We’ve loved having sisters Tina and Erica Campbell—otherwise known as Mary Mary—as part of the Women of Faith Team! They’re back with us in 2011 and we look forward to their special brand of worship (and “swagga”!) at Imagine events in 14 cities across the U.S.
Mary Mary’s new album, Something Big, is set to be released March 29. We caught up with Tina and Erica for a chat about their new project:
WoF: Let’s start with the name of your new release. What’s the story behind Something Big?
MM: The story is simply to tell the world about the biggest, greatest, and best thing to ever happen in our lives … Jesus. Jesus is Something Big in our lives and we just can’t keep it to ourselves. Gotta tell it!!
WoF: Is there an overarching theme to this new album?
MM: Something Big is the soundtrack to living, loving, giving, and DOing in a BIG way. Living outside of yourself, while taking a look within one’s self at the same time.
WoF: Are they still called “albums” these days, by the way?
MM: Technically they are CDs but everyone still says album.
WoF: Once you decide to record a new album, what’s your first step?
MM: The first step is to get before God and ask Him for his heart, intent, and purpose for every song that He will lead us to write.
WoF: How does the songwriting process work with you two?
Erica: We work, pray, play, and write.
Tina: It’s funny because we never come into the studio and jump right into music making. We lounge around . . . there’s generally a lot of laughing and shooting the breeze about nothing in particular. Then we listen to a few tracks or Warryn (our producer) creates one or several different tracks―depending on which process moves us or him the most. Erica jumps online to watch stuff on YouTube for inspiration, Warryn stops making MM tracks to go play Sunday morning up-tempo choir music . . . All this insanity helps us vibe and bring it together. Then we pray.
Erica: I really like our process in the studio; it’s a relaxed environment. We push ourselves really hard, and when we’re not pushing enough, Warryn gives us a nice big shove! LOL
Tina: Warryn and Erica generally come up with concept. I just go with whatever the track makes me feel lyrically, which is subject to change during the process.
Erica: We don’t wanna write and record the same song twice. This is CD #6 so we really have to be open to what God wants us to sing and say. We both share equally in the creative process whether we’re coming up with lyrics or melodies or looking at a submitted song from someone else. We comb over it all to make sure it fits us; that it’s a song MM should sing.
Tina: If we all like and are moved by or ministered to by the direction it’s going, we continue. The lyrics and melodies must be scrutinized and loved by us all. Usually when it is, we’ve done our best work. If we listen to what was created later and we’re unmoved, it generally doesn’t make the cut. We’re extremely critical of our work so if it brings us to our knees, makes us dance, think, or just feel really good inside, we believe it’ll make the listeners feel the same. That’s when it becomes a go.
WoF: Talk to us about “Walking.”
MM: Walking is twofold in a sense… on one hand it’s a self check on your personal walk: taking time to take note of what people see in us. Are we a source of strength and light or a source of contention and darkness? Taking the time to make sure our walk and what we say line up.
But at the same time, acknowledging that “walking” is a process and at our best all we can do is take one step at a time…moment by moment. The other side of walking tells us to take our time and do that walk through life; take it step by step, moment by moment, and don’t be so blinded by the destination that you miss out on the journey.
WoF: What’s your favorite song on Something Big? What is it about that song that makes it your favorite?
MM: “Sitting with Me.” This song is our anthem of sorts. The song says:
“Yeah, I been left out, looked over.
Just for carrying THIS cross on my shoulder”
It’s OK with me if I’m the last one that’s picked for the team; I’ll sit on the sidelines as long as He’s sitting with me. That kind of epitomizes our story; too much for some (some mainstream) and not enough for others (some church folks). A lot of times we are left out and looked over by both sides just for giving the Gospel the Mary Mary way.
WoF: What are you looking forward to the most about going on the Imagine tour with Women of Faith?
MM: We’re looking forward to engaging women from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and pasts, all together in one place with one common unifying thread; we are all women and women of faith; whether we acknowledge that faith at first or not. We are moms, sisters, girlfriends, wives, with a desire and need to love and be loved, to forgive and to be forgiven, who understand and want to be understood. It’s such a transforming weekend without the boundaries of denominational restriction―just an arena of hearts that long to believe and have faith.
WoF: Is there anything you’d like to say to our Women of Faith audience?
MM: Yep! Live Big, Love Big, Give Big . . . Just Do SOMETHING BIG . . . starting with yourself first!!!! Oh, and make sure you pick up that Mary Mary Something Big soundtrack while you’re doing it, ‘cause everybody needs theme music. : )