It’s been more than three years since the ladies of G.R.L were first brought together by former Pussycat Doll, Robin Antin.
Originally created to be a reboot of the group Antin made famous, the women of G.R.L. (Simone Battle, Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Natasha Slayton and Paula Van Oppen) instead took on a life of their own – appearing in the video for Pitbull’s song “Wild Wild Love” as well as releasing several infectiously good singles of their own, including the track “Vacation” which featured former Spice Girl Mel B.
On July 29th, the long awaited G.R.L self-titled debut will officially be unveiled, giving the ladies their first taste of album exposure. Coinciding with the release of the EP, G.R.L will soon embark on a trip down-under to promote their new music.
The thing that sets G.R.L. apart from many of their counterparts (both male and female) is their ability to create infectious songs that become even more addicting on subsequent listens. Songs like “Show Me What You Got” and their recent single and video for the song “Ugly Heart” infuse hooky R&B and pop-rock grooves with positive, girl power messages.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the ladies of G.R.L about their new album, touring and their thoughts on becoming the model for the next generation of Girl Power!
How excited are you that the EP is going to be released?
Natasha: I’m kind of nervous, actually [laughs]. We’ve worked really hard on it. It’s our baby and we’re finally putting it out there for the world to see. We’re very excited to see what the response will be.
Lauren: There’s also a song on the EP that no one has heard yet, which is a bit different then what we’ve put out thus far. We’re excited to see how fans will feel about that new song.
How would you describe the new album?
Simone: It’s very charged, with a lot of girl empowering anthems. We have some R&B and some 90’s throwback jams as well as an electro, pop-rock song. Then there’s “Ugly Heart” which is unique in its own way. It’s a mix of a bunch of different vibes.
Emma: We love positive messages and songs that make us want to dance immediately. If something can make us move, then we know we’re really feeling it from the inside and we become passionate about it.
What can you tell me about the song “Ugly Heart”?
Natasha: “Ugly Heart” is a song about inner-beauty and about how you should never judge a book by its cover. Just because someone has a pretty face, doesn’t mean their inside will match. And if you don’t have inner-beauty, then we’re going to leave you far behind!
What are your touring plans?
Paula: We’ll be going to Australia at the beginning of August. We’re excited about that because “Ugly Heart” is doing really well over there. While we’re there, we’ll be doing a performance on X-Factor Australia and will be traveling to places like Sydney and Melbourne to promote the record.
You’re all involved with so many different aspects of a project. Everything from recording to choreography. Is there a part of the process that you enjoy more than others?
Lauren: I love getting cool outfits and dressing up. As a little girl, it was always fun to put on a fancy dress. Now, being an adult and being able to dress up and be on stage or in a music video is one of the coolest things for me.
Natasha: I love performing and meeting the fans. The performance and seeing everything come together. Just being able to express myself on stage and getting the fans to sing and dance along with us is awesome.
Simone: I love the creative process of it. Being in the studio until two or three in the morning until a song is finished. I love all of the aspects of it, but being in the studio is one of my favorite things.
What was it like working with Pitbull for the video “Wild Wild Love”?
Lauren: I was nervous, because we didn’t really know how things were going to go until we got on set. We had never met Pitbull prior to the show and after he walked in the room the director handed me this sheet of paper and said, “Ok, here you go. You’ve got to read these lines with Pitbull.” I remember being incredibly nervous, but he was so nice and professional. It went really smoothly.
Paula: He’s also a lot of fun to work with. I remember after we shot the video, we all went out on a boat and he showed us around. He definitely knows how to have a good time.
Mel B appeared in your video for “Vacation”. What was it like working with her and sort-of picking up the torch to be the next generation of Girl Power?
Natasha: We grew up idolizing The Spice Girls. I remember wanting to be Sporty Spice and having all of my friends dress up with me. Having Mel B being in our video and giving us advice was the coolest thing and a dream come true.
Lauren: Mel B represents one of the biggest girl groups in the world of all time. For her to be a part of our journey is one of the best things we could ever have.
What are you most looking forward to about the new album and what’s next for G.R.L.?
Lauren: We’re not really sure about where things are going to go. All we know is that we’ve waited so long for this moment and things are happening really quickly now. Australia is really picking up on the new record. I’m really excited that the ball is rolling!
G.R.L (Track Listing):
1. Ugly Heart
2. Show Me What You Got
4. Don’t Talk About Love
5. Girls Are Always Right