Curated by Shawn Thompson
Photographed by Jon M. Dailey III
"I never once felt like it would be a far fetched thing to actually accomplish my goals…
I just knew it would take time, hard work and dedication to really get things to the point where I knew they deserved to be."
He's no stranger to the game and the magic behind most of our favorite hits and collaborations with artists like Usher, Chris Brown, Trey Songz and Justin Beiber to name a few. We caught up with GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger as he gears up for the release of his forthcoming LP, which is nothing short of impressive.
It's a new era for the talented vet, with a refined sound that is unmatched and true to his own artistic nature, Eric's forthcoming LP is a breath of fresh air. From his lead single 'Shine on the World' to other stand out tracks, Eric opens up and takes us through a personal journey of growth, perseverance, and resilience, using his crooning voice to share the ups and downs of balancing a personal and professional life in the limelight. It's like a homecoming with clear vision. Remaining true to his west coast melodic vibes and censual R&B roots, Mr. "this gone be your favorite song" is here to prove just why he's an R&B sensation. The whole industry and music lovers alike are in for a treat this summer!
Being a songwriter is a special gift. What is your writing process? How much of what you write is personal experience?
My process is simple. Tell a story. Once you get caught up in attempting to do anything other than that, you lose sight of what music is. Even when going in the booth to do melodies I like to start with a concept. The more intentional you are, the more international you will be. I tend to write most about my own experiences, but I love tapping into the situations of close friends and relatives for inspiration lol!
For you, what is the difference between being a songwriter and the artist delivering the song?
When I’m the songwriter I must do my best to first dig into the mind of the artist. To find out what frequency they’re heart may be beating in. The more in tune, lyrically and sonically with the way they actually feel, the better my chances are at landing my next big hit! When it’s a song for me, all politics are off the table. And I can solely rest in what I feel and what makes me happy & fulfilled when creating.
How do you see your growth from your first album? Did you go back and listen to past projects in preparation for this new project?
I always go back and listen to what I’ve done to know where to take things next. My first project was Born II Sing Vol. 1. A project of songs compiled that I had either written for other artists that they didn’t end up using, songs I demo’d for other songwriters that no one ended up using, or songs that I wrote and recorded with my closest musical brothers in our studio bedrooms we had put together.
Your grandfather Bobby Day wrote the hit ‘Rockin’ Robin. Has family influenced your artistry and writing, if so, in what ways?
Yes for sure. I always felt in my gut that if Grandpa did it that I could do it too. I never once felt like it would be a far fetched thing to actually accomplish my goals… I just knew it would take time, hard work and dedication to really get things to the point where I knew they deserved to be.
Being in the entertainment industry, what keeps you grounded?
I consider it a blessing to be doing what I love as my job. To make songs for a living is one of the biggest blessings ever. To feel entitled to any of this would lead to nowhere but destruction. I’m truly grateful for it all but always working and striving for more. I’ve seen success come and go in so many different areas and I’ve always watched how people treat me differently as the tide changed lol. Watching, remembering & never taking anything personal is always a great way to go about things too.
What current artist would you like to collaborate with? Did you think about collaborating with them on this new project?
I’m really a big fan of Drake & everything he does musically as I know we all are lol. I just feel like me & him could make something incredible for the ladies. I’d also love to get some work in with Kendrick Lamar. I didn’t reach out to either of them for this project just because I think it’s really about timing. I respect the craft of this game so much and I’m aware that asking too soon could tamper with the natural organic alignment God & the Universe has the potential to provide.
How would you define your artistic sound?
I would say “The Evolution of Classic”. I’ve been a student in music for over two decades now and a lover of music my whole life. I’ve always paid close attention to the changes and shifts. If you don’t move with the time, you will get left behind. I have a true Gumbo style in music. Church Soul, Timeless R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop, Rap & even Country esq. ism’s in my music lol. And the music is always progressive. Even the slowest ballad could have the most aggressive drum patterns. I love merging unique sounds and merging things that normally wouldn’t go together, but feel like they were meant for each other.
What inspired you for this upcoming album? What would you like your fans and listener to take away from this album?
I did a lot of soul searching on this album. There’s a wide range of songs to get ya fixins in. My second single, "Only Fan" taps directly into the world we live in today, touching on topics that we haven’t heard, but we should. I close the album with "Backwards", my take on the cultural climate, in which I feel can be so interesting at times. All in all it’s a self reflective trip that men & women will enjoy.
You just released your first single ‘Shine on the World’. Can you tell us a little bit more about the song and what it means to you?
"Shine On The World" is my letter via mp3 form to all of the dreamers out there including myself. It’s a fun upbeat track meant to uplift any set of ears it comes in contact with. I got the chrome at the end for the instant spiritual voyage, harmonizing affirmations as the trumpets play. It’s a real bonafied movie. Not to mention, the music video, which in my opinion is Sundance Festival ready lol!
You're showing a different side of Eric on this album. Do you feel like this is a start of a new beginning?
Yes! Most definitely. I’ve always done everything in my power to make sure the music is all the way up to par from the titles to the mixes to the artwork concepts and themes of the albums etc. But this time around we’re focusing on everything outside of the music and putting forth the same amount of effort and energy we did to make the album. To have people hear the album. So that means more interviews, more marketing and promotions. More photo shoots in not just fly gear, but the right gear. It takes a lot of planning to truly make the world stop, but if you set it up properly, the right aesthetic could make time stand still, at least for a moment.
If you could describe your new album in three words, what would it be?
POWERFUL, NECESSARY & CLASSIC.
What’s next for Eric?
Next up we got more Grammys. We got more acting and movies. More big placements. We got the launch of the label releasing so many talented artists on YFS Records. We got the studio house/compound, The Wave Cave, that we’ve been building and is now ready for artists to come in to produce, write, sing and dance. With the world opening back up we got a tour coming soon I’m sure. I’m just ready for God to do more amazing things. I’ve attached feet to my faith, favor and fair. Stay tuned! It’s Eazy!
Photographer/Creative Director: Jon Dailey
Wardrobe Stylist: Tamala Clarice
Photography Assistant: Devante Santana
Grooming: Nia Joy