Part 2 of our Tina Campbell Interview – Reflecting On A Year Solo, Season 5 of the Mary Mary Reality Show & More
Parlé Mag: Let’s transition over to Mary Mary, the reality show. I saw you and quickly spoke to you at the Circle of Sisters event in NYC in October and at that point you were saying that you were pretty much over the show. But of course season 5 recently ended. Talk to me about how you stayed and why you stayed on.
Video from those comments prior to Season 5:
Tina Campbell: Okay, so let’s establish that I am grateful for the opportunity to share my life on this show. However, I didn’t enjoy the previous season nor this last season very much because it portrays me as having such a volatile personality and questionable integrity and that’s more of who I was, not who i am. I have a really big personality so it’s very easy and likely to be misunderstood. And I think with a lot of editing this time around, a lot of the negative was played on, or things were pieced together to create a truth that’s not exactly mine, that’s generally fixed several episodes later but countless episodes of exploiting a person’s personality is not really solved in one great episode several episodes later. And because I am an executive producer I can have a big fight and fuss and press to change everything but I do understand that I am in the business of making TV so I made certain concessions to try and work as cooperatively as possible so that the production company and network wouldn’t feel like there was always a fight to make a TV show that they felt could attract the greatest viewership.
At the end of the day, I’m not happy with some of the things I cooperated with, nor the outcome of the last two seasons. Truth is, neither my sister, nor I, nor our family have animosity between us, nor are we worried about a bunch of the things that we appear to be worried about. Nor is Mitch a part of any of our business affairs since we let him go. If there is a season six, all the cast of the Mary Mary show is committed to sticking to our actual truth not an adjusted truth. If that can’t work, I suppose the last season was the last season and we’ll all accept that. I personally think that having a successful gospel duo that was blessed enough to have individual careers and ministries that were successful and kept us so preoccupied that it brought us to the point of saying we/I have to get back to Mary Mary when we finish with this because it is pretty consuming, I think that makes for a pretty awesome storyline. Not to mention we’re group artists, solo artists, business women and entrepreneurs with many other career ventures and obligations. We’re mothers, wives, etc. So it’s wonderful to be able to show all of the women out there that feel like they’re carrying too much, that they can pursue their passion, commit to the ministry or whatever their heart desires, and live out their dreams. When these people are watching us manage it all, every single week, and having to deal with the regular everyday drama, like childcare, home disaster, family relations, especially when you work together, career aspirations, etc. It’s relatable, inspiring, and encouraging because although we’re celebrities, we are very much regular women juggling many of the same things and trying to make sense of life, work, marriage, children, and etc.
Erica and I are the only Mary’s that there are and will ever be. And furthermore, we’re the only Mary’s that Sony wants. – Tina Campbell
I really do believe that our own lives have enough drama with the naturally occurring ups and downs, surprises and such that don’t always go right, it doesn’t need exaggeration nor created content, contention and rivalry. We’re a real Christian family who believes in and adheres to the bible and all the contention and worry of the last two seasons just doesn’t reflect us, nor our faith in a truthful nor positive light. I am incredibly grateful for five seasons of being able to share our lives with the world to hopefully direct them to what gives us value. And that is, our faith. I just want to make sure that moving forward we only reflect that and ourselves in the truest light. If that lends itself to a season 6 of the Mary Mary Show, then to God be the glory.
Parlé Mag: One of the storylines on this last season was how do we get Mary Mary back together to drop this new album, where do you stand on that now?
Tina Campbell: Now we still haven’t figured that part out! (LAUGHS) That’s the truth. I mean, l’m navigating being a solo artist, self-managing, running my own label and managing my self-published book, booking my own tours, facilitating all the new ideas that pop in my head while being a mommy of four young kids still at home and a wife. I’m just a lil’ bit busy so I couldn’t make a Mary Mary record this year. What I’m doing right now is what I’m called to do. It’s where my heart is, this is my passion so I can’t just drop this and run back to the Mary’s because my colleagues and my label wants or demands it. A lot of people are vested in Mary Mary for their own career aspirations and achievement concerns and they feel like this brand can achieve a lot of things and make a bunch of money and great impressions and that’s not my reason for being a part of Mary Mary.
You know why I’ll be rushing back to do a Mary Mary record when I finally do go back? It will be to sing those songs that we recorded, that we have not put out yet, that helped me through the most horrific storms of my life before I ever even wrote a song for my solo album. I definitely told my husband today in the kitchen that I’m definitely going to do another Mary Mary record because those songs helped me get through when I couldn’t talk, couldn’t pray, and couldn’t even face the world. I couldn’t even get up out my room, out my bed or even face my children. Three of the songs, in particular, that are going to be on the upcoming Mary Mary record are the songs that gave me hope, that spoke life over me because I couldn’t manage to speak life over myself. I can’t wait to sing those songs. So I’m so excited to do the next Mary Mary album, but I’m not going to do it until I can fully commit. I’m not doing Mary Mary halfway, partially committed, with my attention elsewhere and not fully excited. I’ll be all the way vested when Erica and I get back in the studio. Still I try not to give time lines because whenever I do, I’m held to them and truth is, sometimes things change and you have to shift. So to keep the peace, I’ll just keep quiet until Erica and I are back in the studio. And just so we’re clear, Erica is busy. The show puts an emphasis on me being busy but Erica stays busy, too! She seems to be everywhere four or five times a year. She has everything going on, (including a new radio show) so she doesn’t exactly have time to stop and make a Mary Mary album right now, either.
