From “G.O.A.T.” to Roc Nation, Grammy Award-Winning Eric Bellinger Talks New Era
From attending the Grammys to going on his Vibes On Vibes tour in April to signing with Roc Nation, singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger has had a wild ride these last few months. Bellinger’s creative talents and dedication to music have truly come to fruition. In the past, he’s co-written songs such as “New Flame” by Chris Brown and “Right Here” by Justin Bieber and has worked with other artists such as The Game, Selena Gomez, Ashanti, and Trey Songs, just to name a few. His musical roots stem back generations to Bellinger’s grandfather Bobby Day, who was a songwriter for the Jackson 5.
Bellinger’s talent won him a Grammy in 2011 for Best R&B Album after contributing to Chris Brown’s album, F.A.M.E. In 2013, Bellinger ventured out into a solo career and released a series of mixtapes, followed by a double album in 2014. In 2016, his album Eric B For President garnered Bellinger two gold singles, “Drive By” and “G.O.A.T.” Since then, he has continued to produce more music and projects, and his independent career as an artist has taken off.
We caught up with Bellinger to give us the scoop on shifting from being a songwriter for many of today’s top musicians to venturing out as an independent artist and again transitioning into a new era by being signed to Roc Nation.
What has touring been like so far for you this year?
Yeah, it's been fun. As a performer, we had to take a break for a long time with the pandemic, quarantine, then everything was shut down, and the mask mandate. So, it’s been such a journey to make it back to the stage. And now that we're there, I think the people and fans are so excited to be out and happy to be able to hit events again. I think the energy in the buildings is always so incredible that it’s like, wow, I’m happy to be back on stage.
Your experience as a songwriter and co-writer with other artists to releasing your own music and albums – how's that process been different for you?
I think it was a longer route, but it was the stronger route because I was able to meet so many people along the way. Because as a songwriter, you have more to offer, you're more beneficial to people as opposed to being an artist. It’s usually take, take, take, but a songwriter usually gives, gives, gives. So, I think by building relationships of giving, now that I'm on the receiving end, a lot more people are open to helping push my agenda forward because I've helped so many other people push their agenda forward.
Going off working with other artists, have there been any moments throughout the years or artists that you've worked with that stuck out to you?
Of course, I've learned from so many people – from Usher to Chris Brown and Justin Bieber, even to independent artists who are just trying to figure it out. So, I get to see things that others do for myself.
This past year, TikTok has been great at uplifting artists' music. I saw “G.O.A.T.” had gone viral on TikTok. So, how did you feel when that song became a trend?
It’s crazy because people kind of usually tell me, and I don't know what to think of it because I'm not too active. I have a TikTok and get on there when I can, but when I see the songs trending, I'm grateful because, as an independent artist, I've always looked for different ways to market myself. I have yet to find anything as impactful as TikTok. So, shout out to all the kids, adults, and even the puppies and cats that have videos with my song – a wide range.
I saw you were at the Grammys last month. I loved you and your wife’s outfits. What was that experience like for you?
It's crazy. Being an independent artist has been an interesting grind because the music and everything I do, especially on the songwriting tip, is top-tier, but my artistry with it being independent leaves me to be the marketing and the promotion to so many different aspects. Taking knowledge from my work and everything that I've been doing was a huge step for me because I think I had a chip on my shoulder, and I didn't even realize it. I know I'm dope, and I'm good, but what's going on? I never wanted to blame it on a major label or the lack thereof. I took pride in using what I had to get what I wanted, and because I fought the race the way I did, it made me proud because I know that that really came from hard work, talent, and consistency.
Being an independent artist, would you say that's been one of your drives to create music?
My drive’s been my advantage. When you're with a major label, it's a lot tougher to release as I have. It's a lot tougher to have your own vision, and there are pros and cons. Being independent is one of the pros; I get to release music freely. With that, I garnered more streams because there was more music and more opportunities for people to play my songs. I'm definitely happy that I got to do this independent route this long. At first, I was like, ‘Do I do a deal, do I not do a deal?’ But since I've had this success recently, that chip on my shoulder is removed, and now I can fly a little more freely.
That's great to hear. Are there any other sources that you would say propel you to create music?
My family – knowing that they're there at home, I'm on the road now. We got the crib. We got the cars. We got the bills. And we got the food, clothes, and everything that needs to be taken care of while I'm gone. I know why I'm here. I know why I'm on the road. When you're grinding, and you don't have a family, and you're grinding to get towards your family, to get towards meeting your partner, and to get towards your goals, it’s a lot tougher because you don't know what it looks like. You just grind, but now that I have my family, I have everything intact and everything in place. I know exactly what I'm working for.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.