We caught up with R’n’B crooner Eric Bellinger on the first day of the UK section of his Tour at Electric Ballroom, Camden.
If you don’t know Eric, you better get to know! Eric Bellinger, Grandson of Jackson 5 songwriter Bobby Day, is a seasoned singer, songwriter, producer and engineer. He is to thank for songs such as The Game – Death Penalty (2012), Usher ft Rick Ross – Lemme See (2013) and Chris Brown – New Flame (2014).
Eric has been busy since his transition to being a solo artist in 2013, with 10 released projects and 1 on the way! We asked him about his relationship with London, tour life and giving up his football scholarship!
After enjoying his sound check, EventsUncut Founder Tanya sat down with Eric in his dressing room where he took a moment before we started to check his many messages.
Tanya: Everyone’s just on their phones, look at you all!
Eric Bellinger: Sorry just got to sort out a few tings
He said in a faux London accent. After a few tries, he had perfected a pretty good South London drawl.
T: I was trying to find a favourite song to tell you but they’re all my favourite songs! What is your favourite?
He answered with no hesitation,
EB: Reward. Yeah, it’s just…[he pauses with reverence] Yeah
T: What about a favourite project? A Mixtape, Album…
EB: Damn…Eventually. Because that was all me. No feature. That job was the most Eric Bellinger
T: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you would like to do a song/project with?
EB: For me as far as wanting to work with people, everybody that I’ve wanted to work with I have worked with but on their projects as far as me being a songwriter.
But for my album and for my music; everyone. I want to do a song with Drake, Rihanna, Jay Z, Beyonce; all the greats. But I have had a chance to work with them for their projects so…
T: So you’d just like it reciprocated?
EB: Yeeah you know what I’m saying!
T: Is there anyone you would want to tour with? Anyone, you think is an amazing performer?
EB: Ah man! You know I think Chris Brown is an amazing entertainer. All the way around, from his art, not even just as an artist but I mean like a painter you know the images that he gravitates to are just always interesting to me. So, from him entertainment wise, dancing-wise, vocally; that would be cool.
Another one, of course, is Beyonce. I’m really into the entertainment because that’s what I grew up on. That’s what I grew up studying; Usher with The Truth Tour, The Confessions Tour.
T: All those guys have a lot of energy on stage
EB: Yeah, the energy!
T: Have you been to the UK at all other than your last concert here?
EB: Yeah, last week I came to London just for a day…I was in and out. Yeah, I like London a lot. I’ve been working with Chipmunk for a long time. We did Champion together with Chris brown. I wrote the hook for Chris Brown. And ever since then, that was a big tune, so I got to work with a lot of other people like JLS, Wretch; a lot of UK artists. Angel.
T: Is there anyone else you would want to collab with from the UK?
EB: Yeah definitely, there’s so many people that are amazing. I like Emeli Sande a lot, she’s crazy good. That could be cool.
T: Next, you’re heading to Manchester and then Birmingham; have you been to either of them cities before?
EB: I really don’t know if I have. I’ve definitely done shows outside of London. I’m excited about Birmingham…
T: Manchester has a crazy nightlife, so you’ll enjoy for sure
T: Yes, you’ll have a great time for sure! This is the first day of your UK Tour…
EB: Yeah but I started the whole tour on like March 29th so I’ve been working for over two weeks and I’ve been going hard non-stop.
Today’s schedule was wake up, do two interviews, sound check, do interviews, do the show, do the after party. Every day for two weeks. Including traveling on the planes or in the bus and packing my clothes, every single time, which is crazy. That unloading and loading my suitcase every single time is nuts! Yeah man, it’s something I think I’ve gotten used to but not. It’s one of those things that’s a part of it so you get used to it but it’s exhausting.
T: Last time you dropped Eric B for President Term 1. And since then you’ve dropped Eric B for President Term 2. Do you have anything you’re going to surprise us with this time? Are you gonna give us a bit of Cannabliss?
EB: I’ve thought about it! I may do one joint because Hot New Hip Hop is premiering one of the songs off the project today. We’ve got something super special tonight though; all the other cities are gonna be mad that I didn’t do this at theirs…
T: But it’s London so…
EB: Exactly, It’s London!
T: You gave up your football scholarship to focus on your music, what would be your advice to somebody who has got a stable job and they want to follow their dreams?
EB: The way that I just stopped playing football; cold turkey, it was painful. ‘Luckily’ I hurt my knee, I wasn’t gonna stop. I was determined to go to the NFL. I was determined; then I hurt my knee in an all-star game, after high school right before college. So, it was like right, do I want to go to the quick rehabilitation? Because they were still promising me all these different minutes in the games, a certain amount of carries. But it was also like…I don’t want to get hit anymore [laughs]. I want to make hits! It worked out, luckily.
What I would say is just follow your heart, follow your gut feeling. Because sometimes I feel like you know. You just know; either ‘I actually have a chance with this’ OR ‘this is a long shot’. You just have to be honest with yourself. Be real with yourself. Whatever you know you’re good at; focus on that. Focus on whatever you’re good at. Because there are so many different people trying to get that shot so if you do what you do the best then no one can take your spot!
Eric Bellinger will be at the o2 Institute in Birmingham tonight followed by an after party at Nuvo! Tickets are available here: http://tickets.gogetfaded.com/
The next mixtape by Eric Bellinger, Cannabliss will be released on 4/20!