Veteran music executive and television producer Angelica Cob-Baehler died Wednesday (Nov. 21) after a year-long battle with cancer, Billboard has confirmed. She turned 47 less than two weeks ago.
Cob-Baehler, who was instrumental in discovering and developing acts — most notably Katy Perry — was a fierce advocate for the artists she worked with during her 25-year career, including Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, Death Grips, System of a Down and 30 Seconds to Mars.
Most recently, Cob-Baehler, known as “Geli” to her friends, was chief marketing officer for Big 3, the professional 3-on-3 basketball league, founded by Jeff Kwatinetz and Ice Cube.
Cob-Baehler met Perry while she was a vp at Columbia Records. Perry was signed to the label and recorded a still-unreleased album. When Cob moved to Virgin Records in 2005 — hired as svp of publicity by then-CEO Jason Flom, with whom she’d worked at Atlantic Records — she began an ultimately successful campaign to bring Perry to Capitol Records (following Virgin’s merger into the EMI Music Group) and played a large role in the A&R and creative direction of Perry’s 2008 breakthrough album, One of the Boys, as well as the follow-up, Teenage Dream. They remained close until Cob-Baehler’s death.
“Angelica was a consummate professional,” says Flom, now head of Lava Records. “She had an uncanny ability to recognize talent and a gift for helping artists reach their greatest potential. I know Angelica as the person who believed in Kid Rock when few others did and she worked tirelessly to help transform him into a superstar. Angelica was the person who was responsible for bringing a then unknown performer named Katy Perry to Virgin Records. But what I will always remember about Angelica was her kind and gentle spirit. For even though she was strong and tough, she never lost her cool and she had a tremendous positive impact on my life and on the lives of countless others. Rest in peace, Angelica. You are gone too soon, but you will never be forgotten.”
Cob-Baehler was much beloved in the music industry and, following her diagnosis in October 2017, her industry friends rallied around her. Former and present colleagues from Atlantic Records sent hundreds of mylar helium balloons to her house, delighting her and her two young daughters. Another friend arranged for her teenage crush, Duran Duran’s John Taylor, to pay her a special visit. She bravely chronicled her treatment on Facebook in sometimes brutally honest detail, but also often regaling her friends with humorous stories and the ’80s playlists she listened to during her radiation sessions.
She began her career as an intern at Elektra Records and after her graduation from UCLA was hired as an assistant at Atlantic in 1993. She moved to Columbia Records in 2001. She left EMI in 2011 and took an evp marketing job at Epic. In addition to heading marketing at Epic, Cob-Baehler served in an A&R capacity, signing hip-hop band Death Grips, who were named Spin magazine’s artist of the year in 2012.
After less than a year, she left the Sony Music label to join Kwatinetz’s Prospect Park, which morphed into The Firm in August 2015. She was promoted to head the Firm’s music operations in June 2016. She then headed to Big 3 with Kwatinetz, working closely with Ice Cube and his son, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Kwatinetz sent an emotional email to his company this afternoon and others close to Cob-Baehler, disclosing her passing. “I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone quite like her. She was truly so special, so loving, so caring…she was so proud of the work she did, but also of the family she assembled…She was passionate about art, politics, making the world a better place, and being a real friend to people like me, who needed her in my life and I will never go a day without thinking of her.” Kwatinetz spoke for many of Cob-Baehler’s friends when he praised Perry for her loyalty to Cob-Baehler long after they stopped working together. “As someone who has worked with talent and am used to not being appreciated for belief and commitment, I do want to say that the artist she brought to the world, Katy Perry, was magnificent to her when she became sick. Katy did remarkable things and stepped up for her friend Angelica. I don’t know Katy but I love her so dearly for being that rare person that didn’t forget someone who believed in her and fought for her. That too inspired me.”
Cob-Baehler also co-produced the 2017 20-episode season of Hip Hop Squares and served on the board of directors for Generosity Water, the Thirst Project and MusiCares.
In addition to her daughters, Cob-Baehler is survived by her husband, photographer Chapman Baehler, and several family members.