Rated RnB returns with its Rated Next artist spotlight. Our latest feature is Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger. His name may ring a bell or it may not. In any case, Bellinger has helped pen many notable songs including Chris Brown’s “Oh My Love,” Ashanti’s “The Woman You Love,” “Think Like A Man” title track, and Selena Gomez’s “Intuition.” The Los Angeles native has also worked with superstars like Usher, Justin Bieber, and Chipmunk.
Although writing songs for big time artists can be a fulfilling experience, Bellinger is now focusing on his solo music career. He has two mixtapes out so far: “Born II Sing: Vol.1” and “Born II Sing: Vol. 2.”
Bellinger was kind enough to take a moment out of his hectic schedule for an exclusive interview with us. During our interview, Bellinger talks about transitioning from songwriter to singer, his experience working with Usher on his “Looking For Myself” album, and reveals details about his upcoming EP.
Can you give our readers a brief summary of who you are?
My name is Eric Bellinger. I am a Singer/Songwriter born & raised in Los Angeles, Ca. I’ve written songs for people like Usher, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson, Ashanti, Selena Gomez & Neyo just to name a few.
As the grandson of the late Bobby Day, how much influence has he had on your music?
It’s been great to always know that if my grandpa did it I could too. I’ve felt like its been in my blood this whole time! It’s very encouraging to grow up while already seeing gold plaques in the house.
Many people may not know this but you declined a scholarship offer to play football at University of Southern California to pursue your music career. Do you ever look back and wonder what life would be like if you chose to go to school?
All the time. When I say I love playing football…I really mean I LOVE PLAYING FOOTBALL!!! [laughs] Sometimes I cant even watch it on TV. Literally. It hurts that bad [laughs]. But I love music alot and it’s been very good to me so far so I have no complaints! [laughs]
You recently tweeted a photo of you and Usher in the studio. Can you share what went down during that studio session?
That picture was taken the day we wrote “ I Care For U” #4 on “Looking For Myself.” Usher is such an inspiration! I was just happy to be in the building! I’ve been studying his artistry for quite some time now so it meant the world for me to actually nail three songs on his new album.
How do you balance writing songs for other artists with transitioning to being a solo artist?
I would say that’s the hardest part. So many people know me as a songwriter so when they hear my songs that I write they’re so use to me trying to sell them that they immediately start to think who they see the song going for. Lately I’ve been like nooooo this one is mine [laughs] but it’s how I’ve gotten to where I am today, so it’s tough.
I heard you are working on “Born II Sing Vol.3” What can we expect on this project? Who did you work with? When do you plan on releasing it?
Expect classic & timeless R&B music! I’ve been working with people like Eric Hudson, Da Interz, Tommy Brown, Hitboy & Diplo just to name a few. You can be on the look out for that later this summer.
What other projects are you currently working on?
Been focusing on my projects lately. I recently signed a few acts to YFS as well so were working on our movement. It’s looking like we have a pretty bright future ahead. I’m excited.
Last question, what do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
Positive energy. I always wanna give off good message through my music, making them feel good & getting them ready for every situation they may be facing. Whether it be in the streets while driving, at work, home getting ready for a party. Or even in the bedroom with that special someone [laughs]
Follow Eric Bellinger on Twitter @EricBellinger