Mary Mary


Contemporary R&B,Contemporary Gospel,Contemporary Christian

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One of the most commercially successful contemporary gospel acts of the early 2000s, Mary Mary is the sisterly duo of Erica and Tina Atkins, who grew up in Inglewood, CA in a family that also comprised five other sisters and a brother. Born to gospel-singing parents in a family that includes five other sisters and a brother, Erica and Tina heard gospel music by artists like the Clark Sisters, Commissioned, the Winans, Shirley Caesar, John P. Kee, Rev. Milton Brunson and Hezekiah Walker from the very start.  Along with their siblings, the sisters sang in the local church choir and were often given coveted soloist spots. After singing with the popular "Bobby Jones Gospel" show on BET, Erica and Tina were inspired to pursue musical careers.

The siblings joined the Michael Matthews traveling gospel show Mama I'm Sorry in 1995, followed by a second Matthews production, Sneaky. Each sister subsequently toured as a backup singer for a variety of R&B acts. Meanwhile, they wrote gospel material. A meeting with producer Warryn Campbell (who would eventually marry Erica) led to Mary Mary signing a song publishing deal.

"Dance," a song that Mary Mary wrote and performed with Robin S., appeared on the soundtrack to Dr. Doolittle in 1998. Later that year, Mary Mary's "Let Go, Let God" was used on The Prince of Egypt -- Inspirational, one of three soundtrack albums for the film, and their songs were also recorded by 702 and Yolanda AdamsMary Mary then signed to Columbia/C2 Records and released their debut single, "Shackles (Praise You)," a Top 10 R&B and Top 40 Hot 100 hit.

With producer Campbell at the helm, Mary Mary crafted a groundbreaking debut album that drew immediate critical raves and an excited response from music buyers everywhere.  Thankful was a smash, breaking the invisible barrier that kept Gospel music off of popular radio. The first single, the jubilant dance cut "Shackles," scored on the Gospel, Soul and Pop charts and established Mary Mary as a hot commodity. Thankful earned Mary Mary a slew of accolades including a Grammy for Best Contemporary Gospel Album, two Dove Awards, three Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Award.

Just as exciting was the reaction outside the U.S.: the single "Shackles" was a Top 10 pop hit in the U.K., France, the Netherlands and Australia . "I remember the first time we went overseas," recalls Tina of a huge stadium show in Holland. "Seeing 60,000 people singing Shackles' along with us was absolutely amazing!" For Erica, attending the "Lady Of Soul" music awards in the fall of 2000 was another milestone in a year filled with accomplishment: "Our music came on and everyone was on their feet. Knowing that people from all musical genres were enjoying what we were doing was so gratifying."

Thankful was a huge success with Christian audiences, offering a younger, hipper version of gospel that audiences could relate to.  To further cement their growing reputation Mary Mary contributed the two best songs ("Time to Change" and "Yeah") from Yolanda Adams' groundbreaking 2000 album Mountain High...Valley Low. They also wrote for or appeared on the albums of a number of other artists, including Kelly Price and Dru Hill's Woody Rock.

Mary Mary returned in 2002 with Incredible, another solid disc of soulful Gospel that featured the dance hit "In The Morning" and a nice cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Will Know." Amazingly, Incredible hit the Top 20 on the pop album charts, a rare feat for a Gospel album, and again showed that Mary Mary was capable of writing and singing great music that appealed beyond traditional Gospel boundaries.

In late 2003, Mary Mary contributed the song "Dance Dance Dance" to the Gotta Have Gospel CD and were subsequently nominated for a 2004 Dove Award. Mary Mary returned in 2005 with their third album, a self-titled gem that went gold and landed a hit with "Heaven."

In 2007, Erica's husband and the duo's producer, Warryn Campbell, was diagnosed with cancer, and the group's fans began a prayer chain for his health. He went through successful surgery within a week and recovered fully. Warryn's illness served as a backdrop for the work on the duo's fifth album, The Sound, and increased their commitment to issue their best work yet.

The Sound, released in 2008, was Mary Mary's most crossover-savvy album yet, was an unquestioned triumph, the duo's finest disc and one of the best albums of the year in any genre. It yielded the hit "Get Up" and the smash collaboration with Kiki Sheard, "God In Me," and has stayed near the top of both the Gospel and R&B charts for over a year. When asked about the continued success of the album, particularly with non-traditional gospel audiences, Erica said there was no magic: "Our job is to sing Gospel music for people who are not all Gospel fans. We have to sing it and perform it in a way that speaks to them. Our first agenda is not to get on this chart or that chart. Our real agenda is to share God's love with people. If we do that right, everything else will fall in place."

Mary Mary's, Something Big released in March 2011.  With powerful voices that soar, harmonies that chime and empowering lyrics, the songs on Something Big are instantly memorable. From the lively lead single "Walking," to the unforgettable anthem "Never Wave My Flag" and title song "Something Big," Mary Mary drives their indisputable reputation smack into the mainstream.

As songwriters, Mary Mary's honesty and passion are unmatched by most contemporary storytellers. Mary Mary's lyrics underscore an unwavering faith and belief in God to conquer the challenges that life sends our way. It is that faith that has connected with fans around the globe and secured an even wider fan base that continues to grow each day.

Listen to Christian Music Artist Mary Mary


Album Title Year Label
Thankful2000Columbia Records
Incredible2002Columbia Records
Mary Mary2005Columbia Records
Mary Mary Christmas2006Columbia Records
The Sound2008Columbia Records
Something Big2011Columbia Records





United States

Record Label:

Columbia Records

Christian Label:


Years Active: