Mary Mary is a two-time Grammy award winning Platinum American gospel music duo, consisting of sisters Erica Campbell (born April 29, 1972)) and Trecina Campbell (born May 1, 1974)). The duo are often credited along with Kirk Franklin for broadening the fan base of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz. Mary Mary broke onto the music scene with their popular song Shackles (Praise You) which is considered one of the pioneering songs of urban contemporary gospel music . Their debut album Thankful (2000) was certified Platinum. The duo has released three Gold albums: Incredible (2002), and Mary Mary (2005), which all charted #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums. Their current release, The Sound,again was #1 on the Top Gospel Albums; as well as #7 on the Billboard 200. It has spawned two highly successful singles: Get Up and God In Me. In Spring 2009 God In Me began achieving crossover success (as Shackles had nine years earlier), reaching #5 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play. They have currently been nominated as best R&B Group for the American Music Awards of 2009 . Biography The sisters were born Erica Atkins and Trecina Atkins.
The Campbell (formerly Atkins) sisters grew up as part of a large family of nine children in Inglewood, California. Their parents are Thomasina (an evangelist and choir director at the Evangelistic Church of God in Christ) and Eddie (a youth minister). The sisters quickly entered the world of church choirs, traveling gospel shows, and some television productions. All eight Atkins children were on the Bobby Jones Gospel show on BET. The sisters had their sights set on making music a career and enrolled at El Camino College to study voice. There they ran up against the divide between academic music studies and the popular musical world. "We had to study classical and sing arias, which was fine," Erica told the Times, "but the teachers would tell us if we sang anything else it would damage our instrument". The sisters toured with the 1995 Michael Matthews traveling gospel show Mama I'm Sorry and Sneaky. Each sister subsequently toured as a backup singer for a variety of R&B acts including Brandy.
Their first single, "Shackles (Praise You)" became a crossover hit, being popular with gospel, R&B, and pop audiences. It was a Top 10 R&B and Top 40 pop hit, and peaked at #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 the MTV video cable channel. The album was a huge success because it offered a younger, hipper version of gospel that audiences could relate to. Their debut album,Thankful was released in May 2000. It peaked at #1 on the Gospel album chart and at #59 of the overall Top 200 chart, and was certified Platinum for shipments of 1 million copies in the USA. It went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. The second single "I Sings" features rapper BB Jay. Both singles were also hits in the UK and Europe, and to this day remain popular with Christian youths in the US, Latin America, and Europe. Their only UK chart hit to date is "Shackles (Praise You)", which reached No.5 in June 2000. The follow-up "I Sings" peaked at a dismal No.32. The band have never made the Top 40 since 2000, and are genrally thought of as one-hit wonders in the U.K. Incredible (2002) Main article: Incredible With their second album Incredible, the duo was able to maintain their success.