It’s hard not to be impressed by Grammy-winning gospel singers Erica and Tina Campbell, stars of WE tv’s hot new reality program Mary Mary. Not only do the sisters have a brand-new album and a TV show, Tina is expecting her fourth child this summer, and Erica gave birth to her third child in January. We caught up with the girls to ask them about motherhood, sisterhood, marriage, career, faith and fashion.
Tina, you’re expecting your fourth child this summer, and Erica, you gave birth to your third child in January. Is having babies in your late 30s more challenging?
It definitely can be from a physical aspect — there are more perceived health risks to you and your baby, so you are required to undergo different testing to monitor the progression of the pregnancy. And then from an emotional/life stage standpoint, your tolerance is different, you could be less physically active — all those things are key when having kids.
How do you balance family and career? Like being away from home on Thanksgiving?
To be honest, we’re not quite sure how we do it — we guess it’s just taking each moment and circumstance as it comes. Making the most out of each, family time and career time. The main thing is taking it easy on yourself and cutting yourself some slack. Understanding that perfection in either area isn’t possible. It is definitely hard when you have to make the decision to work on a holiday. But what you do is make the best out of the time you will have with your family, and if all else fails, heck, move the holiday — celebrate before you leave or upon your return.
How do you make time for your husbands?
You schedule it and make it priority just like everything else. As women/moms, we tend to focus most and first on time with our kids and making sure they feel loved and tended to, but husbands need that same assurance as well. So the extra effort you make for the kids and that energy you dig deep for the kiddies, you gotta do the same for your man. For more on date night, click here to read Mary Mary’s Q&A on GuySpeak.com.
Does working together put a strain on your personal relationship as sisters? Why did you decide to seek counseling?
Working closely with anybody day in and day out, especially when you all are growing and building the company together, can cause a strain. We think that because we are sisters, the other should just know us and get us; we don’t take the extra concern and effort to be sensitive or understanding of/considerate of each other because we are blood, and we figure you are my sister, you’ll get over it. But we have realized that we are sisters, but we are also individual women with our own lives, opinions and ideals, and we needed to take the time to learn how to listen and communicate better. If that time isn’t taken and that reacquaintance with each other [doesn’t happen], then we continue to deal with each other like when we were kids, and that isn’t healthy in the long run. Sure, we want to be hugely successful in our careers, but we want to be that much more successful in our relationships — especially with each other. Counseling is healthy, natural and necessary.
What was it like growing up in a family of nine children? Did the church play a big role in your lives?
It was fun!! It was safe and loving. Our whole family goes hard for each other; we play, fight and love hard. The church or rather GOD was and is the center and core of who we are as a family; it’s what made all that was lacking not so important. God, faith and family, that’s what we are made of.
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
Our biggest accomplishment is when God allows us to meet and hear from people who don’t look like us or have what we have to tell us that we (two chicks from Inglewood, California) changed or impacted their lives just by singing our songs that God gave us. Every time our music encourages, inspires or heals, that is a HUGE accomplishment, not just for Mary Mary but for Erica and Tina.
You have been credited with expanding gospel music’s fan base. Musically, what are your goals for the future?
Well, we think that we are one of a few that did that; there are others before us and with us who have made huge strides in changing how the masses see and feel about gospel music and God as a whole. Our main goal is to continue to change the negative and exclusionary perception of this kind of music. This music isn’t just for a “certain” group or kind of people. This is God’s music, so it belongs to the world. So all we wanna do is change the world, that’s all — LOL.
What was the inspiration for “Go Get It” [your latest song and album]?
“Go Get It” is who Mary Mary is and what we are about! This song drives us; this song explains why Mary Mary is who and where they are. “Go Get It” puts words to that feeling that you have that no one can talk you out of or convince you otherwise about. That feeling when you know it’s your time; when you know that there is more for you and that undeniable feeling deep inside that you won’t be denied. It’s when your prayers, dreams and faith collide and becomes the fuel for you to GO GET IT. Whatever your IT is — health, wealth, education, career, family, forgiveness or love — Go Get It! Click here to watch the music video of “Go Get It.”
We read that you might be interested in working with T.I. Is this true? Are there any other current pop or rap stars you’d like to work with? Any artists in general?
We are open to working with creative people, period, whether it be T.I., Beyonce, Rascal Flatts or Aretha Franklin, same as we would and have worked with creative people in our own genre. We want to make great music that inspires with people who want to inspire as well.
Did you ever think you would become reality stars?
Nope. We have been approached so many times for years to jump into this arena, and always our answer was no. To be honest, our focus isn’t to be reality stars — music is what drives the Mary Mary brand — but we did come to realize that a show like ours could help people understand the meaning and inspiration behind our music, faith and family, and [how] even our chaos creates our music soundtracks. (Mary Mary was just renewed for a 2nd season. Read more about it here.)
Is it frustrating having to keep your wardrobe choices appealing to the gospel world?
Not frustrating, because we don’t dress to please the gospel community. We choose to dress in a way that is comfortable and pleasing to ourselves first and foremost. Our wardrobe choices have to complement our shape, taste, style and maturity. We want to dress in a way that is respectful to who we are as women, moms and wives. We think that we can do that and still look and feel sexy and attractive. Sexy is not equivalent to naked or overtly revealing. Gospel or not gospel, we don’t feel the need to let it all hang out. It’s about being appropriate. Overly modest can be misconstrued as homely or out of touch with fashion, which we never want to be, gospel event or not. Want Mary Mary’s look? Click here to view the photo gallery.
When dressing every day as Erica and Tina, do you stop and make sure your choice is respectful?
Yes, of course we do. We don’t wear anything that our husbands, dads, brothers or kids would be ashamed to see us in. Of course, what we wear as Erica and Tina on a date night with our husbands, we wouldn’t rock that at the grocery store or PTA meeting, but again, it’s about common sense and knowing what’s appropriate when and where.
Your sister Goo seems like an amazing stylist who knows how to keep things fresh, yet subtle. What is she the best at when it comes to styling?
Knowing what complements our body shapes and sizes, and being mindful of what we are not comfortable showing/wearing based on our own insecurities about certain body parts, arms/knees whatever.
Do you ever wish you could dress funky and flashy like Rihanna or Nicki Minaj?
No, because we are not Rihanna or Nicki Minaj. Their looks express who they are creatively and individually, and ours does the same for us. And we are quite flashy and funky in our own Mary Mary way. We are the best at being us!
Do you have any favorite recipes that you could share? Original or your go-to meals after a full day of Mary Mary-ing and mommy-ing?
Tacos and spaghetti!!