SoulBounce: It’s been a long time coming and the world is finally getting a chance to hear a bit of who Erica Campbell is by herself. What can we expect from Help?
Erica Campbell: Help is a collection of songs that reflect my heart and the crazy year that I had in 2013. All of my ups and downs. But through those downs there was a lot of resilience and determination to not stay down, broken or hurt. It’s a fun ride. The whole record is a great ride from beginning to end, and I hope that people buy the record and hear the whole thing as opposed to clicking a single on iTunes. You’d be cheating yourself if you did that because each song connects to each other from beginning to end. I love it.
SB: Much of the album, including the first single “A Little More Jesus,” includes a bit of twang and heavy dosage of a country sound. What made you take that turn in the studio?
EC: It’s country if that’s what you know, but it is actually more rock and roll. If you listen to British rock bands, they all were very musical. Even their musicians were gospel musicians like organists and guitar players. I think it is more to me real music indicative of what was happening with soul music in the '50s and '60s. It’s more like Janis Joplin and a lot of those big rock bands that did music like that. It’s kind of different and unexpected but that’s what I’ve done my entire career is be different, so of course I will continue on in that vein.
SB: Your second single and the album's title track "Help" includes a guest appearance by rapper Lecrae. How did that collaboration come about?
EC: Warryn actually had the idea of having a rapper on the song. That song went through a bit of an evolution where we had one version and wanted to just make it better. We knew that the hook was strong. I mean any time you cry out for help that’s going to resonate with people and they will identify with it because so many of us need help. We wanted to make sure that the verses and every element of the song added to it and made the song grow to become larger than life. So that’s what I’m hoping people feel and hear. I know that there are millions of people who are crying for help and need to know that they’re not alone and that they won’t stay broken forever. I think that this song speaks to that, and I think Lecrae blessed the track and it is amazing.
SB: “Help” also features a special performance from your daughter Krista Campbell. How did it feel having your baby girl in the studio with you and would you allow her to pursue a musical career of her own in the future?
EC: I loved having my daughter in the studio. She’s actually been in the studio quite a bit. She’s on not just that song but also a few others. But that song highlights her voice and we did that on purpose. She’s a very musical child. She loves to sing and she loves to be in front of the camera. But the bible says, “train up a child in the way she should go,” so she needs a little bit more training so it will be a while. But she sounds great and when we heard it on the radio I had to tweet the station and thank them for playing it so that my daughter could have a chance to hear herself on the radio.
SB: Now the album starts off with the emotional ballad entitled “The Question,” where you repeatedly beg the question “who killed Jesus?” What does that song mean to you and what made you choose that as the album opener?
EC: When you have people’s attention you gotta say something, you have to say something powerful and impactful and something that will make them think. You know how when a person has a question mark inside their head, they kind of tilt their head to the right? I wanted people to hear “who killed Jesus?” and go “oh okay, where is she going?” It’s an interesting conversation that has been had by a lot of different religions and denominations and so the answer is not who killed Jesus but it has become the resounding message that he laid his life down for us and that he was a sacrifice for us. I think that’s a very powerful song, and I wanted to open the record in a different kind of way.
SB: Obviously we’re all used to you and your sister Tina Campbell working together and creating incredible musical moments. Did she have any creative input on this album and was she involved in the writing process?
EC: She helped me write “A Little More Jesus.” She wrote the second verse on that song. I kept trying to get her in the studio ,but she, however, would not come. She was like “I’m just not feeling in the studio mood.” But I think it was good that I was able to just write from my heart and my experience. I think it allows it to be more uniquely Erica as opposed to just another rendering of Mary Mary.
SB: I have to say that “Nobody Else” was immediately my favorite off of the album. It has the perfect amount of that funk, soul and bounce that we love over at SBHQ. If you had to pick a favorite track, which one would it be?
EC: It might be either “Eddie” or “More Than A Lover.” “Eddie” of course because its about my Dad, and I feel like I’m honoring and immortalizing him in a way. And “More Than A Lover” because it’s different. It’s about relationships and how people fall in and out of love. Sometimes we get so consumed with who we’re in love with that we forget to acknowledge the lover of our souls and that is God. I like that song because you don’t hear many gospel artists singing about relationships, breakups and makeups. But I guess with the year that I had that subject was very present so it made it’s way on to the record.