Reflections on The Year of Her Solo Career – Our Tina Campbell Interview
Tina Campbell is really, REALLY in a great place right now. The Gospel singer with an incredible writing ability and an even more remarkable voice has seen the ups and downs of the music industry, witnessed the highest and lowest points of marriage and as a business woman she has seen disappointment and setbacks as well as the most joyous sense of accomplishment. A year after our original Tina Campbell interview, the incredible Gospel singer catches up with us again to discuss the success of her debut solo album, her book, her tour and of course her marriage.
It’s always a pleasure doing a Tina Campbell interview because she is so open and honest about the process and where she is in life. The singer, author, businesswoman, wife and passionate servant of Christ details her minor setbacks, basks in the highlights and reveals plans for the future in our part one of our two part Tina Campbell interview.
Readers can expect part two in the coming days, discussing Mary Mary, reality television and much more.
Parlé Mag: I want to discuss your solo album, It’s Personal and your debut book, I Need A Day To Pray, I know there were some early issues when you put out the project and a slight delay on the releases, but how did you feel overall about the release the project?
Tina Campbell: Well I’m extremely grateful for my journey and all the mistakes that I’ve made and all the things that I’ve learned and the humble beginnings even having come from a very successful brand and group and having to start all over and see things out on my own. I feel like I have learned more as a student of the business and an executive. I’ve probably learned more in the last year and a half than I have in the last five years prior. I knew what it took and I knew what needed to be in place, but I didn’t exactly know how to put all those things together because we had several people that were paid to be the thinkers, to be the strategists, to be the negotiators, to come up with all the contractual agreements and proposals. We weren’t—and I say we because I spent most of my time being Mary Mary—we were never the people to start that process from the beginning, from the ground up. People would bring these things to us and we had to make the adjustments. Things didn’t start with us, but because I started and chose to take this approach, I have learned more as an executive and as a business woman than I would if I had chose to do things the other way. And for that reason I am incredibly grateful and I think I have had a successful record. For me to have been independent and for me to not have had much of an advertising strategy, not much marketing at all, and to—I don’t even know my exact numbers, that’s how much I keep up with it—I just want for the awareness to be there.
My music was able to help me and I feel like it will be able to help boatloads of people and so to sell 10, 20 thousand books over a period of not even a year, with very little marketing and promotion. And to sell somewhere between 30 and 50 thousand cds, again without the big push and the big muscle and the big strategy and all of the goals and things in place, just putting it out there and letting people gravitate towards it how they choose to, I think that’s not so bad. So I am extremely grateful. I am blessed and I have received so many testimonies of people telling me, ‘I am watching you and I am learning what to do. I’m watching your husband and I learning how to love my wife. I’m watching you all’s story and I am learning how I am supposed to approach the situation that I’m in. I’m reading these prayers and I am learning how to confess life over my self. And I’m learning how contrary my words were to what I’m really wanting in life. I’m listening to this music and it’s doing something to me, it’s changing the whole atmosphere and the way that I’m thinking. It’s awesome to be able to hear that. And to know that what you do counts. It’s not just entertaining and people like she can sing and she got crazy vocals, and you know, your production is great. I want all of that to be in place but to know that it’s changing their life and it’s bringing them closer to God after reading my book and their like I want to start reading the bible, that’s everything to me, because that was my whole agenda, that was my whole plan, that’s what I wanted to do. And to continue to reach them and do that, I’m completely content and completely grateful.
Parlé Mag: With that, now you’ve won Image Awards and Stellar Awards, so to be able to sit in the middle of this journey and see this type of success, how does that make you feel?
Tina Campbell: It makes me feel completely ecstatic, mainly because I didn’t expect any of that. I wasn’t looking for any of it. I had teams of people saying enlist your project to be considered for this and this and that. And because I was advised by different people—because I have a lot of people who are independently contracted people to maybe advise or help, even though my immediate team is very small, I utilize sound advice and judgement from those who are experienced in doing this. So people were like pitch your project to be considered for this and dot dot dot and then you do that and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out and you leave it. But then you get nominated and then you win and your not expecting any of it and it’s just an overwhelming feeling. I’ve come to realize that I used to over expect. I had unrealistic expectations so much of my career, much of my ministry I was disappointed. Doing a bunch of great things, achieving a lot of great things, having a bunch of accomplishments, however if my goals were so high and I came somewhere near meeting them but not exactly meeting them it was kind of a let down. So this time my only expectations was ‘God let me use my voice to tell people what you did so they could know that it’s possible for them and then they could see it in their life’. That’s all I want to do through my singing through my writing, through my books, through my music, through my concert presentations, that’s all I want to do. I want people to know there’s hope and there’s really hope in Jesus. Faith is not just something that you talk about and a good idea, it really works if you work it. That’s what I wanted to do. And all these other things, they’re great accolades—enough record sales independently without all the funds that might do the same with all the others that might do the equivalent, it’s a huge testament to God’s faithfulness to me because I decided to be faithful to him and pure with my approach to just spreading his message, not becoming a bigger star, not getting all the bigger stats, so they call my name for all these awards and I wasn’t expecting to get them At ALL! Now I got more trophies on all my shelves in there because I just followed my heart, so its completely, completely awesome. It’s hands down icing on the cake.
