Eric Bellinger is a R&B singer. He confirmed the distinction on his 2013 breakout mixtape ‘Born II Sing Vol. 3‘ with the aptly titled song “R&B Singer.” This categorization is more loosely used than it has ever been in the past. So much so, that it causes heated debates and Twitter finger fury among self-titled purists and super fans of their respective eras.
This is a passionate subject that undeniably represents the importance of R&B music to connect with our feels (see: trendy millennial way to address emotion over love, lust or heartbreak). Through R&B we’ve always experienced artists catering to the good, bad, and indifferent of love. It’s been so since the genre evolved out of gospel, blues and jazz, eventually marketed under the term Rhythm & Blues.
As its evolution progressed through political soul, love and pain caused by romantic relationships became the catalyst that carried R&B into the contemporary mainstream. At it’s commercial peak in the 1990s, the romance side of R&B was heavily populated throughout the genre. However, the concept of faithfulness and or begging for your woman to give you another chance, because we honored making blessed unions work, diminished slowly as we advanced into the new millennium. Each half decade witnessed the language and lyrics become raunchier, more lustful, and salacious.
In today’s tricky social media world there has been a shadow cast over the happy union of love between two monogamous partners. This is where Eric Bellinger stands out as the ‘evolution of classic’ as he calls it.
Many other artists have glorified love as an idea, but Eric campaigns on it. Does this make him an outlier from his peers? It certainly sets him apart in a unique way. Today’s male singers aren’t vulnerably representing their real relationships and marriage in our social media public arenas. The majority of similar age artists live and sing about the playboy lifestyle, Eric writes about real love–the Mary J. Blige kind–along with his real life marriage to La’Myia Good.
This has become a positive division separating him from the pack. When most portray or choose to live a single life to maintain the appeal of being available to fans of the opposite sex, Bellinger has routed his content in monogamy. Growing up in a loving household with both parents, Eric witnessed what marriage is through his adolescence. However, his parents separated after he graduated high school and instead of the situation possibly turning him off from love, it drove his understanding of the power and importance of the right love.
“Anytime I was with girls it was really cold,” Eric tells ThisisRnB in regards to dating before he connected with La’Myia. “There was no fulfillment, maybe we have some fun or do whatever, but it was something that was missing for me that just showed me that ‘yo you want more’.”
The first time that he really recorded his feelings for his wife was on 2014’s “The 1st Lady” off his album The Rebirth. “Beauty like that with some brains to match / Why wouldn’t I want to tell the world about ya,” he sings. The following year he released an entire album inspired by their love and union with Cuffing Season. The album would not only feature a slew of tracks fueled by the relationship, but also their silhouettes blended together on the cover.
One of the standout tracks regarding their marriage, “Love Made Me Do It,” is a shining example of Bellinger’s persistence in perpetuating the honor of being married in this day and age. “[‘Love Made Me Do It’ is] One of the stronger songs that I feel really stands for what made me really make the decision to be married in this day and age,” he explains. “To be married in a time where the girls are everywhere. Everybody looks at the R&B singer like ‘Yea you supposed to be out here,’ but what happened to the example? Its like ‘love made me do it,’ ya know. I couldn’t say no, and it is what it is…love is in charge.”
Continuing to speak on his purpose as an artist and a happily married man, Eric reveals that there is a stronger power behind his methods. “I’m the one that the Lord chose to do this,” he says. “I really feel like I have the proper relationship, the proper guidance, the character, the ambition, and the talent to actually articulate these words that are considered ‘sappy,’ ‘corny,’ to our generation, in a way that’s cool and fun and wavy, hip hop, still R&B, classic, the evolution of classic, and bringing back those emotions and those feelings that you used to get from R&B.”
This is why Eric’s so unique and special today. He’s one of the only artists out here openly glorifying his own love (Black love at that), faithfulness, unity, family–there’s power in a nuclear family, especially a Black family, his son, and being a honorable man. He’s a ‘R&B Singer’ and he’s doing it the honest way.