If you don’t know Eric Bellinger, now’s the time to get acquainted.
Over the past five years, Eric’s been tirelessly writing songs for your favorite pop stars like Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Usher, Trey Songz, and the list goes on and on. But now, it’s time for the Compton crooner to shine.
After releasing countless mixtapes, Eric is finally ready to unveil his major label debut Cuffing Season.
The 29-year-old singer/songwriter stopped by Global Grind’s offices to discuss the evolution of Eric Bellinger, being married to actress Meagan Good’s sister La’Myia Good, the difference between songwriting and being an artist, and being happy with the maturation of his career.
Cuffing Season, which features Boosie Badazz, Tank, 2 Chainz, T-Boz, Mya, Iamsu!, and DJ Mustard, will be available at midnight. Check out our exclusive interview below.
Global Grind: How is Cuffing Season different from The Rebirth?
Eric Bellinger: The Rebirth was kind of… me figuring out who I am. The Rebirth was relationships ending, and new ones beginning. We had songs on there like “Drakes Ex.” I should have known that was gonna be poppin’. The Rebirth was just a clutter of music at the time. I was just all over the place mentally, so as far as conceptually, I think that was just great songs. You know, a lot of people could relate to, because it was real life situations. And then you have Choose Up Season, which is about the dating game, which is completely about single life, you know… Being up here, turning up at the club, there was “House Party,” it was all those types of songs, and it just set up Cuffing Season. Cuffing Season is pretty much an album about you and your girl, or you and your man just turning up. You ain’t gotta necessarily be hitting the club every week or whatever it is – or if you are, you’re just doing it with that one person once you choose up… you’re cuffing, you feel me?
How is the duality of being a married man and being an R&B singer? Women are going to be all over you at all times; how do you separate those worlds?
I look at it like…these are words and these are examples that will inspire. This is hope. There are men out there that still want this, and I get a lot of tweets like ‘Ah, I just want somebody to talk to me like Eric does.’ It gives girls options, because even you could think like, ‘Ok, I just want to go home with this person’ or you could think ‘This person is someone that I really admire, and makes me feel like I need to keep my standards at a certain level.’
What should we all know about Eric Bellinger?
Eric Bellinger is more than the songwriter. I think that people, in this world… whatever it is that your first impression is of them, they kind of box you in that – no matter what it is. It’s like, I met you as that, so just keep doing that. But people don’t know there are so many other things. I recently got into doing some more acting stuff, so I went on some auditions for movies and got an acting coach. (His indie label) YFS has branched out and now we have producers signed for publishing. We have artists signed to the label. ARoc, he’s our first artist, he’s a rapper and he’s from Inglewood. I’m doing the artist thing as well as still writing for other people. We’ve got a bunch of dope videos on the way and I think it’s just the overall package. We’ve already started venturing out with fashion and doing different things like that. So it’s really just to let people know that it’s more than just a songwriter.
How do you juggle it all?
It’s tough. Definitely not easy. There’s always another level, you know what I mean? So it’s like, OK cool, so you did that, and you did that well, now what? You’re content? You’re just cool with that? Let’s keep beating it. Let’s keep challenging ourselves just to make sure that we have multiple streams.
Have you gotten push back from people in the industry who don’t want you to break off as an artist?
I don’t think I’ve gotten push back, but I haven’t gotten pushed up. I do have a couple people supporting me in my corner, some people like Game. Game and Tyrese are super strong supporters. These are guys that are like, ‘Come to my house, I just wanna give you the game. I just want to explain to you things that will help you in your career and these are mistakes that either I’ve learned from, or things that I’ve done that have worked, that I would recommend would work for your movement.’ Both of them are from L.A. and they’ve really taken me under their wings and just given me amazing advice along the way. They’re real love.
As an artist/songwriter, do you ever have moments when you’re like, ‘Damn, this song is really good?’
No, not really. Because when I write it, I write it specifically for the person. I don’t just aimlessly write records. I think a lot of songwriters do. I think they just write songs like, ‘Oh, this is a good song, this is tight, this beat is tight, just listen to this song, we should write about Mars or the Milky Way.’ But I really make sure that I tailor songs to artists, you know like “Fine China,” Chris Brown had to do that song. Or “Let Me See,” that was an Usher song all day.
Songwriting is where all the money is at. Why do you want to be an artist? It’s tough.
