Despite a decade in the industry, ASCAP and Grammy awards, an exhaustive list of songwriting credits, 9 mixtapes, and 8 studio albums, Eric Bellinger’s name still mainly only rings bells with hardcore R&B fans.

But these days, fans are seeing him in a New Light, and he’s primed for the mainstream.

“I’m on a ‘receive your flowers parade,’ right now,” Bellinger said of his new level of appreciation. “Like everywhere I go now, people are just recognizing what I do and letting me know they appreciate it and they enjoy it. That’s always been my only goal; to make music and for it to be heard.”

Even those who don’t realize it yet have heard Bellinger’s signature style of boisterous, bass-heavy, swagger-laced R&B. Notably, he has writing credits on classics like “New Flame” and “Fine China” by Chris Brown, “Right Here” by Justin Bieber, “Let Me See” by Usher and “Think Like a Man” by Jennifer Hudson. On top of that, his sound and style has arguably been bitten by many larger acts over the years.

But Bellinger isn’t bitter, nor deterred.

“Do I feel like an underdog? I think it’s more so that I’m under-marketed,” he said, noting that he has always been and remains an independent artist. “I’ve never had like the type of push that these people have.”

“I wrote songs and had a part in songs that were huge and had so much influence [on R&B] to the point where even if I didn’t write this song, people were doing the style of music that I engineered.”

With the release of his latest album, New Light, Bellinger is finally gaining that recognition as the face and voice attached to the sound he engineered, which he lovingly calls “Club R&B.”

With his first-ever Grammy nomination as an artist, for Best Progressive R&B Album, a new era is being ushered in for the singer-songwriter. With no big co-sign or major label push, resting solely on the sound he created, Bellinger was able to garner the nomination (and hopefully, the win) that brings the larger audience along.

“It was the longer route, but I believe this is the stronger route.”

Always one to march to the beat of his own drum, Bellinger is also extremely. loud and proud about his love for his wife of 6 years, Lamyia Good. Whereas most artists in R&B and hip hop are very hushed about their personal relationships, often keeping the bachelor image alive in both their music and public image. But the artist sees more value in staying authentic.

“The more that I’m living my honest truth the more it places me in a category and league of my own, because everyone is blinded by the old way of doing things,” he says, noting in his early days of singing in groups he was often encouraged to hide the fact that he was in relationships.

“I’d rather live with love. No matter what, I don’t ever want what I do to feel like work or feel like it’s jeopardizing my actual reality,” he said. “I think by showcasing love and doing it in a way that’s not for clout, I think people can tell.”

“The type of love that we have for each other, it don’t need no gratification from nobody. So, I think that alone, is enough for people to say, ‘I wanna subscribe to that,’ rather than condemning it.”

Bellinger’s loyal fan base will be excited to hear that the R&B artisan is headed on tour this Spring after a two-year wait. Headlining the 27-city Vibes on Vibes Tour alongside fellow R&B crooner Sammie as been a long time coming, as the tour had been postponed since 2020.

Even with Omicron looming over all of us, Bellinger is excited to safely give things a try and bring a whole new stage set with a live band in tow to his fan base.

We’ve got to skirt off optimistically,” he laughed. “It’s been like two and a half, three years and I’ve been perfecting my craft. I’ve been learning instruments. I’ve been practicing new things with my voice. It’s just a new experience that I can’t wait to provide.”

With a Grammy nom, a new album, a new tour, new skills under his belt – his acting debut came on The CW’s The Black Pack late last year – and a new single, “What About Us” ft. Sevyn Streeter, Eric Bellinger is primed for mainstream recognition. And he’s happy to have gotten to it all in his own way.

“I look at it like, this has set me up to where my artistry never had to compromise. Never had to compromise my character because my fans were in place because of them.”

“I feel confident in my trajectory. These [songs] are my favorite. I’m happy to be me.”

TOPICS: