Erica and Tina Atkins have had their share of fans via their gospel duo “Mary Mary” but now that they have a WEtv reality show, they’ve gotten even more popular. So it makes sense that they’d put out a CD, “Go Get It,” based in part on their successful reality show. The sisters feel that their music and show are all a part of their ministry that proves that you can be Christian without being perfect. Their biggest hits, “Shackles” and “God in Me,” have been criticized as sounding too secular, but the Atkins sisters don’t believe in just preaching to the choir. And to that end, their reality show has earned a second season. Find out more about our latest In-Studio Jam artist here.
BORN: Erica and Trecina Atkins in Englewood, California.
BIG BREAK: Meeting Warryn Campbell who helped the duo get signed to a publishing deal and ultimately became Erica’s husband.
EDUCATION: The sisters studied voice at El Camino College.
BACK STORY: Mary Mary was born into a musical church family. Their mother, Thomasina, was the choir director and their father Eddie a youth minister at the Evangelistic Church of God in Christ in Englewood, CA. The sisters and their seven siblings sang in the church choir and with traveling music productions. All the siblings sang on “Bobby Jones Gospel” the longest-running show on BET.
RESUME: Mary Mary has written for Robin S., 702 and Yolanda Adams. Their behind-the-scenes work brought them attention from the music industry and they ultimately formed as a duo. Their big hit “Shackles” from their Columbia Records debut “Thankful” crossed over from the gospel charts and helped gain them a place in contemporary music.
FUN FACTS: Both sisters are married to men with the last name Campbell, although their husbands are unrelated. Kanye West and Amber Rose appeared in their video for “God in Me,” which earned them some criticism from church folks who thought the song and video were “too worldly.” Their popular WEtv reality show, “Mary Mary” was renewed this spring for a second season.
LATEST WORK: “Go Get It” out now.
‘GO GET IT’ CD TRACK LISTING:
1. Go Get It
2. God Bless
3. Little Girl
5. Can’t Give Up Now
6. I’m Running
7. Good to Me (featuring Destiny’s Child)
8. Sunday Morning
9. He Said
10. And I (featuring Kirk Franklin)
12. God in Me (featuring Kierra ‘Kiki’ Sheard)
ON FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/marymary
ON TWITTER: @therealmarymary
Erica: “I think we're still breaking ground. I think, initially, we wanted to do something different, wanted to do it our way. We've been singing in churches for forever, and part of us weren't really into recording, because we just enjoyed singing that much. We stayed in the background, but kept writing, and by the time the opportunity came, we had written 'Shackles' and people loved it, so we knew it was our time. We had a lot of smart people around us, and my husband had already been in the business and worked with a whole gang of people—-he was actually working with Death Row a whole lot at the time, so we didn't just have gospel knowledge, our publisher was informing us on a lot. I think a lot of times, Christian artists are like, 'I wanna make sure that you get God,' but we want to make sure that you get the point. I want to talk to you in a language that you can understand, I wanna come to where you are so that it makes sense to you.
Tina: “It's not just a hobby. It's not for the hype. It's not for the fame, but you're literally here serving a purpose. You're pursuing your actual purpose in life. I think this is part of me and Erica's purpose in life — to spread the message the way we're doing it to the audiences that we're reaching. I just think that's what God made us for, so, when you get discouraged and scared, just say, “This is for the birds. They can have it. I was born to do this. This is my responsibility here on earth. I've got to do it, until God says stop it.”
“Tina and I know where we come from. Even though we're singing gospel music, we don’t try to be perfect. We know that we've made some pretty bad mistakes and we've done some pretty ugly things in our lives. I think that’s why we're so confident when we talk about the ability to transform your life from inside out. When we think about all that we are—all the negative things that have taken place in our lives—and who we are now, we feel so grateful. I just have to thank God. Changing the way you think is the biggest transformation. You're not negative, not fearful and you’re not terrified of life and taking chances.” Artistdirect.com (2010)