(Photo: Joe Kohen/Getty Images)
Earlier this week, we introduced you to singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger. The L.A. native has been parlaying his notoriety as the man behind Usher's forthcoming "Let Me See," which features Rick Ross, into his own bubbling solo career, led by his new mixtape Born II Sing Vol 2. But Bellinger's skills with the pen extend far beyond Usher. In an exclusive interview with BET.com, he also discussed his work with Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber and Tank.
Bellinger wrote "Think Like a Man," the recent Jennifer Hudson hit featuring Ne-Yo and Rick Ross from the box-office smash of the same name. He says the song was a no-brainer for the soundtrack's executive producer, Tricky Stewart. "They were looking for the opening song for the Think Like a Man soundtrack; Tricky Stewart had just came by the studio and heard the song and literally instantly said, 'That’s it,'" Bellinger says, laughing. "They had been looking for a song for a long time, so it’s crazy that he walked in and felt like that was instantly the one. The song is doing really well — Tricky’s ear is definitely proving to be pretty serious over and over again."
Also serious? Bellinger's online buzz after he and Justin Bieber tweeted pictures of the two of them in the studio with producer Diplo, the beatmaker behind Usher's "Climax" and Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now." "The Justin sessions were dope," Bellinger says. "I have so much respect for Justin. A lot of people think, 'Oh he's just a young guy who was a YouTube sensation. He has the little girls going crazy.' They may not take him that serious as far as his talent goes, [but] I think it’s overlooked because of all the pandemonium. I think Justin’s going to be around for a long time."
Bellinger also discussed his relationship with Tank — the pair's creative partnership extends back to Bellinger's beginnings in the music biz. "I actually used to be in a R&B group, and we were signed to Tank," he says. "I did some work for his new album that he has coming out, and he did some stuff for me on Born II Sing Vol. 2. So the relationship was always there. I look up to him as a big brother, as a mentor — not only vocally, of course, but also for advice."
It seems like Tank's advice is working great for Bellinger so far. Born II Sing Vol. 2 has been making tsunami-like waves, thanks to a serious YouTube push led by videos for "Green, Eggs & Ham," "Love and Lust" and "Chipmunk." Bellinger says his recent solo success has all been part of his master plan to take over the industry from the inside-out. "I wanted to instantly take off with the solo thing, but I just looked at how different people like The-Dream, Ne-Yo and Bruno Mars started off writing, and that was a big gateway into artistry, so I felt like I should take that route," Bellinger says. "I didn’t know that it would go as well as it's going; I just figured I’d try it out, and I learned quick. But at the end of the day my first love is definitely being onstage singing."
Eric Bellinger's latest project, the free mixtape Born II Sing Vol. 2, is currently available at his website, born2singmixtape.blogspot.com.
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