NAME: Mary Mary
MEMBERS: Erica Atkins-Campbell, Trecina “Tina” Atkins-Campbell
ORIGIN: Inglewood, California, U.S.
GENRES: Urban contemporary gospel, Contemporary R&B
YEARS ACTIVE: 1998–present
OCCUPATION: Singers, Songwriters, Television personalities
Mary Mary is an American gospel duo composed of sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell and Trecina Atkins-Campbell. Formed in 1998, Mary Mary was launched into mainstream recognition following the release of their best-selling debut album, Thankful (2000), which contained the hit single “Shackles (Praise You)”. Their follow-up album, Incredible (2002), reached no. 1 on the top gospel albums chart. Their third album, Mary Mary (2005), contains the worldwide hits, “Heaven”, “The Real Party” and “Yesterday”.
Their fourth album “The Sound” (2008) spawned the number-one singles “Get Up” and “God in Me”. In 2011, they released their ﬁfth studio album “Something Big” and followed up with a compilation album “Go Get It” in 2012 before going on hiatus. In March 2012, they premiered their own television series, Mary Mary, on WE tv.
Mary Mary has sold more than eight million records worldwide to date. The duo has been nominated for eleven Grammy Awards, winning four times including once Best Gospel Performance and for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. The group’s name is inspired by two famous Marys in the Bible: Mary, mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.
The Atkins sisters, born Erica Monique and Trecina Evette, grew up in a large family with seven siblings in Inglewood, California. Their mother, Thomasina Atkins, is an evangelist and choir director at the Church of God in Christ. Their father, Eddie A. Atkins, was also a member of the Church of God In Christ, and a youth counselor before he died in 2013.
Due to their proximity in age, the two sisters grew up closer to one another than to any of their siblings: Darrell Atkins (born 1965, the only living boy- the second boy died as a child), Maliea Atkins (born 1967), Erica (born 1972), Tina (born 1974), Delisa Atkins-Brown (born 1977), Thomasina Atkins (born 1978), Alana Atkins-Jamison (born 1985), and Shanta Atkins (born 1986).
The sisters enrolled at El Camino College to study voice. There they encountered the division between the rigorous academic study of music versus the popular musical world.
After meeting producer, Warryn Campbell, a publishing deal was reached with music conglomerate EMI. This led to a series of their songs being on movie soundtracks. However, the sisters’ proﬁles really started to rise in the gospel industry when their songs “Time To Change” and “Yeah” were recorded by Yolanda Adams on Mountain High… Valley Low. During this time, Mary Mary as a musical entity was formed.
The duo was subsequently signed to Columbia Records and decided to perform under the name Mary Mary, honoring Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene. They were the 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; enticing gospel, R&B, and pop audiences. It ranked Top 5 in R&B, Top 10 for pop hit, and peaked at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It became the ﬁrst gospel song in ﬁve years to crack the R&B top ten and gained wide exposure on MTV. Their debut album Thankful was released in May 2000; it peaked at number one on the Gospel Album Chart and climbed to 59 on the overall Top 200 chart. The album went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Their only Top 10 UK hit to date is “Shackles (Praise You)” which reached number ﬁve on the UK Singles Chart in June 2000. The follow-up “I Sings” peaked at UK number 32.
With their second album, Incredible, the duo was able to maintain their success. Soon after its release in July 2002, it was number one on the Gospel Albums Chart and entered the Top 20 of the Top 200 album chart. Incredible was later certiﬁed Gold for selling 500,000 copies in the United States. The album’s singles were “In The Morning” and “I Try”. While this album charted higher than their debut, sales were lower. The duo attributed the lower sales to less aggressive promotion due to label switch-overs and the advent of music piracy.
2005-2006: Mary Mary and A Mary Mary Christmas
After taking time off to have children, Mary Mary released their self-titled third album Mary Mary in July 2005. It became the duo’s ﬁrst album to enter the Top 10 on Billboard and was later certiﬁed Gold for selling in excess of 500,000 copies. The ﬁrst single, “Heaven”, made history and broke chart records as it had an unprecedented nine-week run at number one on Billboard’s Gospel Radio Chart. Their second single, “The Real Party (Trevon’s Birthday)”, debuted at number 43 on the Gospel Radio Chart with a third, “Yesterday”, becoming a hit on the Adult R&B Chart and peaking at number 10. On the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart, the song became their second biggest hit since “Shackles (Praise You)” in 2000 reached number 50.
2008-2010: The Sound
On October 21, 2008, they released their ﬁfth studio album, The Sound. The lead single, “Get Up”, was released digitally via iTunes on July 15, 2008. Mary Mary‘s The Sound sold over 37,000 copies in its ﬁrst week, making it their best charting album to date. It debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, number two on the US R&B Chart, and topped both gospel and country music charts. The album held the number one position on the Billboard’s Gospel Album Chart for over six months since its release.
In spring 2009, “God In Me” achieved crossover success by reaching number ﬁve on the R&B/Hip-Hop Chart and number one on the Hot Dance Club Play.
The duo, along with Warryn Campbell, was nominated at the 52nd Grammy Awards in the Best Gospel Song category for “God in Me”.
2010-2012: Something Big and Go Get It
In 2009, Mary Mary began recording their sixth studio album. In the fall of 2010, they released “Walking” as the lead single from their forthcoming album. Originally titled OMG, the project was renamed Something Big after the success of R&B singer, Usher‘s hit single, “OMG” in 2010. Their album was released on March 29, 2011.
On February 13, 2012, Mary Mary debuted their new single, “Go Get It”, from the greatest hits compilation album of the same title, at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles, California. The album was ofﬁcially released on May 8, 2012. It featured 13 remixed and remastered hits from their previous albums.
2014-present: Group hiatus and solo projects
In 2014, Erica Campbell released a solo album titled Help, which won Best Gospel Album at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Her follow-up album titled Help 2.0 was released in March 2015. In May 2015, Tina released her debut solo album It’s Personal.
In July 2016, Mary Mary released a new single called “Back to You” from the upcoming Ben-Hur movie soundtrack. In August 2017, Tina released a deluxe edition of her ﬁrst album, titled It’s Still Personal. In 2018, Mary Mary made their reunion as a duo on the 2018 Stellar Awards on TVOne, performing a medley of their hits.
Both sisters are married to men who happen to have the same last name, Campbell.
In 2000, Tina married Teddy Campbell. He has a daughter, Cierra, from a previous relationship. Together, they have ﬁve children. Their first daughter Laiah Simone Campbell was born on September 9th, 2003. Second daughter Meela Jane Campbell was born on June 11th, 2007. On October 20th, 2009, their son Glendon Theodore II was born. Their youngest son, Santana Campbell, was born on August 4th, 2012.
Erica married their record producer Warryn Campbell on May 26th, 2001. On September 13, 2004, Erica gave birth to their ﬁrst child, Krista Nicole Campbell. On April 24, 2010, she gave birth to Warryn Campbell III. She gave birth to a girl named Zaya Monique Campbell on January 24, 2012.
- Thankful (2000)
- Incredible (2002)
- Mary Mary (2005)
- A Mary Mary Christmas (2006)
- The Sound (2008)
- Something Big (2011)
- Go Get It (2012)