Tina and Erica Campbell, the three-time Grammy Award-winning gospel duo Mary Mary, are busy moms with eight children between the two of them. The sisters are promoting their latest album, Go Get It, and their new reality TV series Mary, Mary.
Tina and Erica open up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about managing their large families and booming careers, and admit, “It’s definitely not easy.” They also talk about the joys of motherhood and what to expect in the second season of their hit reality show Mary, Mary.
CBS: Erica, you have a new baby in the house. How old is Zaya now?
ERICA: “I do. Zaya is 7 months, born January 24.”
CBS: With three kids now, you must be busy. How old are Krista and Warryn, Jr., and what are they into?
ERICA: “Everything! Warryn loves his drums. His has a pair in his room and downstairs, and pretty much plays all day. Krista is into piano, singing and dancing. She is always watching something that has kids singing. They’re fun! I have good kids. I have really good kids.”
CBS: Are they adjusting well to the new baby?
ERICA: “They are! Krista thinks it’s her baby. And Warryn comes in and gives her kisses in the morning. They are doing pretty good.”
CBS: Tina, you also had a baby recently, in August! Congratulations! Please tell us about your new addition, Santana.
TINA: “Thank you! Santana Campbell is 3 weeks. He is the greatest joy ever. It’s funny how I thought my fifth child would be overwhelming. But as soon as he was born I felt a great sense of relief, and really a great sense of joy. It’s unexplainable. It’s amazing how much joy this little boy has brought me. Just looking at him I smile all the time.
All the family comes in 27,000 times a day to kiss him, and touch him and see if he’s real, and try to get him to interact. My small kids don’t understand that he’s not there yet, but they’re waiting for that day.”
CBS: You have a house full! How many children do you have now, and are they adjusting well to their baby brother?
TINA: Five kids! My oldest daughter, Cierra, lives in Chicago with her biological mother, but she left so we did have a house filled with five. She was a great help to me and entertained the younger ones. Then we have Laiah who is my first born. She’s 8 years old. She wants to come in and burp him and feed him, and do all the things that I do with him because she feels like she’s old enough. Other than that, she’s active in sports, or drawing, or she is trying to plan her life and how I’m going to facilitate it. She is who I call ‘Logistics.’ She is always planning all of our lives out.
And then there is Meela who is little Miss Prissy. She is always sitting with her legs crossed, being fabulous. She always wants to hold the baby and kiss the baby every time she lays eyes on him. Then there is Tj who is basically here with him during the day. When he is not reading a book or watching educational DVDs he wants to come in and kiss him, and kiss him!
So everyone is enjoying the baby, so my husband and I are trying to get to the baby in between all of the other kids. Everybody’s been loving this addition. It’s been great!”
CBS: With expanding families, how do the both of you find the time to work on your busy careers, including your TV series, Mary, Mary?
ERICA: It’s definitely not easy. At this point it takes really, really good scheduling. We’re kind of down right now – kind of – even though we are still doing interviews and have a few more to do. We aren’t traveling on the road right now. We are still filming and interviewing.
We aren’t totally down, it’s hard to explain. We just do it. We love our family but we also love our careers. We don’t always make the mark. Sometimes we are really frustrated and have to quit the group, but then we come back pretty quick.”
TINA: “Like Erica said, scheduling in advance is very important. We all understand the impromptu nature and the quick turn around in this business. Things can come up or pop up in a day or half days notice, and you just have to be ready to stop, drop and roll. That’s how we have kind of lived prior to our last babies, but now we don’t always have the option to do that.
We understand that we don’t always have the option to do that because we have to schedule our professional commitments around a large personal commitment. So we aren’t always available on a moment’s notice like we used to be. We really do take time to schedule and make sure the biggest priorities are locked in and part of our calendar. We balance the best we can.
Like Erica said, do we always make the mark? Not at all! We make an effort everyday to make sure family is prioritize and that we are committed to the success of Mary Mary.”
CBS: Tell us about your reality show Mary, Mary. How did the show come about?
TINA: “Wow! It’s funny, we’ve been talking over a year with different people in the business and people we’ve been interviewing with. The idea of doing a reality show had been communicated to us countless times before we actually accepted, because we just weren’t interested and didn’t want to put our personal lives on blast. We didn’t see the point in it.
But we kept hearing from so many people that there is so much more to you all other than what we put on the stage. What people talked about is how we balance family and how we balance our relationships with our husbands – not perfectly, but happily. When we started hearing about that and how it can be inspirational, we thought it might be good to open up the door and show what juggling this life looks like and how you make it all happen. It’s not easy.
We also wanted to show what Christian living looks like. A lot of times people think all you do is sit up on the Bible all day and quote scriptures, and that you are so detached from normalcy that all you do is stay in the spiritual realm, and that is such an untruth and we wanted people to see that. So we figured we’d let the cameras in and continue to inspire beyond our music.”
ERICA: “We had taken meetings all over town about other shows and then we had this meeting. We left the meeting and two hours after she was like, ‘We want the show, we want to do that!’ It happened really fast. The first season was incredible, and the second season starts December 13 and I’m really, really excited about it!”
