It’s E-Z! For more than a decade, Eric Bellinger has been in the music business as the master pen behind some of the culture’s biggest hits. And as a solo artist, he continues to defy the odds, showing the power that comes when fiercely chasing one’s dream — and doing so with passion and talent to match. 

After gracing the stage during Day One of the Jazz in the Gardens Festival, held annually in South Miami, the R&B crooner chatted with Blavity about his love for his craft and using his gifts to touch the masses.

“It was a blessing,” Bellinger said after kicking off the festivities with an enchanting performance. “Just to see the people out here in their springtime attire with it, it was good. I saw so many legends on the bill, so to have my name shared with so many greats … it lets me know I’m headed in the right direction.”

In 2014, the “G.O.A.T” singer released his debut album, The Rebirth, and hasn’t looked back since. He’s also been consecutively dropping projects that give his beloved “Bell Ringers” an inside peek into the inner workings of his journey and his mind.

Moreover, just ahead of his performance on the 2024 Jazz in the Gardens festival stage, Bellinger released his ninth studio album, The Rebirth 3: The Party & The Bedroom, on Feb. 29. He said the title encompasses everything that this body of work means to him.

“There’s a lot of lines and bars in this album where I’m talking about personal, like, self-experience … self-growth, and I think when people hear it, it reflects the rebirth,” Bellinger explained. “Like, OK, he’s on the front, all white, pure, in the water … baptism. Ain’t no glasses, ain’t no big jewelry … it’s all white. You know, it’s just a reset.”

Not only is the newly released music a rebirth, but art is imitating life. At the time of this interview, the “Drive By” crooner was counting down the days to a new decade: Chapter 40, a milestone birthday. He celebrated it on March 27.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I feel like getting older every year is such a gift. We take it for granted when we’re younger, but I think as we become older and grow wiser and gain more experience, it’s like, this is really where it’s at because now my experiences and the things that I’ve done in the past can help me and better assist me in every situation.”

“I’m just so excited to get a rebirth, a fresh start while I’m much wiser and more experienced,” Bellinger added.

If viewing this stage of his life as a chapter in a book, the California native said he would title it “Acceptance.”

“I say acceptance rather than desire [because] everything that I wanted to do, I feel like I’ve done that, especially on the scale of family, on the scale of music, and even dibbling and dabbling into acting. I’ve really done a lot, and I have my kids, so it’s not about me … it’s about the vessel that I can be for the world.”

As someone who has placed his stake in R&B both in front of and behind the scenes, Bellinger also told us what he believes are the makings of the perfect artist.

“Feeling, vulnerability and talent … let’s not forget talent, guys,” he joked. “Those are the three. People are getting away behind a lot of the effects and different things you can do in a studio, but to have somebody get up there and just evoke emotion and all the different traits without all the tricks and glitz and glamour … that’s what will provide longevity.”

As he continues to soar in his career, Bellinger has big plans to continue to open doors for other talented individuals along the way.

“I think it’s not only me being an artist, but it’s me also being like Barry Gordy,” the singer said when asked to reflect on what he wants his music legacy to look like.

“He had Motown and Diana Ross and the Jackson Five,” Bellinger said. “He had The Temptations and then he had Smokey Robinson, who was writing the songs, except I want to be both. I want to be Barry Gordy and Smokey Robinson. I’m writing the songs. I’m developing the artists. I’m releasing my artists, you know what I’m saying? Releasing my own music feels good, but I feel like God has given me so much — and to whom much is given, much is tested, much is required, and I know what I’m capable of. I’ve got nothing in me but more hunger to get out there and pay it forward, and to just extend that gratitude and give new artists a shot.”