ESSENCE: You’re currently on tour with Kirk Franklin. What’s that experience been like?
ERICA: It’s wonderful to see the eyes of the crowd, some of them are amazed that this is gospel music being presented in such a fabulous way. Some of them leave with the strength and courage to deal with whatever it is they’re facing, some kids leave with a new perspective of who God can be in their life in 2006. All those things are so awesome and so much bigger than we are as artists and that’s the important thing, to not just make impressions and sell records, but to change lives, especially if we call ourselves gospel artists and we’re singing about the life changing power of Jesus Christ, if we’re not doing that then we’re not serving our purpose. To know that all those people leave, and they’re jumping and they’re screaming and some of them are crying, some of them are laughing because Kirk is hilarious, then I think it’s a wonderful evening. People don’t feel, ‘oh I going to church and I have to be quiet.’ You can scream, you can holler. This is not a pleasant, polite event where you watch and sit back and don’t participate. You have to participate. It’s a party.
TINA: We’re out there having so much fun. We don’t sing this music just because we have to or we’re forced to, we sing this because we believe it, we love it, we live it our lives based on what you’re hearing, so we’re very passionate about this and we’re enjoying every minute of it. There are nothing but benefits that can come from this. It’s a wonderful thing, we’re having some much fun every night and we want to thank
Kirk Franklin for allowing our kids to be his background dancers. They come on stage when Kirk is doing his last song, “Looking For You.” My daughter will not dance on the side of the stage. She will only dance we she gets to the center of the stage. I don’t know how I feel about that.
ESSENCE: Of all the songs on your latest album, Mary Mary, do you have a favorite?
ERICA and TINA: “Love You That Much.”
ERICA: I love the words: “If you tell me to go/I’m going to tell you I will/because I love you that much/If you tell me to stay and be still I will/tell me what to say even if I’m afraid I will/it doesn’t matter/whatever whenever I will.” It’s our heart’s cry because a lot of times you’re challenged to do things you’ve never done before and a lot of people feel if you’ve never done it before you should stay away, but if I feel God pushing me in a direction, if I feel Him leading and guiding me, I have to follow even if I’m afraid or not. That’s what that song is saying.
ESSENCE: What’s next for Mary Mary?
ERICA: We have three more dates from here, then we’re going on the Pantene Total You tour. We’re also working on a television show, kind of like, “106 & Gospel,” a video and lifestyle show for BET, coming out this fall.
TINA: The idea of the show is for us to allow people to see what today’s Christian looks like. A lot of time there are misconceptions and people think that as Christians you are not fashionably correct, you’re outdated and that your whole approach to life is ‘Alleluia, Jesus,’ holding the Bible, looking up at the sky. It’s ridiculous, but like Erica says, there are still a lot of people who think that gospel people still look like the church scene from “The Color Purple.” And they don’t understand that there are so many people in so many different facets and areas of life, in entertainment and everything, that are Christians, who are not wearing a Bible on their shoulders or choir robes.
ERICA: We deal with the same things, the same inner conflicts, relationships, life, business, family, all of that stuff, we just have a different source. This is my best, hands-down gospel story: I was walking down the street, we were going for a meeting, and this guy hollers out the window, “Hey, yo, Mary Mary, those are some nice jeans you got on sister. Those ain’t no gospel jeans you’ve got on. I said, ‘What do gospel jeans look like.’ He answered back, ‘My bad, my bad, I’m just saying you look nice. I said, ‘Church girls look nice too.’ He said, ‘You’re right, you’re right, do your thing sister.’
Mary Mary are currently promoting their latest album, Mary Mary.