We’re winding up this week with Modern Gospel Singers: Mary, Mary, Donnie McClurkin, Yolanda Adams.
Mary Mary is an American contemporary gospel duo, consisting of sisters Erica Atkins-Campbell (born April 29, 1972) and Trecina “Tina” Atkins-Campbell (born May 1, 1974). The duo are often credited along with Kirk Franklin for broadening the fan base of urban contemporary gospel in the 2000s by introducing elements of soul music, hip hop, funk and jazz. Mary Mary broke onto the music scene with their popular song “Shackles (Praise You)”—which is considered one of the pioneering songs of urban contemporary gospel music. The group’s name, as stated in an interview is inspired by the two famous Mary’s from the Bible; Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, and Mary Magdalene.
Their debut album, Thankful (2000), was certified Platinum. In addition, the duo has released two Gold albums: Incredible (2002) and Mary Mary (2005), both of which have charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums. They have also received four Grammys, among other awards. In 2011, they released their fifth studio album, Something Big.
In March 2012, they premiered their own television series, Mary Mary, on WE tv. A second season premiered in December 2012 and concluded in February 2013. Their most recently released album is their first compilation album, Go Get It (2012), with the hit single of the same name. Then the third season premieres on February 25.
Donald Andrew McClurkin, Jr. (born November 9, 1959) is an American gospel music singer and minister. He has won three Grammy awards, ten Stellar awards, two BET awards, two Soul Train awards, one Dove award and one NAACP Image award for his work. He is said to be one of the top selling Gospel music artist selling over 10 million albums worldwide.
A friendship with a Warner Alliance executive resulted in his signing to the label for his 1996 self-titled LP, with producers Mark Kibble of Take 6, Cedric and Victor Caldwell plus Andraé Crouch. The disc, which featured the perennially popular “Stand,” went gold shortly after being publicly lauded by Oprah Winfrey. At the 48th Annual Grammy Awards, he won in the category Traditional Soul Gospel Album, for “Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs”. McClurkin is best known for his hit songs “Stand” and “We Fall Down” which were played in heavy rotation on both Gospel and Urban radio. His three solo albums have topped the Billboard charts.
Dovetailing off the success of his near double-platinum selling album,”Live in London and More” McClurkin released “Psalms,Hymns and Spiritual Songs” in 2005 and “We All Are One: Live In Detroit” in 2009 which also topped Billboard charts across various musical genres. McClurkin’s love for people and desire to share gospel music,globally, is why he includes a language medley:Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Dutch in most live performances.
Radio and television
Tom Versen and Tony Sisti of T&T Creative signed McClurkin to a radio syndication deal with advertising giant Dial-Global and syndicator Gary Bernstein. T&T Creative provided a mobile recording studio in Pastor Donnie’s church that he can also take on the road. He is quoted as saying, “As much as I love music and singing, I really love doing radio and the direct feedback I get from my listeners all over the country. I never thought I would be having this much fun doing radio and I could touch and impact so many people.”
In 2009, he also broadcast his own television series, Perfecting Your Faith, on cable television. His television appearances include Good Morning America, CBS’s The Early Show, The View, Girlfriends and The Parkers. He has also been featured in such films as The Gospel and The Fighting Temptations.
Yolanda Yvette Adams (born August 27, 1961) is an American gospel singer, record producer, actress, and radio host. As of September 2009, she had sold 4.5 million albums since 1991 in the United States, and nearly 8 million albums worldwide according to SoundScan.
On December 11, 2009, Billboard Magazine named her the No. 1 Gospel Artist of the last decade. In the same chart, her album Mountain High…Valley Low was acknowledged as the best gospel album.
Adams’ first significant attention outside the urban contemporary gospel arena came with the release of Mountain High… Valley Low in 1999 on Elektra Records. Several mainstream artists and producers helped in the production of this album including Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson, Boyz II Men), James “Big Jim” Wright (Mariah Carey, Nicole C. Mullen), Warryn Campbell (Mary Mary, Brandy), and Keith Thomas (BeBe & CeCe Winans). The album went 2x Platinum in 2000 and won Adams a Grammy Award. Notable singles from the album include “Yeah”, “Fragile Heart”, and “Open My Heart”. “Fragile Heart”, was dedicated to the memory of Adams’ long-time road manager, who died in 1998.
In 2000, Adams released a Christmas album, and in 2001 she released a live album (The Experience). The Experience netted Adams a second Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album. Believe, which included the hit “Never Give Up” was released in 2001 and reached gold status according to the RIAA. She would later go on to perform this song at “The Salute to Gospel Music” at the White House during President George W. Bush’s administration. In 2001, Adams also released a compilation CD entitled The Divas Of Gospel; it included the legendary Grammy Award winner Albertina Walker, who is considered the “queen of gospel music.”
Adams recorded a song for the 2003 film Honey entitled “I Believe”, which played during the last scene in the final dance.
Adams was also a judge for the 2nd annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists’ careers.