Erica Atkins-Campbell—one half of gospel duo Mary Mary—has been serving up a signature brand of spiritual music since 2000. With a beat that’s secular and a message that is 100% of God, Campbell, along with sister, Tina; have helped changed the way fans approach gospel music—regarded by many as insular and unapproachable—into a genre that has appeal that even a none-church going person could find some level of relation.
The California native, is expecting her third child with husband and producer Warryn Campbell, and is keeping busy raising a family, gearing up for an impending holiday tour, and giving back to the community.
This year you were nominated for two Soul Train Awards—Best Gospel Performance and Best Dance Performance. These are definitely two different sides of the musical spectrum, but the nominations speak to your universal appeal. Do you try to appeal to a secular audience also?
That was always our plan. We wanted to sing for the world. When we grew up, we didn’t realize the seeds were already being planted. My father worked in ministry and he would go into prisons, camps for young guys, the worst parks in Los Angeles. [He would] take us with him and we’d minister to them. We’ve always known how to reach people that didn’t go to church every Sunday. It naturally became a part of us. I think the point is for us to have music and speak a message that can translate to the person that doesn’t get it. The fact that our music can serve as an introduction…I’m very proud of that.
So do you listen to any secular artists or are you strictly a gospel listener?
Oh no. You can find me listening to everything. I’m a music lover, [but] I have times when I do only want to hear Gospel music. Sometimes I’m in a mode when I really only want to hear from God, because I know the music will speak to a certain part of me. I’m not closed minded. If the God that I have [in me] is so watered down that as soon as something outside of him enters my ear, all the God leaves my body, maybe I didn’t have that much in the first place (laughs).
Would you say you have been influenced musically by secular artists?
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