The singing sisters of Mary Mary have never been about staying in their lane.
By now, Erica and Tina Campbell are well on their way to being bona fide gospel music legends, but when it comes to their music, they’ve always flipped the script and made the kind of churchy tracks that get played in the nightclub.
So it makes perfect sense that they’d put their personal lives on display—the fighting, the arguments and the not-so-pretty things about their assent to gospel music greatness—in the form of a reality TV show. Next month, the sancitified siblings are coming back for a second season of their hit WE tv show, Mary Mary, and EBONY.com checks in with the duo about why it was so easy to make that move.
Season 2 will premiere Thursday, December 6 at 10PM E/P.
EBONY.com: You’re Christian musicians on a reality show and you don’t edit yourselves. That’s a fairly vulnerable position, isn’t it?
Erica Campbell: We had been asked quite a few times if we would do reality. We were trying to get in the lane of TV. And everything that we were trying to do, at the end of the conversation, at the end of the meeting, they would say, “Have you guys ever thought about reality?” We always said no, because there’s such a negative mindset that goes along with it. [But] we felt like this was our opportunity to let our truth be told in a way that lets our lives inspire in addition to our music. So we felt okay with it.
You leave yourself open to people’s opinions, but I’m okay with my life. We’re not perfect—we never claimed to be—but we’re a good family who love each other. We’re sisters trying to get somewhere in this music game and it’s not always easy. I think the show can serve as a source of inspiration for family relationship, for people understanding that it’s really not as easy as it looks.
It’s still scary with the second season coming. I have a little anxiety, because you just never know how people are gonna take it!
Tina Campbell: Our call in life is to inspire and to let people know that there is someone greater than you that’s looking out for you. In the middle of that, we’re still businesswomen running a company with countless employees with countless different business interests with touring. We’re moms, we’re wives all in the middle of that, and you get to see more of that juggle on the second season.
Sometimes when we think we’re falling apart, with a bunch of prayer and grace we’re able to maintain. Us deciding to go on and do a second season had a lot to do with being able to show how hectic life can be and how you have to fight for what you want, and how we all have to juggle and manage and balance everything. Sometimes when you feel like you’re just completely incapable, you have to keep fighting, you have to keep trying.
EBONY.com: Hold up. Back up. You said you’re trying to get somewhere in this music industry? Are you kidding? You’re Mary Mary! Grammys. Stellar awards. You’ve already gotten somewhere, right?
EC: Dionne Warwick, who sold 100 million albums, she didn’t even look at herself as a legend because she said that there’s still more for her to do! It’s life, it’s music business and the achievements sometimes seem larger than life, but there’s always more to do. It’s not to discredit what we’ve done—I’m very, very grateful—but there’s so much more to do. There really, really is.
EBONY.com: A lot of your career has been about not staying in your lane. In that regard, reality TV works for you too. That said, how has being a part of reality TV change things for you?
EC: It has opened our eyes to who’s really paying attention. Sometimes you kind of get in a bubble, and you’re so busy moving forward, you’re not taking time to look around at who’s really loving what you’re doing or appreciating your music and the opportunities to expand. Our goal and agenda has been the same since day one: to not just sing to church people. If you have something that you feel represents the light, wouldn’t you want to take it to dark places, to places where people say, “Christians don’t belong here?” That’s always been our goal, that’s always been our aim, and we’ll stick with it no matter who thinks whatever. Some may not understand it, but it’s okay. We’ll keep moving forward, keep trying to share what we know about God and share who we are, share our music and encourage and inspire people.
EBONY.com: What will we see on this second season?
EC: You’ll see more of the music. I think last season, with me having the baby and our Christmas tour being canceled, we were at home a lot. This season, we are out and about, on the road and trying to get the tour together. Trying to get ready for so many things that are happening and still manage everything at home; relationships with our sisters and everything that comes along with it.
EBONY.com: Thanksgiving is coming. What are you all most thankful for?
TC: Life! Thankful for opportunity; thankful for fans that continue to support us; thankful for people like you that think we’re interesting enough to speak to us; thankful that in a bad economy we’re still able to stay afloat when there’s so many people that have amassed so much in life that are literally going under as a result of things that are happening,
EC: I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for being in my right mind. Because if I didn’t have my right mind, I wouldn’t be able to manage all that we do!