Girl group G.R.L., whose member Simone Battle passed away last September at the age of 25, has officially broken up, a statement from management and their record labels confirmed on Tuesday (June 2). Formed as a quintet in 2013, G.R.L. released a self-titled EP last July but never issued a debut album.
“Nearly 9 months following the tragic death of band member Simone Battle, girl group G.R.L. announces today that they are disbanding,” reads a statement from Kemosabe Records, RCA Records, Larry Rudolph and Robin Antin. “We wish them continued success in each of their next creative endeavors.”
Battle was found dead of apparent suicide on the morning of September 5, and in January, the remaining members of G.R.L. — Paula Van Oppen, Natasha Slayton, Lauren Bennett and Emmalyn Estrada — released a tribute song, “Lighthouse.” Prior to Battle’s death, G.R.L. had scored a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100 chart as the featured artist on Pitbull’s “Wild Wild Love,” and had worked with producers like Max Martin, Dr. Luke (whose label, Kemosabe, signed the group in conjunction with RCA) and Cirkut on other material.
Originally conceived as a reboot of the Pussycat Dolls, G.R.L. was helmed by veteran choreographer/director Robin Antin and managed by Larry Rudolph (Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus). In an interview with Billboard last January, the group stated that they never considered disbanding following Battle’s death.
“There was never a question that we weren’t going to break up,” said Bennett. “We didn’t know what was going to happen — we really didn’t even think about it. We just got back together and just continued to do what we’re doing today, to stay close, and that’s just how it is. That’s where we are now.”
G.R.L. performed at We Day in San Jose last February and at Give An Hour’s Campaign To Change Direction summit in Washington, D.C. in March. On Saturday, Bennett posted to Twitter, “Thank u all for ridin with GRL thru the tough times.. I know it’s all a bit confusing but I love you all, and care never forget.”