Gospel star Erica Campbell’s advice on how to be a great singer

OPINION: "On Masters of the Game," the Mary Mary singer takes us inside what it really means to be a professional.

Masters of the Game: Erica Campbell On Mastery
Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Erica Campbell dishes out advice on achieving mastery. (TheGrio)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

On “Masters of the Game,” we love to give our audience advice. We love to talk about how to become a master. In my interview with Erica Campbell, a master of gospel singing, she gave us advice on how to become a great singer. Campbell went to school to study singing so she understands all of the technical parts involved in singing, but when asked for advice, she didn’t talk about anything technical. She talked about self-esteem and being certain in yourself.

She remembered being at a show waiting to go on as several gospel legends like Fred Hammond and Yolanda Adams went before her. She was a bit worried because being onstage after those giants can be intimidating. Then she remembered who she was and she recovered her belief in herself. 

“I remember hearing in my soul, ‘I gave you what you need to be all that you need,’” she said. Her internal voice told her you are enough. “So I was like, I don’t have to be them. I’m actually here on the same program. I was invited too, to sing my song.”

That sort of self-certainty and self-esteem is necessary to deal with the rollercoaster of life as a professional singer. We all can see the glory that goes with being a great singer but it’s harder for us to see the inevitable valleys.

“You have to be sure about what it is you want,” Campbell said. “If you want to sing because you want people to like you, pick another career. Sell ice cream. Because they’re not always gonna like the song or you or your performance.”

Singing professionally is a life of both privileges and pains. There’s both acceptance and rejection. You have to be able to deal with both.

Campbell said, “My advice to the singer is be sure about what you want to do. Hills and valleys are both involved in this career. Don’t discount the valley, but don’t put too much on the mountain because you won’t stay there forever.”

My interview with Campbell is filled with gems like this. You can stream “Masters of the Game” or watch on theGrio TV.

Touré, theGrio.com

Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.