Songwriting is definitely the long-term. As an artist, I’ll do a show and if I do a couple shows in a weekend, I’m up fast. But as a songwriter it’s like, I write this song called “Fine China.” Then we put it out. We’re happy with it, we’re tweeting, it’s out, where’s the money? I don’t know. It’s coming. Oh, they have to make sure they’re able to track it and the BDS and the media base and all these things. Has the manager gotten paid? Has Chris Brown gotten paid? Have the A&R’s gotten paid? And there’s so many different outlets that need to be taken care of, that by the time it trickles down to the songwriter it’s like, a year and a half later. There was a point when I had so many songs out, but people have no idea that the money is accumulating over the year, and then it’s dispersed. For example, I have a publishing deal, so that’s where it comes into play if you have leverage.
What is your advice to songwriters in regards to publishing?
It all depends. It’s a case-by-case situation because I’ve met songwriters who were good at home, living with their moms and they don’t really have too much responsibility. If that’s the case, don’t sign a publishing deal. You’re good, you’re living. You know, but there’s other artists and other songwriters who are out there grinding. Some people move to California from Ohio and they say ‘I’m just gonna make my dream come true’ and at that point, you’re not making any income, so what do you do? You have to sign a pub-deal, because you have to be able to carry yourself while you’re in a studio. You can’t have a job, because you’re not able to work in the studio as much as you need to or be available if you get that call, and then you gotta call off work, and you get fired.
What’s the craziest call you’ve gotten?
Probably to work on the Fame album with Chris Brown. I had landed in London… that flight was not a fun flight, and literally the next day they were asking me to come back. I got there and had a million messages, so I had to come immediately back to L.A. It was like, ‘Ugh, I just got here.’ But I went right back and ended up writing the songs and then the album ended up winning a Grammy.
As a man, when did you decide that you wanted to take the step to get married?
When I met her [La’Myia Good] – I’ve known her, and we’ve been passing for the past 12 years in L.A. We were always in situations. I was with somebody or she was with somebody, and at the time, it was just perfect and we both just clicked. She was everything I needed and I was everything she needed. She just made my life easier. It was something that wasn’t necessarily like, ‘Should I do it?’ It was like, ‘I need this in my life.’ You really need somebody that’s in your corner to encourage you and to strengthen you, and she was all that and more.
Where did that need come from?
It’s not like I was desperate. It’s more like, a compliment. It’s just like ‘You make it better.’ I’m enjoying these days. Because another thing about me is I’m a person that is always in a relationship. Even if it’s not like getting married, but whenever I was in relationships and it would end, a week later I was in another one. It’s always gonna be somebody, no matter what, and it was just to the point where I was like, I want it to be her.
What was it like growing up for you?
It was interesting, because I grew up in Compton, but I went to school in Norwalk/ Santa Fe Springs area. My mom and dad really didn’t want me in the Compton school district. Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs is about 30 or 40 minutes away, so every day I was commuting back and forth to school, but the dope part was Neiman was doing it with me. He’s my manager and my best friend since seventh grade, both living in Compton, both going to school in Norwalk/ Santa Fe Springs.
How was the juxtaposition between going to school in Norwalk/Santa Fe and growing up in Compton?
It’s crazy, because the atmosphere out there it was so different, but I think that’s what gives us such a good balance. We’re able to handle ourselves in situations when it’s time to get rough, and were also able to conduct ourselves in a business form and keep a head on our shoulders. So we kind of had the best of both worlds.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Gospel music, a lot of gospel music. I grew up in church so I listened to people like Fred Hammond or Kim Burrell or Karen Clark. When I first got introduced to R&B music, it was like Brandy, Blue Moon, Jagged Edge, Usher, and Michael Jackson. Once I started listening to R&B music, I started going back listening to the TLC album for the first time, and I didn’t even know… so I’m telling people, ‘Have you heard this?’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah… we’ve heard it. You’re late, bro.’
Right now, in your life, are you 100 percent happy with the way things are going?
One thousand percent. I’ve never been this happy. I’ve never been this at peace with my life. I think it’s because I know what I want and the decisions that I’ve made are very mature decisions. They’re not young minded, they’re not momentary, they’re long term. And the things that I’m doing create peace. They give me a sense of stress-free, worry-free. I’m not out here having to check my phone. I’m really just chilling and I think that people will hear it in the music. You hear it in the songs – it’s just joy.
PHOTO CREDIT: Big Hassle