You get to hear both perspectives of how a broken man and a broken woman end up in broken relationships beyond their marriage and you have to deal with you first. Before you can be whole with anybody else you have to be whole with yourself…
~Tina speaking on her Evening with Tina & Teddy Campbell tour with Teddy Campbell
Parlé Mag: In February you dropped the single, “Speak The Word” and you dropped the video. Tell me why you wanted to put that track out next.
Tina Campbell: Well I just decided when I looked back at what I had done and how I had done it, of course I was happy with some of the things I had done, but I looked back at some of the things like ahhh, perhaps I should have done this, or now it’s time to do this. I didn’t have the time to do the excellent representations of audio visuals that I had wanted other than the music. I was like I want to have something for the people to pull when I’m doing all these interviews and making these appearances, when people just want to see my music in action. I was like I want people to have a visual that represents the excellence I see in myself. So I went ahead and shot 3 videos. I shot a video for “Speak The Word,” I shot a video for “Life” and I shot a video for “Destiny.” Well “Destiny” has kind of lived a bit, so I thought it had its time at radio and it’s still making an impact at radio but you know, songs play and they have their impact then they kind of die down and make room for another song, but it still has a presence, so I feel that’s the case with “Destiny” so I don’t feel like that should be the first to premiere, the visual, associated with the music. So I chose “Speak The Word” and that song, just like “Destiny” is autobiographical. That’s what my husband and I did, we started reading the bible and then we started speaking the truth over our lives. Our life is different and it’s not the hell that it was a few years ago so the fear that I might have had a few years ago to approach things and to step out on faith and not always think of the charts and the relationships and the money and how it’s going to be perceived. The faith we had to go out and do this was because we looked at God’s word and we realized that he’s our greatest source and everything we need will come into play if we follow our heart and pursue our dreams especially if it’s for sharing our faith and we can do it.
I can put a record out without Sony, I can put out a record without having all these strategists in place and having all the logistics in place that I’m used to having. We were able to do that because we spoke God’s word and we believed it and we received it. Now it’s just in our DNA, it’s how we think. That song just seemed to be the best song for me to put a video out for. Plus it was me and my husband so that made it that much more awesome. So we premiered it at Ebony and they had a great response towards it and then we threw it up on YouTube and now people seem to keep tuning in and enjoy it. That thing is spirit filled and full of passion because it’s true. It’s not just a song to sing. That song is our truth. We did that and it changed our lives. I am looking forward to releasing all the other videos with my Song and a Prayer project combining all of the prayers from my prayer book and 6 of the songs from my record and I’m kind of interweaving videos and then the songs that compliment those prayers.
Song and a Prayer
It’s three videos which are “Life”, “Speak The Word” and “Destiny”. And then there’s three live studio performances and then the prayers are interwoven in and out. So it will be another visual presentation. So that’s what the other 2 videos are for but right now everybody gets to enjoy, “Speak Da Word” until the other project is ready to launch, which at the latest will be ready in the Fall, and it’s called A Song And A Prayer, if it doesn’t come out before with one of the larger outlets, I will do it myself independently, then I will launch it on my tour, An Evening with Tina & Teddy Campbell in the Fall.
Parlé Mag: How great is it to be able to perform on the road with Teddy for this project and to enjoy this independent success together?
