Making Time for Singing, Acting--and Herself


This does not qualify as “Tisha Time.”

Compared to recording sessions, script-reading sessions and taping sessions, an interview session might seem relaxing.

But singer-actress Tisha Campbell has very specific ideas about what qualifies as Tisha Time, and a bowl of soup at Dalt’s Bar and Grill in Burbank doesn’t make the cut.

“I make time for myself,” she says. “I read books. I hang out with my friends. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of friends.”


She hesitates when her publicist mentions another hobby.

“I color. It relaxes me, OK?” she says. “I just started that this last month.”

It’s hard to believe Campbell has time for doodle art. Or for reading Anne Rice and Alice Walker. She has to promote her recording debut--the R&B; album “Tisha"--when she’s not on the set of “Martin,” the Fox sitcom she stars in with comedian Martin Lawrence.

Though she’s new to the TV and recording scene, the 24-year-old Campbell is a veteran of the performing world. She starting singing at the age of 3, when her family moved from Oklahoma City to Newark, N.J. She started acting about age 7, getting roles in musicals and children’s television.



She enrolled at Arts High School in Newark. (“It’s not like ‘Fame’ at all.”) By the time she was 17, she landed a part in the movie version of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Then a role on the NBC musical “Rags to Riches” brought her to Los Angeles for two seasons, after which she landed various singing/acting roles, including ones in “House Party,” “48 HRS.” and Spike Lee’s “School Daze.”

But she knew she’d hit the big time earlier this month.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be on ‘Soul Train,’ I wanted to be on the cover of Jet, the cover of Essence and on ‘Sesame Street.’ And I’m on the cover of Jet this week and I did ‘Soul Train’ this week, so two of my goals are (met),” she says.

Helping her meet those goals was Campbell’s mother and manager, Mona.

“She had me at a very young age, so we’re kind of like--even though we’re mother and daughter--we’re kind of like sisters. We’re kind of like best friends. And I always tease her by saying I can’t fire her, I can only give her raises,” she jokes, but then gets serious. “The bottom line is she’s a very strong woman, and she’s a very fair woman. And everybody knows not to mess with Mona.”

And they’re learning not to mess with Tisha, either. To be respected as a businesswoman as much as a performer, Campbell has always made all the decisions about her career. Most recently, that meant deciding to take the role as Lawrence’s girlfriend Gina in the pilot of “Martin.”

“It’s a young couple into monogamy, which is very much needed in the ‘90s with everything that’s going on right now,” Campbell explains.


Campbell doesn’t feel she’s dividing her energy between acting and music, but rather striving to be a double- or triple-threat, like Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines.

The next step is to direct TV and movies. “But I have to grow as a woman, I have to grow as a person. . . . I need to technically be a little more educated to communicate with my crew,” she explains.

Can she do all this and not burn out before reaching 30?

“Yeah, because again, I take Tisha Time.”