Three-time Grammy-winning duo Mary Mary (sisters Tina and Erica) burst on the scene about 12 years ago with their debut album ‘Thankful,’ and they continue to blaze the airwaves with their soulful, catchy, and inspiring music. A huge factor responsible for the overflowing of gospel into the mainstream, the sisters’ music spans from gospel stations, to blazing hip-hop and R&B stations, with fans ranging in all ages. Growing up in Inglewood, California, Tina and Erica began singing in the church, and decided to pursue music as a career by studying voice. They toured as backup singers and wrote for various R&B acts, going on to release six studio albums.
Mary Mary is still on the grind with a new album, Go Get It, that dropped on May 8th and a reality show that airs on WE TV Thursday nights at 9pm. The singers took time out of their busy schedule to chop it up with Singersroom about the new album and family, among other things.
Singersroom: The new album “Go Get It” arrived in stores on May 8th. What can fans expect on this project?
Erica: They can expect to be motivated, to be inspired. They can expect to dance; they can expect to hear new songs as well as old songs with new twists on them. From the lead single that basically inspires you to get up, go out, and go after whatever you want in life to another single that talks about how much we love getting ready for church on Sunday morning, and then you have songs that are classics like “Can’t Give Up Now” from our first record. And we did the live version that we’ve been performing for years on that particular song. We have a collaboration we did with Destiny’s Child on the record, a collaboration we did with Kirk Franklin, and a few singles very recognizable that will be on there. So, I think that people can expect to feel like they’re getting the best of Mary Mary on this record.
Singersroom: On your reality show Mary Mary, we see both career and family life. How do you manage both career and family, and what advice do you have for those who may be overwhelmed or struggling to balance both?
Tina: I’d like to tell those who are struggling to make it all work, that we’re doing the same thing. Even if it doesn’t look like it, it’s really hard juggling and maintaining a personal life and professional life. And how we manage it all, if we try to play it perfect, I don’t think it would come out that way, because we don’t always know how to do it. We try to prioritize family time when it’s family time, and we try to prioritize work when we’re working. We know that we can’t say yes to everything like we used to before children and marriage; then we have to wrap our minds around the fact that we will not be 100% involved with everything our family does because we travel a lot. And I think once you wrap your mind around those perspectives, you plan well in advance, manage your personal and professional calendars pretty well and then you commit to those things that you committed to, you know, and take your day in stride and hope that it works out, and that’s what we do.
Singersroom: Recently, Tamar and Towanda Braxton verbally jumped on Jill Scott via Twitter because she labeled your reality show as being “a real representation.” What are your thoughts on that situation?
Erica: People are always gonna express their opinions. How that makes others feel, you have no control over. I really have no response for someone getting upset at someone else’s opinion. I’m not even sure if that’s what Jill was speaking of. I’m just happy that Jill likes the show and she thought it was good, she’s good people.
Tina: And I’m happy that Tamar is following our tweets, and watching our show. Otherwise, she wouldn’t know all the comments that are happening in Jill’s timeline, so that’s a good thing!
Singersroom: Tina, since you’re expecting your fifth child, and Erica, you have a newborn at home. What are your plans for promoting the new project?
Tina: We’ll do what we’ve done in the past. You do it while you’re pregnant until you can’t do it anymore; and then with a newborn, trying to manage mixed schedules through getting very little sleep. We’ve done this before, we’ve had all our children while on the road with Mary Mary. The last time having a new baby with a new record and it is hectic, it is hard, and a lot of times you are exhausted. But we’re committed to our careers as well as our children, so we do the best that we can. Sometimes you wanna just sit at the crib and put your feet up and rest your back. Or Erica probably wants to go somewhere and get a good night’s rest, but that’s the breaks with this career that we’ve chosen, and this opportunity to have this wonderful platform that we have. So we’ve managed to make it work.
Singersroom: What is Mary Mary doing for Mother’s Day?
Erica: Mary Mary will be working! We will be in St. Louis doing a concert without our children and we will not be celebrating on that day. We will be celebrating other moms, which has been the story of our lives for the past few years.
Singersroom: Well, I’m sure they will be celebrating you anyway, not in person, but in spirit.
Erica: I’m sure when we get home, we’ll be celebrated by our husbands and our kids.
Singersroom: You guys are credited along with a few other artists for bringing gospel into the mainstream by incorporating hip-hop, soul and funk, creating a new sound called contemporary gospel. Where do you see contemporary gospel in the future?
Tina: I see it growing, I see it expanding, I see it continuing to reach people who will not go into the church, who don’t think faith-based music is relatable or relevant to them. Sometimes people identify with the beat, sometimes people identify with the whole of the music. And with us, it’s not necessarily an agenda, it’s just that that’s the sound of music that we create our lyrics to, it’s the kind of music that we like, it’s what we enjoy. Fortunately it’s been able to reach within the church and outside of the church, and we expect to continue doing that. We’ll continue to make music the way we’ve been making music and hopefully there will be other artists that will be bold enough to make music that is for the entire world, because this message is for the world. This is not a message that is just for church people, Christian people, for just faith-based, it is for the world. And it’s a message of love, hope, of redemption, and the God that we talk about is for everybody. So hopefully, it will continue to thrive, open doors, erase misconceptions, and just expand so more people in the world can hear it and be moved, and affected positively by it.
Singersroom: Yes definitely, I think your music is really universal, and that’s powerful.
Tina: Thank you!
Singersroom: Well, that wraps it up. Thank you very much for your time.
Tina: Make sure you pick up that new record, and tell everybody!