Group members Lauren Bennett, Emmalyn Estrada, Natasha Slayton and Paula van Oppen released "Lighthouse" on Thursday, a new song and video in memory of their late member Battle. The 25-year-old tragically lost her life to suicide in September.
“It’s a strange day,” Bennett tells ETonline. “It’s definitely bittersweet. It’s sad, but at the same time we’re very happy with the video. It’s a very positive message and reflection on her life, and we’re happy with that.”
ETonline spoke with the girls about the gorgeous new video, their new charity partnership, and what the future holds for G.R.L.
ETonline: That video made me emotional, so I can only imagine how you all must be feeling.
Lauren Bennett: It's a strange day, it's definitely bittersweet. It's sad, but at the same time we're very happy with the video. It's a very positive message and reflection on her life, and we're happy with that
How did the song come about?
Natasha Slayton: Dr. Luke and Cirkut played this song for us and we all, the whole group, really felt like it represented the way that we were feeling. It’s a really beautiful song and it felt right to record it.
LB: It's a positive message, a positive song, and I think it's gonna be great moving forward with the charity we're going to associate with. We really want to try and fit everything hand in hand.
What is the charity you are working with?
Emmalyn Estrada: The charity is called Give an Hour; it's a foundation that brings attention to mental health awareness, so people can educate themselves or get help if you, yourself, are suffering. and to learn not only to learn but educate yourself on somebody who is suffering. We're hoping this inspires people to talk about it because mental health affects every part of your life -- and it affects everybody, all around you. When something like this happens, a traumatic experience in your life, it’s very important to have some help.
The video for "Lighthouse" is so simple and beautiful. Did you all come up with the concept, or did director Daniel Carberry bring the idea do you?
EE: We all felt very strongly about making it about Simone and making sure she was seen in the best light. Shooting the video, it's wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do -- to know how to react in this situation -- so we just kind of wanted to keep it simple with the lights and us four together. We wanted to just perform the song. I think collectively, us girls and the team, we made a good choice when it came to reflecting Simone in the best way.
Did you work with her family to get those old photos?
NS: Yes, definitely. Her sister, her brother and the rest of their family contributed a lot of the footage.
How did her family react when they saw the video?
EE: It was very positive. They've been very supportive of G.R.L.
NS: We've been talking to Simone’s mom every step of the way. She's been very supportive of us moving forward -- that’s been instrumental in us moving forward.
How are you planning to move forward with the group? What's next?
LB: We're just taking everything one day at a time. 'Lighthouse' is the first thing that felt right for us and that’s what we’re focusing on for the time being, setting up a positive message and focusing on the charity. We can’t say exactly what the future holds, we're dealing with everything individually and as a group, but we love working together and that's the plan but we don't know exactly what the future holds.
NS: We're very grateful for all the fan support. That's been so important to us. Talking to fans has helped me deal in a lot of ways. It's been really cool to know that we've already helped so many people and helped them to have a positive light in their lives -- to see that we go through the same things that they do.
LB: It's been so nice to see how warm and kind the fans have been. It's really been our support system, and it's so nice to see people be so kind to each other. It's something positive to take out of this experience and it's really beautiful to see. It helps.
Back in July, ETonline's Sophie Schillaci hit the dance studio with G.R.L. to learn (or attempt to learn) the "Ugly Heart" choreography. Take a look back on the fun-filled afternoon in the video below.