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‘Y’all Pray for Tina’: Erica Campbell Talks New Music, Mary Mary’s Future and the Challenge of Going Solo

Erica Campbell, best known for being one-half of the gospel duo Mary Mary, is embracing life as a solo artist and aiming to inspire. With new music out, and a new album on the horizon, Campbell is excited about what her future holds, and opportunities to reach people through music. 

“I haven’t had new music since 2014, so it’s been quite some time,” Campbell said. Campbell will be debuting some of her music at the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour kicking off on Sept. 19. 

“I’ve released some singles and I’m singing a new song called ‘Positive,’ which I’m super excited about,” Campbell said during a virtual interview with Atlanta Black Star on Aug. 26. “Giving this word life during this COVID year – positive is now negative.  I think that words have power so when you say I am positive – I’m positively golden, positively confident, positively loved by God, I think it does something to you on the inside,” the singer explained.

“I’m honored to be a part because as a singer, you want to sing, but you also want to make sure that it’s doing more than just being a song – that it goes further,” she said of participating in the Gospel Tour. “So just to know that we can encourage people, even though it’s virtual, they can still watch and enjoy and have parties and play it on their screens at home and be encouraged and motivated,” she said. 

Although accustomed to performing on stages in front of thousands of people, Campbell says a virtual format makes no difference when it comes to her level of preparation. 

“I still need my voice to be 100 percent. I need to make sure that I’m giving all that I can,” she said. “Whether it is a short screen or you’re seeing full-body, I think we have the responsibility as singers to make sure that we are pouring from a place that leaves the people experiencing the music and knowing that it’s real, it’s tangible, and these are not just words — especially when you’re singing about Jesus and you’re singing about His goodness, that this can actually be real in your life,” Campbell said. 

Erica Campbell performs during the 22nd-Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration on February 6, 2021. (Photo by BET Super Bowl Gospel/Getty Images)

In addition to being accustomed to performing in front of live audiences, Campbell is also accustomed to performing along with her sister, Tina.  The duo formed the Grammy Award-winning group Mary Mary, scoring hits like the popular debut single “Shackles (Praise You).” They also appeared on a reality show about their lives. The group took a hiatus and both sisters began to make music on their own.

“It was a very hard decision,” Campbell said of going solo. “When you’re used to being with your sister, there’s comfort there; there’s just a sense of safety. So when you step out on your own it’s new, it’s different and you take a chance on yourself,” she said.  “Luckily for me it worked, but it’s not any easier. I still miss Tina.  I really, really miss Tina,” she added.

Campbell indicated that despite the separate directions, she maintains a great relationship with her sister and is always ready to make new music with her when the time is right. “We talk all the time and I go see her all the time and I go ‘Are you ready yet?’ and she’ll go ‘Not yet’,” she said. “So y’all pray for Tina, but in the meantime, you’re gonna get music from me.”

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