26 Mar SoulTrain Q&A – Eric Bellinger
Compton born singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger has fought hard to step from behind the scenes of penning hits for the likes of Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Jennifer Hudson and Brandy. Considering the recent success he’s had with fellow Compton native Problem in radio smash “I Don’t Want Her,” he may have just succeeded. The track, cleverly utilizing a sample of Kris-Kross’ “Jump,” has already 400,000 plus YouTube hits and can be pretty much heard in every club within a 50 mile radius of Los Angeles. “I Don’t Want Her” is featured on his recently released The ReBirth album which boasts a staggering 32 tracks. It also helps that the project features a slew of guest appearances from Sage The Gemini, Tank, Too $hort, Jon B and Kid Ink among others.
SoulTrain.com: Lets talk about The ReBirth for a moment. Quite a sizable album. Why so many tracks considering many artists, both new and established, turn to smaller track numbers?
Eric Bellinger: I kind of talked about my entire life—things that I went through, things that some of my peers have gone through around me. I make songs about anything. As a songwriter, that’s what really got me through the door so I have so much material and content I felt like, why not take advantage of that. A lot of times, songwriters who transition into the artistry are watched under a heavier microscope. They’re going to say things like, “Just because you wrote a song for so and so” you’re going to be judged harder. With that said, I was like yo, I’m going to push the envelope, especially at a time when people are putting at short EPs, and show that I’m a real writer, singer and artist. My main goal is for people to say that they heard thirty-two tracks and didn’t hear one that was skippable.
SoulTrain.com: You mentioned earlier about “I Don’t Want Her” featuring Problem being a track that was specifically for the club and radio. However, a sizable bulk of the project are more traditional R&B cuts. Was that an intentional bait and switch?
Eric Bellinger: For me, I kind of looked at it as I’m in Los Angeles first of all and Power 106 is one of the main hip-hop stations in the area. The way that station works is that the record has to have tempo. I tried getting on radio before—with a little bit of success—with “Say No” featuring Problem from Born II Sing Vol. 3, but it wasn’t fast enough. The DJs weren’t able to spin it at their shows and they told me flat out that they spin music that’s 90-100 BPMs (beats per minute).“Say No” was around 70. So the next time, I said I was going to do whatever I could do. We went and found the beat and I linked up with Problem again because that’s my boy; we’re from the same neighborhood. We did “I Don’t Want Her” and it did exactly what we needed it to do: Make a lot of noise on the radio and in the club. That kind of set me up to where people were paying attention. They started checking links to music I would put out instead of being a homie and just retweeting it for me. So they were listening to the music now because they were hearing me in a more commercial sense. I look at it like Usher’s albumConfessions; the entire album was slow jams but then he had “Yeah.” Ain’t nothing new under the sun and I just used that format. That worked for him and I figured it’d work for me.