CBS: What can we expect from the second season?
ERICA: “You will be following Tina’s pregnancy, but you’ll also see a lot of us on stage. The cameras happened to be around during promo week for our latest album, Go Get It, so we literally had three concerts back to back and had to fly to a different city every day. So everything that could go wrong absolutely did, whether is was travel or sound check! My baby was with me, my mom was with me, my sister is getting married. We were trying to balance all that and make it make sense.
Last season people really got a chance to see how we feel about our family and how it works, and this season you get to see us doing concerts and different places.”
TINA: “People will get to see how we are as Mary Mary. You see how crazy and chaotic things can be, and you don’t think that happens in gospel work. Everyone thinks it is so happy and goes well, but that really isn’t the truth at all!”
CBS: We love your title of your recent album Go Get It; please tell us about your latest hit CD. What was some of your inspiration for the album?
TINA: The CD Go Get It is basically a compilation CD with a couple of new tracks on there. We’ve had so many songs that we’ve made. You know you have the single tracks and those are the ones that lead the records, but there are so many other songs that fills the records and makes them interesting.
When we go out and perform them live, there are so many people that gravitate to songs that just might have not been the quote on quote single. So we decided to revamp a few songs and give everyone the version that we do in concerts and refresh their memories and remind why they have taken to Mary Mary.
We also added new tracks like the title song, Go Get It, which is basically the anthem to go out and go for what you want in life. It’s not going to happen unless you go out and get it. Erica and I have been known for inspiration and motivational anthems, and here is yet another, which speaks to how we approach out lives.
Another song on there, Sunday Morning, shows what we look forward to. We were born and raised in church, so it shows what it looks like leading up to Sunday. And that’s a really cool song. So we have that and a lot of old singles, and put it on a CD, and titled it Go Get It and put it out there for the people to enjoy and they’ve been enjoying it. So that’s pretty cool. I’m glad they responded to it the way they did!”
CBS: Are you working on another album or are you taking a break from Mary Mary for a while?
ERICA: “Oh no! We actually go on tour in October and probably again in the Spring in 2013 while the show is on air between December and February. While I’m on maternity leave, I’m going to be a judge for a gospel choir.”
TINA: “We actually are pretty busy, Erica! We are also working on a clothing line. And we will be working on some recording before the year’s up. It’s not penciled in, but it is hard to stay away from it, so I’m sure we’ll work on that as well.”
CBS: How do you do it all? Do you have nannies? Housecleaners? Husbands that help? Please give us an idea of how you juggle your career and motherhood.
TINA: “We do have some help in the house, but we don’t have someone to do every single thing. We have nannies around the clock because our schedules require that. Traditional daycare does not work for us. And our husbands stay busy working as well. So we have nannies around the clock and we have people to keep the house tidy but Erica and I are very hands on moms, and we don’t have a staff of people.
As mothers, what gives you your value and what creates that relationship with your husband and your children is being there and being hands on. You can’t make sure everything gets done; some of it you have to do yourself. We are the ones that do the cooking and help with the school projects. We bring our kids to their activities and make sure we are home for what our husbands need help with, and for date night.
We make time for that because that is how you create value for yourself as a mom and as a wife. That is how you create a relationship with your children, so they know you love them and keep them important even though you are touring and on the road.
It is definitely a lot of work! Thank God for the help that we have. We could probably use more help. I put great value doing what I do for the family. A lot of times we’re tired. Maybe that will end a little bit when our children are bigger. But it makes our lives valuable and rich, and gives us the motivation to do what we do. And then we can come back home and tell everyone, and enjoy them. It’s what fulfills us.
It is a juggling act. I cannot try to make it make sense. A lot of times I stay tired, and think about what I didn’t get done. That’s kind of the story of any working mom. We continue to make a great effort. We juggle professional and personal to the best of our ability. We continue to try everyday and make it happen.”
ERICA: “It’s a pretty big team that we have to help do what we do: a weekday manual, a weekend manual, housekeeper, loads of sisters, cousins that lend a hand now and again. If I’m up late a night at work, I’m still going to check on my baby and I know she’ll wake up at 4:00 or 5:00. And then Krista is coming in at 7:00 before school, and Wo will come in because he wants to play. I try to take naps in the morning, but that doesn’t always happen because I want to be with my husband.
Get back to work. And it’s just kind of the break. Making shakes to stay healthy. And then you have to figure time to write a song. But you know, we manage.”
TINA: You know, we do know that you have to work in schedules. Like, Erica says her baby wakes up at 4, and my baby wakes up 12, 3, 6, 9 and feeding sessions last an hour. I’m trying to get an hour and a half. So, right now isn’t a good time to get in a creative space and write a record.
There are certain things we can do with certain stages of our lives. We have to wait to get to others, like when our children are sleeping through the night a little bit more that would be a better time to start recording. We try to not do everything all at once. The touring never stops, but we are custom to that because we all have multiple children. Again, we are working daily to make sense of it. I’m sure it will work out.”