Parlé Mag: Right. Well, just to clear it up, there was talk about replacing members or adding new members. Any chance of that happening?
Tina Campbell: Uhm NO!!! The thing is this, although we have all these solo aspirations that consume most of our time, we’re actually still a group that is juggling our existing calendar performances in the middle of solo land. Even though we’re not making another record, Mary Mary still takes up a nice amount of space on our calendars. We do interviews together, we do promotion together, we’re still singing together, so it’s really hard to maintain a storyline that there’s some other replacement group member when you’re about to see us in your city at a Mary Mary concert with the original Mary’s on the upcoming weekend. I’m just saying. The network and show producer thought it was a good idea to appease Sony. Some Mary Mary show viewers fell for it. Others, who had tickets to upcoming concerts thought the show started reaching a bit, and I agree with them. Nevertheless, Erica and I are the only Mary’s that there are and will ever be. And furthermore, we’re the only Mary’s that Sony wants.
Parlé Mag: Okay, just to jump real quick. I know you had a Walmart deal on the table to bundle the album and the book. Did that deal every come together?
Tina Campbell: That did not come together. I had an executive that I was working with and she left the company. When the regime changes, it sometimes changes the existing negotiations. New regimes loses their excitement about pre-existing arrangements so I think the interest in my project fell through the cracks. The truth is this, I’m fully aware that much of the world is more aware of and interested in Mary Mary because they have history with us as a unit. So people are not as quick to jump and participate in some of these solo ventures. Not everyone is a fan of the Mary’s being solo. However, I have to follow God’s leading and I know this project, along with my previous solo releases, was heaven sent. This Song and a Prayer DVD idea came to me while shooting three videos for my solo project. I only wanted to shoot videos to have great visual representation, if ever needed, but God dropped this idea in my lap so I just expect a better deal to come about. I’ve actually got something exciting in the works for this project but I’ll discuss that once it’s solidified. When you know God has placed an idea inside of you to help draw people to Him you don’t get discouraged when one door closes. You just wait for the next one to open. So I did and it did. I am very confident that this combination of prayers from my book interwoven with videos from several songs off my solo album will be an effective communicator of faith working so I’m excited about launching the project with whomever the deal is secured with. I used to be hostage to the idea that I needed this network, or that TV station or this show to have us on or I needed this radio station to support us, or I need this company or that person to endorse us. I went through those stages and phases but now I understand that if I don’t have nothing or nobody on earth I’m still going to move forward and expect great things to happen because I have God. As long as He keeps giving me great ideas and vision, I’ll keep moving forward like all the pieces are in place because God gives provision wherever He gives vision.
I have to be honest and say, I haven’t been accustomed to rolling this way all my life but it seems to be my new approach to life over the past three years and I like it. It makes me focus on and put my trust in God rather than specific people or companies, and things always come together. Plus taking the initiative to do everything on my own leaves me with ownership of my project which is ultimately the goal of any business person. You don’t do all this creating for someone else to own it because your hard up or anxious to make a quick dollar. So you move forward with your goals diligently, knowing that you will find the right business relationships or they will find you. At least that’s been my experience.
Parlé Mag: What are you most looking forward to at this point in your career?
Tina Campbell: I am most looking forward to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ alongside my husband and seeing lives change as a result. I’m looking forward to being the example of what I preach so people can be interested in who I serve. I’m looking forward to following my heart and following my passion and being completely fulfilled knowing that if God gave me a vision and brought me to a door, he’ll bring me through the door. So I’m committed to enjoying the journey because I’m not so sure that I did before. It’s like I kinda missed a bunch of what I’ve experienced. Probably a lack of gratitude but those days are over. I have been a lot of places and done a lot of things and I’m looking forward to more of it with more gratitude and less attitude and less fear and anxiety and just being okay with what is, what is to come, enjoying the ride, and thanking God in the process. That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Parlé Mag: Okay, I think we covered a whole lot. Any final words you want to put out there?
Tina Campbell: Yes. (Laughs)
I’d just like to say if people want to hear music and read content about faith in action from someone who lived and lives what they’re talking and singing about I would really encourage them to get my album, It’s Personal and my book, I Need A Day To Pray. I went through hell and felt like it was going to be the death of me, but faith in action, in the midst of that hell produced an extremely blessed life and I lived to tell about it. Those projects helped to bring a great change in my life and I honestly believe that that is what will happen to the lives of people that purchase these projects.
And I would like to invite everyone to follow me on:
Twitter & Periscope: @iAmTinaCampbell
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