“This gone be your favorite song. ~ Eric Bellinger
Eric Bellinger was in the company of multiplatinum artist Usher when he learned that he had won a Grammy for his songwriting contributions to R&B star Chris Brown’s fourth studio album “F.A.M.E.” He’s seen his works illustrated through Brandy’s “Without You,” Usher’s “Lemme See,” which featured Rick Ross and more.
It’s safe to say that Bellinger’s road to become an artist has been a steady one guided by the gift of words and making hits. Did we mention that he was a part of Beyonce’s writing team for her “Lemonade” album?
Bellinger’s words about his career comes with humility, gratefulness and being thankful in the moment for what he’s been able to accomplish without the assistance of a major label. Now great artists in the limelight isn’t without controversy, so it’s no surprise that Bellinger encountered his share via a small dispute with rapper Nicki Minaj, surrounding the song “Anaconda.”
No less, he doesn’t focus on controversy. As a married man and father, Bellinger creates his own version of great music appropriate for relationships which include the highs, lows, the questions, the wonders and everything else in between.
Now on to perform, for the first time, at this year’s Essence Festival and a new nine-track EP called "Eventually" out, Bellinger’s continuity for his version of success is continuing surrounded by a meek spirit but a man about his business. Check out a few excerpts below during our interview with the music vet:
On the “moment” that solidified that his career was in the right direction:
It’s interesting because with me, I wanna go so far that I look at it that I have such a ways to go. People are like ‘Yo, congratulations!’ But I don’t celebrate daily accomplishments. It was far in when I felt like I was really on the right path. I remember being in a studio, in Atlanta, with Usher, and Chris brown’s album “F.A.M.E” had won for Best R&B Album and I’m here with Usher and he was like ‘Congrats lil bro, let’s go get another.’ And I was like cool, we’re on the right path.
On whether or not being a solo artist was a priority:
I always wanted to be an artist. I was doing singing groups for eight years before I started writing, but it was the writing that took off and then I went back to my original passion which was the artistry after I had the leverage in writing.
On which he prefers more between singing, production and writing:
Ummm, not really. Once I got into writing, I really fell in love with it, but once I got back on stage it was like ‘Whoa this is where I’m supposed to be.’ But for me it’s a yin and yang. You can’t have one without the other.
On how he’s been able to gain features on his records:
Now, it’s a lot easier to get stuff done because starting out, it’s tough to get the respect of your peers to do features. It’s tough to get people to give you a shot. It’s tough to transition from the writing scene to the artistry. Whatever people meet you as, or get introduced to you as, they want you stay in that position. For me, just letting people know that I have songs, people are now reaching out to me to see what I’ve got.
On being a “bigger” artist compatible with those signed by a major label:
I’m a very humble and confident person. It’s God with me in the booth helping me do all the work. I just like to believe in myself. People I get compared to all have major deals and me? I’m doing it all on my own. I’m excited people even mention my name in the same sentence with Chris Brown. As far as me being ‘bigger,’ I’ll just let the chip fall where they may.
Bellinger’s "Eventually" is led by the single “Spare Time” that features Wale on the remix. Check out “Be a Freak Tonight” and “Notice” as two of our recommendations. On the approach taken on this album as opposed to previous ones:
A lot of my music in the past has been like midtempo tracks. I’m a huge fan of the ‘90s and I like to sample music. This project only has one sample and it’s just about giving hope for people’s relationships and giving them alternative routes rather than the stuff they hear about in other songs. You gotta remember I’m a married man so I visualize things to keep relationships in tact when putting this album together.
On if he received satisfactory resolve regarding his contribution to Minaj’s hit “Anaconda:”
Nah, I just dropped it. I’ve got so many great things going on in my life so for me to harbor on that dark situation does a disservice to everything else that God is doing in my life. S I’m like cool, she will get what’s hers. I know I contributed to the song, everybody in the room knows I contributed to the song. So with me, music isn’t about money, it’s about passion, it’s about doing what I love and sometimes, a check comes in the mail [laughs]. I just want to set a good example for my son, my family and do what’s right.
Bellinger and VLADTV conversed about his work on Beyonce’s latest album. It had commenters on YouTube pegging the question — why talk about it at all? Not to be dismayed, Bellinger approaches social media and oppressors in a way that’s conducive for his own functionality:
I’m not really engulfed in social media like I used to. I got to the point where there will be haters and that if you dwell too much on it, it’ll affect the art. I actually deleted all the apps from my phone because it got kind of crazy. I was too consumed worrying about what other people thought but I get to focus on the beauty of music which is what it’s about anyway.
On his dream collaboration:
Ahhh ,that’s Drake, easy [chuckles].
On what he’s looking forward to as first time performer at this year’s Essence Festival:
Finally I get to go to New Orleans, enjoy some creole food, play this 40-minute set, perform on the main stage and it’s just incredible, you know what I mean? Because people are finally recognizing things that I’ve been doing both in the booth and on stage and my own artistry which is really a blessing.
On what’s next for his direction of success in music:
Man I got my next one ready [album] and I just like to be consistent. I don’t like to switch too much but I still want to be elevated. I’m progressing as an artist, trying new things, attacking the booth with the same ‘Eric Bellinger’ but I have to keep people in tuned. What’s next for me is just the continuation and all that’s supposed to go with it.
Fan Question —- On the collaboration between he and "Glee" star Amber Riley's "Never Be Lonely:"
Umm it’s interesting because I’m a big fan of Amber from watching ‘Glee.’ I wrote the song, needed a feature on it and one day, I was in the studio and she just happened to be in there. L.A. is so small and we just kind of hit it off and I was like ‘Yo, we need to do a song’ and she agreed. She has a powerful voice but still sweet and I wanted her to show her sexy side you know?
What’s great about Bellinger’s work is that he openly admits that he does it all independently, but may consider the big machine (major label) in the future as another backing. With his talents alone, incredible skills as a writer, a great tenor voice suitable for radio and an honest attitude to match with not a hint of superiority, he will always be an artist to keep on the radar easily.
The singer is set to perform this Friday (July 1) at 7:30 p.m. at the Art of Hip-Hop Superlounge. Purchase your tickets here.