Tina Campbell: My husband is awesome! He’s an awesome performer and he’s an awesome singer. He’s completely passionate about what we’re talking about and what we’re singing about. This story is personal to both of us, so you got people who are out there singing what’s in their heart, singing their real life experience and that can’t be nothing but explosive, especially when it was a husband and wife that was at each other’s throat and thought the marriage was over three years ago. Now it’s stronger three years later and we can sing music, we can sing the message that brought us closer together and made us stronger. Man, I don’t know a better combination for a song and for a performance that you can have then that. It’s just been completely awesome. And I think my husband just being an incredible, skillful, capable artist, a fearless artist, being able to perform with somebody like that is just awesome, but the fact that this story is so personal to all of us and it’s something we both can share, it’s just so fantastic because you get to hear both perspectives of how a broken man and a broken woman end up in broken relationships beyond their marriage and you have to deal with you first. Before you can be whole with anybody else you have to be whole with yourself and so we get to go through that journey on our tour and we get to infuse music that we sing together. It’s an awesome privilege and blessing to be able to do that. We had no idea that this would come of this, we were just trying to get back together and maybe see if we can live our life and not break up our family and all this fantastic stuff has come along.
Parlé Mag: Moving forward, I know you mentioned the A Song and a Prayer project coming out, but is there anything else people should expect from Tina Campbell and the Gee Tree Brand?
Tina Campbell: Well we have the evening with Tina and Teddy Campbell and that tour, me and my husband we just sit out out on our porch sometimes or sit in the backyard on the swing set where I am right now—and we are so much better together than we are apart because we bounce ideas off each other. He’ll give me an idea, I’ll give him a strategy. I’ll give him an idea, he’ll give me a strategy. Or he’ll make that idea a better idea and we’ll go forward. We recently had a discussion that this tour is going to be three parts. It’s going to be the evenings with Tina and Teddy Campbell, kind of like a revival to the back drop of really great music and that will be both of us basically sharing the good news that we found in the bible that changes your life, that changes your mind and changes your life. And we’ll infuse some songs in there, the songs from my record and the songs we sing together. The night before the tour—because the tour will be Thursdays to Sunday nights. On the Wednesday nights in 9 markets hopefully, my husband is going to do a Teddy Campbell music band performance at one of the nearby venues or clubs. All of the love music that came out of this that he and I wrote together—basically that started with Teddy and I would just basically fill in the words that he gave to me to fill in the rest of the lyrics to the song. And he wrote all of these a year and a half before I found out about everything. It’s so funny that after we came through what we came through I was like, it seems like you were trapped in a world that you didn’t want to be in. Because all of your songs were about being a better man and being an honest man and getting your wife back and having her marry you again and starting over again as friends, which is exactly where we are. So those are the songs that he wrote by himself. There are about six songs that he wrote afterwards that he would come up with his creative ideas and I would usually come in as a power writer and write the verses and finish the song with basically what he was telling me or what he was doing for me or to me. I just gave him what our relationship was, but I’m able to articulate that real well. So we wrote the songs together. He’ll be able to share all that love, soul, rock music the night before and we’ll be able to cultivate lovers and marriages if you want to come out and do something grown and sexy. We’ll have that going on the night before the tour starts. And on Saturdays my husband does a bible study for men, he does that right now. He does that every two weeks and it’s called the Frontline Men’s Bible Study. He’s like if someone would have taught me the information that I have now I would have been a better man way long before I was, but I wasn’t empowered with that information. I knew the ideas and the theories but I didn’t have a how to. He said, I knew the what but I didn’t know the how and I didn’t know how to get to the how and I struggled with that for at least the past ten years of my life. I don’t want any dudes out there to be trapped the way I was and to be making a bunch of dumb decisions because you feel like I ain’t no better than the decisions I’m making. And I have no control over myself. You believe you’re the better man but you can’t ever become the better man. When you’re armed with information that says I’m above the foolishness that I’m doing, you won’t do the foolishness! You will not only aspire to be better you will put the disciplines and the practices in place to become, what you aspire to be.
So with him having that passion he’s like, while we up on the tour, I want to do the bible study. So the bible study will be happening every Saturday morning for men. So it’s three parts to the tour. I’m really excited about all those different things that are happening because it all just kind of came together that way. That wasn’t our original plan it was just to have Teddy and I sharing evenly to help both men and women in their journey of making really big mistakes, not just in marriage but big failures and things that seem unforgivable or devastating things that happen in your life and being able to recover afterwards and move on and to thrive afterwards. We just wanted to share information to help people with that and now there’s so many other parts of it.
I’m also working on a Song and a Prayer project. I may be releasing that with a really really huge retailer but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll release independently. And wherever I go and whatever I do, I will make sure I have it available. I will probably have to start my independent store at some point in time. I just haven’t been willing to commit to that. So I think we have enough going on for the rest of the year with that.
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