Mon, 19 Aug 2013 07:45:20
We can promise you one thing. If you go on "Vacation" with G.R.L., you'll have the time of your life. The quintet's brand new single is the kind of bubbly pop bliss that'll have you singing along for months to come. "Vacation" is as welcome as it is wonderful, boasting five distinct voices and personalities, namely Lauren Bennett, Paula Van Oppen, Natasha Slayton, Simone Battle and Emmalyn Estrada. G.R.L. is just what pop needed…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, G.R.L. talk "Vacation" and so much more.
What's the story behind "Vacation"?
Paula: It's funny. When we went to go record this, three of the girls were actually going through breakups. The song it hit home. It meant a lot to us when we were recording it—like Lauren.
Lauren: It's a fun pop song, but it's still a breakup song. I think there are a lot of girls out there who have gone through that experience and leaned on their girlfriends. Paula came over my house at four in the morning to rescue me and help me pack all of my things. She's a good friend! It's a real life story.
Paula: It's a happy breakup song.
Lauren: It's like, "Who cares if we broke up? We're going to go out and party and find someone new!" [Laughs]
Did the song start with a beat? How did it come together?
Paula: We have great producers and writers who really put a lot of time and effort behind it.
Simone: Bonnie McKee is actually the mastermind behind "Vacation". She wrote the song. Max Martin produced it. We're fortunate to have such a good single to put out.
Being used for The Smurfs II, does it take on a different meaning?
Lauren: I think it's really cool to appeal to a young audience. We went to watch the movie the other day. There were loads of kids at the premiere, and they loved it. The song is actually at a really cute part of the movie. It's fun to have kids listen to the song and watch the movie.
Did you all grow up watching The Smurfs?
Simone: I loved The Smurfs cartoon! We're all pretty much nineties babies.
Lauren: I remember it always being on, but I was into the British cartoons.
Paula: The Smurfs actually kind of scared me [Laughs]. Wait, didn't you have them in your room?
Lauren: No, I had trolls. My mom collected trolls. When I was a kid, she'd put them in my bedroom. They weren't little either. They were giant. They were above my bed. Every night when I'd wake up, I'd see these ugly trolls staring at me in the dark on a side note.
The trolls are creepier than Smurfs…
Lauren: They're extra creepy!
Paula: They remind me of Gremlins. I did like The Smurfs II though. I wasn't scared this time.
Does "Vacation" pave the way for the album?
Emmalynn: It definitely does. It's a really good intro for the group. The base of our album is pop. We also have urban songs. It's really about friendship. "Vacation" is about girls being able to rely on each other. It's friendship, fun, and love for your girlfriends. That's what G.R.L. represents. That's what a lot of out songs represent.
What artists shaped you?
Emmalynn: My influences are Beyoncé and Destiny's Child.
Lauren: Gwen Stefani is a big one. A lot of us grew up listening to Motown and oldies. My dad always listened to Motown.
Emmalynn: Then, there's The Beatles and Britney Spears.
Lauren: Britney was the first album I bought by myself with my own money.
Paula: I had "Slave 4 U" down with the snake [Laughs]. My first album was B-52s. I'm weird [Laughs].
Lauren: Did you buy that with your own money?
Paula: I did. Shut up [Laughs].
Emmalynn: My first album was Spice Girls, and my parents got it for me. I was a child I couldn't afford it.
Simone: Mine was Alicia Keys.
Paula: I like indie music and artists who aren't pop like India.Arie and Black Keys. There's more than pop behind this.
What do you each bring to the group?
Lauren: Let's speak for each other.
Emmalynn: Paula's bad girl [Laughs].
Lauren: She likes to get into naughty things.
Emmalynn: When we all go out together, Paula disappears!
Paula: I always come back, guys!
Emmalynn: If we all take a vacation to San Diego, we wake up and Paula's in Mexico. It's a true story.
Lauren: At The Smurfs II premiere, we were all like, "Where is Paula?" Emmalynn is the sweetheart.
Simone: If somebody does something that makes the rest of us mad, Emmalynn will still be her friend [Laughs].
Emmalynn: I'm too nice because I'm Canadian!
Paula: Natasha is our girly-girl. She has so much fun. She's like our Energizer Bunny. Lauren is our tom boy.
Emmalynn: She has the best sense of humor and she's so goofy.
Lauren: Simone is super talented. She plays guitar. She's the most punctual one.
Paula: She keeps us in line. I think what we bring to the group, aside from our crazy personalities, is everyone has a great voice and can dance and is obviously very beautiful!
Lauren: Oh Paula [Laughs].
What inspires you outside of music?
Simone: I'm inspired by fashion. I love following really interesting people on Instagram that have dope style and reading fashion blogs.
Lauren: I also do semi-professional photography. I paint as well. My mom was an artist growing up. So, I've always been into painting and drawing.
Paula: I'm inspired by dancers and movement. I love working out and yoga. Nature inspires me.
Emmalynn: And she's a dance teacher! I play piano.
Lauren: She can play a beat with a cup [Laughs].
Have you heard G.R.L. yet?