Musicians are barely getting a slice of music industry revenue, largely eating off of live performances instead. For ‘Tour Tales,’ we dig into the rider requests, delayed shows, diligent preparation, and future of touring by talking with the multitude of people that move behind the scenes. Record executives, photographers, tour managers, artists, and more all break down what goes into touring and why it’s still so vital to the livelihood of your favorite artists. What happens on tour stays on ‘Tour Tales.’
Eric Bellinger is one of the most accomplished songwriters in the music industry who’s penned songs for Chris Brown, Teyana Taylor, Ne-Yo, Trey Songz and more. He’s a recording artist and performer, as well.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the artist discusses performing at Stonerville Music Festival — his first music festival since the start of the pandemic, what it was like being around DMX after a show and more. Read below.
This weekend’s Stonerville Music Festival will be the first music festival you perform at since the pandemic started. What should fans expect?
They can definitely expect the same energy. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve been doing shows, but not live shows. I’ve done a few virtual things. I’ve been working out crazy. I’ve been in the gym. I’ve been in the studio. It’s like I never stopped. My performance at Stonerville will be better than the songs you’re listening to every day. We take it up 10 notches on the live show. I’m taking everybody to church and the club at Stonerville.
This is a cannabis-focused festival. Will you incorporate cannabis in your show?
I’m going to gladly walk out with a joint or two or three. I have a project called Cannibliss and I’ll be able to perform some songs off that album, too.
What does a festival like Stonerville say about the return of live shows?
Stonerville not only says that we’re back, but it says we’re back with flying colors. We’re coming back and we’re blazing the house down literally.
Your first show since the start of the pandemic was in Arizona in December. How did it feel to be back?
That was cool, but it was a drive-in concert. I didn’t get the same type of energy, but it was still dope to see people even though they were about 60 feet away (laughs). Last show I had dancers, choreography and more. Each show I’m able to showcase all of my gifts in a way people wouldn’t really know by just doing a Spotify pop-up.
What was the last show you did before the pandemic hit?
I went on tour. I ended it with a bang. I did a 20-city tour in the states with a tour bus and the whole experience. I’m excited to get back. The L.A. show really stuck out to me and is always crazy. A lot of my day-one fans and people I grew up are there. We came out on roller skates and the whole nine.
You performed with BJ The Chicago Kid on that tour. What singer do you have great chemistry with on stage?
I just did a show recently with Usher and it was dope. We were able to go back and forth with me taking the lead, and him taking the background, and us going back and forth with that… we were just letting the music speak through us.
What were some interesting fan reactions you’ve seen?
The crazy stuff that happen at my shows are people fighting. There are a lot of ladies in there; my shows are mostly ladies. If you get your foot stepped on or anything and someone’s man is right there, shit can get crazy.
What are the songs that get the biggest reactions live?
“Drive By” gets one of the best reactions. “I Don’t Want Her” too.
You and DMX both performed at the Soulquarius Festival in 2017. Did you check out his show or chat with him backstage?
I performed on a different stage and before him. After my show, we all migrated to his stage and waited for him. We got to be backstage with him and I got to feel his energy. I’ll never forget that moment. As a performer, I saw his passion for his own music when he performed. That’s my vibe. I don’t care about nothing else but my music.
You once missed your mom’s birthday because of a show, but posted a video for her while on stage. What was that moment like? Have you missed any other big moments because of the road?
That was probably the biggest one. That was dope because my mom still got to feel the love and know that no matter where I’m at, I’m always thinking of her. I know there were a few times when my wife was pregnant and I’m always getting booked for shows, but it comes a time when you have to draw the line. I was always nervous about missing that, but I was always able to make it on time.
Who were some people who surprised you by coming to your show?
I’m always surprised. I’ll look up and Ne-Yo and Usher are there. It’s dope because I work with a lot of people on their music. So, to feel the support being mutual is definitely a blessing.
What’s on your rider?
Snickers, lemonade, Hennessy (laughs).
You’re known for your songwriting. Are there any shows you’ve done that led to a recording session after?
When I was on tour, the bus had a studio in the back, so we were recording in every city. K Camp and Sy Ari Da Kid would always vibe out after the shows in the studio in the bus.
Are any songs of yours inspired by how they would do at live shows?
In the studio, I definitely think about being on stage and the crowd’s reaction. I did a song where I took a clip of one of my live performances and put it at the beginning of this song called “Today I Got Time,” which is on The Rebirth II album.
What would you say is going to be the future of touring?
It’s going to be interesting because, on one hand, you have everyone who is tripping on the masks. Then, you have the other side not tripping on the mask. That is going to be the biggest issue above anything else. The venues are going to be doing their best to enforce rules, but people are going to be people. It’s going to be interesting.