The Pussycat Dolls are no more, and a new girl group had to emerge to fill the void left in our pop-loving hearts. Robin Antin (creator of the Dolls) spent a lot of time finding and assembling the most-perfect follow-up. She had Girlicious, and Paradiso Girls, but those didn't work out very well. Four years after the disbandment of The Pussycat Dolls (aka. Nicole Scherzinger and her Dolls), it seems Robin Antin has finally found THE line-up. Simone Battle, Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Paula Van Oppen and Natasha Slayton are G.R.L. Robin's new girl group. And this one is truly destined to be big!
Upon creation, G.R.L got signed to Kemosabe Records, which is Dr. Luke's label. And we don't need to remember you who Dr. Luke is and what songs he has produced, right?
Now in 2014, G.R.L are still hard at work trying to finish their debut album as soon as possible. And while that debut is getting prepared, and a new single gets confirmation for launch, G.R.L keep the new music coming via collaborations. Their first is 'Wild Wild Love' with Pitbull. The Miami rapper released the pop jam earlier in the year as a one-off single. He's performed it everywhere on television (with G.R.L by his side), and the song still is a 'hot thing' on Top 40 radio. All this exposure means good things for G.R.L!
DirectLyrics recently caught up with G.R.L for an exclusive interview. We talked with all five girls about their latest major performance at the iHeartRadio Awards, featuring on Pitbull's new single, Robin Antin or working with Dr. Luke on their first album!
1. We recently saw your performance with Pitbull at the iHeartRadio Music Awards! How great was that performance? And, did you feel intimated at all performing before all those huge stars?
Lauren: Performing at iHeart was a very rewarding feeling. It was the first iHeart Awards ever, it was our first award show, and we got to open the show! I don't always get nervous, but the nerves really kicked in for this one!
2. Member Simone Battle unfortunately could not perform with you as she was super ill that day. Did you ring her up after the performance? Was she proud of her girls?
Lauren: We did a couple things in the absence of our Smizzie. We changed our pre-show chant to "turn up for smiz,” and after the show we sent her a video of Pharrell's performance of “Happy" to cheer her up. She was definitely proud, but very eager to get back. We had a great performance with her at Wango Tango!
3. What is your favorite Mr. Worldwide song, and what did it mean for you that your first collaboration was with him?
Lauren: “Timber" is one of my favorites. It's so catchy- I can't get it out of my head. Pit is always working hard, and cranking out hit after hit. We were so excited when we first heard the record “Wild Wild Love". The song just becomes so much more with him on it. It's an honor to be working with him not only because of his success, but also because he is such an inspiring man.
4. Describe working in the studio with such a huge producer like Dr. Luke? Is he a perfectionist? What advice does he give you?
Emmalyn: I feel so lucky and sometimes I forget who I'm working with! But he really brings me back down to Earth when he tells me to "really sing it!” and then I'm sweating from singing my butt off ! The Doctor (as we like to call him) knows what he wants, and he always wants the best out of us - he doesn't accept anything less.
5. Robin Antin brought G.R.L together. Do you feel pressured at all to match the same success as the Pussycat Dolls?
Emmalyn: The Dolls are a huge inspiration to us, and we are inspired by other girl groups we love too. I don't feel pressured to match the same success, I think we're lucky to be able to grow and evolve as a new group.
6. You five girls aren’t entirely new to the industry. You all have backgrounds in the business. How do you think your previous experience will help you?
Emmalyn: I think we're all ready for it. Everything we did in the past helped lead us to this moment, which has really taught us to learn to grow together as a group. We've learned to listen to each other, which is so important as we continue on this adventure.
7. The first song you released was ‘Vacation’ on The Smurfs 2 soundtrack. How did you react when you first heard it on the radio?
Simone: When we first heard it on-air we were actually at Radio Disney doing an interview. We had some fans call in to chat with us, and then hearing it live was definitely the icing on the cake!
8. Tell us how you came up with your sound. Was it a collective idea among Robin, Dr. Luke and the band?
Simone: It took a little while to discover ourselves as a band. The 5 of us GRLs had all been hustling as solo artists prior to meeting Robin and Luke, but to really gel together and mold our sound as GRL took some time, trial and error, and a lot of creativity!
9. How far are you into the recording process of your debut album? Do you have a tentative release date? This year right?!
Simone: Yes! Hopefully this year!!
10. We know you have worked with Dr. Luke, Max Martin, and Bonnie Mckee on your new songs. What other producers and writers have helped you thus far?
Paula: We’ve been working with several producers and writers. Cirkut, Ester Dean, Luke, and Max worked with us on our new single, "Ugly Heart". We can't wait for the official release!
11. We heard your song ‘Ugly Heart,’ and we love the Ukulele! What inspired the song?
Paula: "Ugly Heart" has a Hawaiian flare to it from the ukulele. We like to say it feels like a Hawaiian hoedown. It's a fun song with a powerful message. There is more to beauty than meets the eye... In the song we say it's such a pity a boy so pretty with an ugly heart. Looks are only for so long. Who you are, what you do you for yourself and for others - that's what matters most.
12. Another new song of yours called ‘Show Me What You Got’ was featured on Now 49. We love your live performances of this one. Especially the 'group hug!' moment. What makes 'Show Me What You Got’ special for you?
Paula: "Show Me What You Got" was the second song that we recorded together as GRL. It's been with us since the beginning of this adventure. We have great memories disrupting offices on tour singing it a cappella in the early morning hours!
13. What are G.R.L's Top 5 songs of the moment?
Natasha: Rude - Magic
Paula: Electric Eel - MGMT
Simone: Didn’t Cha Know – Erykah Badu
Emmalyn: Boyfriend – Best Coast
Lauren: Fancy – Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX
14. What are G.R.L’s favorite girl bands of all time? (Besides Pussycat Dolls).
Natasha: Spice Girls
Emmalyn: Destiny’s Child or Spice Girls!
Lauren: Destiny’s Child
15. If you could record a new collaboration with anyone right now (besides Pitbull again), who would you choose, why, and what would be the sound of the song?
Natasha: Omg, Miguel! His melodies and lyrics are infused with so much soul. It would be a mix of pop and R&B with all of Miguel's rock and blues influences intertwined. I'm obsessed with him, musically.
16. Finish the sentence ‘G.R.L is just beginning and you better…’
Natasha: .. you betta' watch out!
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