Eric Bellinger: ‘Born to Sing’ Crooner Talks Penning for Chris Brown & Usher

Eric Bellinger has penned songs for everyone from Chris Brown to Justin Bieber to TGT. And, we’re talking hit songs. Think “Right Here” — the Bieber’s collaboration with Drake and a little Chris Brown single called “Fine China.” Yes, Eric Bellinger knows how to write a good song, so it’s only natural the talented R&B singer-songwriter start penning tracks for himself, which is exactly what he did.

“It’s a very different thing being a songwriter and being an artist because you have to have your own identity, says Bellinger. “Each artist — Miguel has his own identity, Frank Ocean, Adele. It took a while for me to figure it out.”

Born to Sing, his three-volume mixtape series, plays off of his family’s rich history with music. Both his grandfather and mother have backgrounds in music.

“I started off playing football, just doing sports,” Bellinger tells VIBE. “All I wanted to do was be a professional running back, a kick return specialist, and my mom was always tellin’ me, trying to make me sing.” Singing in church and listening to mom paid off. These days Bellinger makes it rain in strip clubs with Usher, for whom he penned “Lemme See.” The two struck up a friendship and Usher opens up his Born to Sing Vol. 3 mixtape with an intro calling Bellinger his “little brother.”

“I think that song is incredible,” Bellinger says of “Lemme See.” “When Usher first heard that song he was like, ‘Who is that kid? Get him in here.’ When we were always working on songs, me and Usher, we were just spending time as well. We would be at the studio and he’d be like, ‘Yo, you wanna go to the strip club?’ And I’m like, ‘…Yeah!’ So we would just leave, do certain things, and we really got cool. We built a brotherhood along the way so it wasn’t just music. It was times I would call him for advice, or he would say, “Yo, I got this track I need you to write for Bieber.’ We really really got close so when it came down to my project he was always like, ‘Yo, I believe in you. Anything you need, let me know. I’m here for you.”

Download Bellinger’s mixtape here.