled with schedules, interviews,
family and music when they met with this journalist to talk about their latest
CD MARY MARY: “Something Big.”  The duo
is taking their music to Lehman Center of the Performing Arts in the Bronx at
7:00 p.m., on October 9th where they will share the stage with the
Grammy winning Gospel Group Jubilation who won in 2010 for Best Traditional
Gospel Album for Oh Happy Day. 
Performers of contemporary gospel, Mary Mary will blend their form of
gospel with the traditional gospel sound of Jubilation whom they worked with
previously when Queen Latifah appeared on stage with both groups during a
performance in Brooklyn.

“Our father
was a minister and my mother was a piano player who led the choir.  We grew up in the church where we engaged in
a lot of relevant activities.  We were in
the Kids Choir, the Youth Choir,  High
School Choir and later sang in the College Choir.  In fact, our family sang together.  We are a large family of 9 siblings, so
sometimes it felt like our entire family was the choir” shared both Tina and
Erica who are 3-time Grammy Award winners, 2-time American Music Award winners,
a NAACP Image Award and BET Award winners.

Songwriters,
Mary and Tina wrote many of the songs on their “Something Big” album.  Starting off touring with several gospel groups
and performing in gospel stage plays, they started doing backup singing.  The duo sang with Brian McKnight and toured
with Eric Benet for a while.  “We learned
a lot about the business, stage and crew while working with these singers and
groups.  It was a great teaching lesson
for us,” said Erica who was Brandi’s backup singer for a short time.  “We write many of our own songs. Our process
is very organic.  In fact, we were
inspired to write several of the songs on our new album “Something Big.”  When we sit down to write and pick up a pen
and paper, we do not force it.  We do not
start thinking about what is playing on the radio or what do the labels want or
what’s new in music.  That might mess up
our natural flow.  In fact, we decided to
pray and the idea of doing something big came to us.  After all, God is Big and we should all want
to live big, love big and do big things. 
We ended up writing and recording our song in 30 minutes and well
“Something Big” came out of it,” said Tina.

Erica and
Tina are asking fans to do something big for others as part of their “Something
Big Campaign.”  They are asking folks not
to just listen to or dance to their music, but rather to give of their ideas,
time, resources and monies in order to help their communities and ultimately
the world.  They encourage youth to help
the elderly and discover where the Church can work positively in their lives.

Tina and
Erica attribute their musical success to God and claim their biggest reward is
not all the accolades or Grammy awards but how they are able to impact people
and affect those people who touch their lives and listen to their music.  “Our story is a fast moving story.  We stayed focused and put a lot of work into
our career.  We really love, love, love
singing.  It is fun for us,” remarked
Tina. “We are the ‘praise and worship’ team. 
In time, we ended up with a publishing and record deal.  Our resting place became Columbia
Records.  Once we became Mary Mary (named
for the mother of God and Mary Magdalene) it became easier to keep going but
our career is really in God’s hands.  It
is the joy that keeps us going and now 11 years later we are still immersed in
Mary Mary land,” chuckled Erica.

Born in
Inglewood, California, God and music has always played an essential role in the
duos life.  After studying vocal
performance at El Camino College, they eventually met songwriter/producer Warryn Campbell, who is now married to
Erica.  Coincidentally both sister’s
lives have parallels since both are married to unrelated men whose surname is
Campbell.  “Being a mom is my number one
priority,” said Erica who is currently pregnant. “Sometimes it’s hard to be a
mom and an artist but we find a way to make it work,” said the sisters.  Erica’s husband Warryn has been an important
factor in the sister lives.  He helped
them
secure a song publishing deal with EMI, and remains their
long-time producer and collaborator.  The sisters have received writing
and performance credits on soundtracks and songs recorded by various artists but
kicked off their own success via their debut album Thankful,
wherein the single “Shackles (Praise You) skyrocketed.  The sisters certified gold with “Incredible”
which followed “Thankful.”  Then came “Mary
Mary” in 2005, featuring hits “Heaven,” “Yesterday” and “The Real Party.”  A Mary Mary Christmas brought even further
success.

Mary Mary have
partnered with the American Red Cross for disaster relief.   ‘We had a song entitled “survive” on our “Something
Big” CD, so once all these natural disasters started happening, we thought the
song was fitting.  We thought: “Yeah,
it’s bad, but there are lots of people making it through despite it all and
surviving.”  So we teamed up with the Red
Cross to do a video using our song “survive” as an anthem for those people who
are overcoming.  Sometimes tragedies give
us strength and help us endure.  We encourage
folks to donate to the Red Cross to help survivors keep on surviving” said the
duo.

Tickets for
the Mary Mary Sunday, October 9, 7:00 p.m., concert are available at the Lehman
Center Box Office, located at 250 Bedford Park Blvd. West, Bronx, NY.  Call 718-960-8833 and/or visit www.LehmanCenter.org.

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