Mary Mary is a three time Grammy Award–winning American gospel music duo, consisting of sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell (born April 29, 1972 (1972-04-29)) and Tina Atkins-Campbell (born May 1, 1974(1974-05-01)). 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 No. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums.
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. Main Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.