Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, #TeamBeautiful decided to catch up with one of our favorite celebrity dads, legendary record producer Warryn Campbell. Warryn sat with his equally fabulous wife, Erica Campbell, one of the undisputed queens of gospel music, to talk to us about growing into the husband and father that he is today. Here’s what Warryn and Erica had to say:
HELLO BEAUTIFUL: You’re well known for working together in the music industry as husband and wife. Erica, what are the positive attributes that you think Warryn brings to the table that has allowed the two of you to be successful in your career and your marriage?
ERICA CAMPBELL: He’s so talented. And he’s such a student of music—and not just urban or hip hop but music overall. Classical, jazz, there’s so many different styles and I think it allows him to create with a different level of excellence. The musical information that he has I think is what allowed him to excel the way he does. I enjoy watching him make tracks, make music. Something switches in his face and it’s just him and the music.
I dare not ask him a question while he’s making the music because he can’t pull himself away. It’s almost like it’s his other girlfriend but that’s okay, I allow that.
HB: How do you celebrate him? How do you show him that he’s appreciated in your space?
EC: I think it’s letting him know that he’s loved and supported. Being an ear when he needs it. Being his champion. I think everyone needs someone that’s celebrating him…We see a lot of celebration around Black women in the media but not so much the Black man so I try my best to make sure that when we leave the house, he knows what we think of him. He knows that he’s loved, that he’s the head of the household and I’m just proud to be his wife.
HB: Warryn, outside of your role as a music producer with Erica, what are the other things that you do that help you stay engaged in your relationship with her and with your children?
WC: For one, I keep coming home. (Warryn and Erica laugh.) It’s funny. Outside of the love, when you genuinely like somebody, you want to spend time with them and hang with them. I genuinely like my wife. I like my kids. They’re like the coolest people in the world to me. You know when you were growing up and you would always look at the cool kids? I look at my wife and my kids and think: ‘wow, these are really cool people.’ I’m always plugged into what they’re doing, who they are as people. I’m just always genuinely interested in what it is they’re interested in. That keeps us engaged with each other. I ask my wife about her day every morning. We usually ask people at the end of the day but we ask each other those things at the beginning of the day. So I ask her: ‘what do you have to do today?’ and she tells me that she’s doing this, that and the other thing and we talk about it and at the end of the day I ask her how everything went-not because I’m trying to probe but because I’m genuinely interested. I like her.
HB: What are the lessons that you’ve learned about love and relationships (especially those with Black women) as a married man that you wish you had known when you were younger and you were single?
WC: One of them is I wish I had listened to my mother who told me, ‘you’re not married until you’re married.’ Until you’re married, you’re absolutely single. A lot of us try to live a married life while we’re single and then a lot of men don’t learn the lesson of how to cut our single life off. A lot of us are trying to live the single life while we’re married. Early on in my marriage I really had to learn. I was young when I proposed to my wife, I was 23. And then I was 25 when we got married. Was I ready for it? Absolutely not. I knew I loved her. I knew I wanted to marry her. I knew I wanted to be her husband. But I wasn’t emotionally ready for any of that.
I would come home from a long day of working and she would have her nice little nightclothes on and candles ready in the room. I wouldn’t even go upstairs, I would stay downstairs for two hours playing video games. I was young, I didn’t get it. What I learned was that she taught me how to be a husband to her. She can’t teach me how to be someone else’s husband. She can only teach me how to love her. I took the lesson and things changed but I also think it meant that I had to grow. I think I’ve grown into whatever husband that I am now because I absolutely was not this guy that I am now at 25 years old.
EC: I’d like to add to that. I think for every young woman, especially in today’s society, you have more fantasy than family in your mind. You have what you see in the movies, what you see on social media, and the famous couples. You want what they have.
When I first got married, I was thinking it was going to be like a movie and he’s gonna come in with roses and champagne. But it was like, if you know he’s coming home from work and he’s going to be downstairs then you be downstairs, too. Why not set your life to blend instead of saying: ‘he’s supposed to do this and this…’
I’ve learned to come out of fantasy movie and fantasy novel land, learn what makes him tick and what makes us work together. I think that’s why fourteen years later we’re still together, we’re in love with each other and we’re happy with each other. In the beginning, neither of us knew how to be married to one another. We definitely could have sabotaged the whole thing in the first two, three years. Once we figured it out, we were sailing it.