Inked|The Summer Issue
Beginning at age 5 or 6, Eric Bellinger dreamed of becoming a professional football player and spent his entire adolescence working toward this goal.
ariana west

However, athleticism wasn’t the only talent he was given. As a kid he was always singing in the church—not because he wanted to, but as he put it, “If you can sing, they just throw you up there.” As his love for music grew over time and he had the opportunity to pursue singing professionally, it was clear that R&B would be his future. “I love that it makes you feel something,” Bellinger explains. “When it’s written from a place of emotion, real-life stories and pain, you can hear that in the music when it’s the right song.”

Bellinger was set to begin his football career with a scholarship to USC, but an injury during a high school all-star game cut that dream short. However, as fate would have it, Bellinger would soon be given the opportunity to tour with an R&B group and later join the prestigious songwriting collective, The Writing Camp. “The Writing Camp really got my foot in the door and I got to work with so many huge artists,” Bellinger shares. “I gave it a shot and started getting hella placements. It’s really about who you know and it took off from there because my talent actually matched my work ethic.”

From The Writing Camp, Bellinger met some of the biggest artists in the business, including one of his heroes—Brandy. And despite earning a Grammy the previous year for his contributions on Chris Brown’s “F.A.M.E.” album, he was still in fan mode during his first session with the singer. “I remember one time I was working with Brandy and I was vocal-producing her in a studio session,” Bellinger says. “A lot of the time, I’m telling the person in the booth, ‘Do it like this, do it again, do it like that.’ But when it came to Brandy being in the booth, I vividly remember telling her everything she did was unbelievable. She had to stop the session and tell me to get out of fan mode because I was here to do a job and I was here because she was a fan of me too.”


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The Summer Issue