Producer and former Geffen Records chairman Ron Fair is in talks to take a presidential or chairman-level post at a revived Virgin Records, a source close to the situation confirmed to Billboard.biz. The source emphasized that the deal is still being negotiated and, if successful, could be struck imminently or within a few weeks.
Virgin is a division of the former EMI labels that were acquired by Universal last year, which are now united under the Capitol Music Group umbrella; Steve Barnett came over from Columbia to helm the group last fall. The labels in the group are Capitol, Virgin, Blue Note, Astralwerks, Harvest, Capitol Christian Music Group and Caroline. Dan McCarroll, most recently president of the Capitol & Virgin Label Group, is expected to remain at the helm of Capitol.
Fair, who was hired in a consultancy role at Front Line management in April of last year, has a 30-year track record as an A&R executive and record producer. He is known for shepherding the career of Aguilera and his contributions to producing and providing A&R services for the Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah and others. His recordings have won 18 Grammy Awards. He previously held positions at Chrysalis Records, RCA Records, Island Records and EMI Records. Fair’s recent projects include Matt Goss, children’s’ television show “The Gonnabeez,” The New Pussycat Dolls, and this season’s finalists from NBC and Universal Record’s hit show “The Voice.”
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New Pussycat Dolls lineup revealed as Robin Antin expands empire.
The new Pussycat Dolls lineup of singer-dancers is headed to the Strip. PCD founder Robin Antin has assembled five stunners to relaunch the group that shot Nicole Scherzinger to fame and fortune and then went their separate ways.
The five new beauties are Natalie Mejia, Lauren Bennett, Simone Battle, Paula van Oppen and Natasha Slayton, the daughter of regular Las Vegas comedy headliner Bobby Slayton.
“They’re all different and unique, but all have equally incredible voices and are talented dancers. They can sing together or any one or two can sing as a highlight,” Robin told me. “I’m not changing what wasn’t broken. I’m just enhancing the original. It’s a real challenge to find beautiful girls who can sing and dance so brilliantly, and these girls can do it all.
“Once we’ve got the music organized and the recording plans underway, I’ll bring them to Las Vegas for their first professional show. We’re finalizing the act’s contracts now and planning the studio dates, so once we’re underway later this fall, we’ll showcase them in their official debut at the Pussycat Dolls Burlesque Saloon at Gallery in Planet Hollywood.”
Robin told me that she’s known Natasha for a while and discovered Lauren in London and brought her to America to appear in Paradiso Girls. “She’s the real deal,” Robin said. “She was a standout with Paradiso and has gone on to do many shows with LMFAO and already has her own fan base.”
Robin also told me exclusively that she’s planning to roll out her Las Vegas Pussycat Dolls club in Miami, New York and Chicago. “Eventually, I would love to see clubs in London and other parts of Europe, and Asia.”
Fans received a sneak preview of the team of temptresses when Robin opened her Pussycat Dolls Dollhouse at the Keating Hotel in San Diego over the weekend with reality TV star Audrina Patridge as hostess. They lit up the Gaslamp District on the red carpet with as many photographers and TV crews as a Las Vegas premiere.
Also there: “Dance Moms” star Abby Lee Miller, who confirmed that she’s working on a new Lifetime show with Robin titled “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition.”
Robin also revealed that she’s going to add San Diego concepts to the Las Vegas venue. “In San Diego, we are more of a saloon than a club and with gorgeous Dolls everywhere you turn as entertainers, bartenders and servers. We will add some of those elements and attractions this fall in Las Vegas.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Another day, another Pussycat Dolls member shakeup!
The latest change in the soon-to-be relaunched pop group sees Amanda Branche (aka “the token black girl” in the recent rundown of the group’s new lineup) getting kicked to the curb and replaced with X Factor star Simone Battle.
Although not officially announced yet, the latest PCD lineup looks pretty certain after Robin Antin and the girls staged a fake paparazzi shoot in Manhattan last week.
There’s also been multiple pics of the new lineup popping up all over the web, and Simone inadvertently confirmed that she’s now working with Robin Antin by Instagramming this screencap.
Anybody who watched the last season of the US X Factor will no doubt remember the 23-year-old Battle, who made it through to the top 17 girls before getting the chop.
Next Pussycat Dolls: Purr-fectly cast.
Robin Antin is at it again. A new Pussycat Dolls recording group is on the way. And these sexy singers have some big stilettos to fill. The girls are replacing the five original members, who had hits with songs such as “Don’t Cha,” “Buttons,” “Stickwitu” and “When I Grow Up,” but have all left the group over the past few years.
Antin, who founded the Pussycat Dolls as a burlesque troupe in 1995, understands their departure. “It’s a platform,” Antin says. “As much as the other girls, especially [former lead singer] Nicole [Scherzinger], were the face of the Pussycat Dolls, I have to let them go and live their dreams so they can find what their destiny is. Now it’s time to do it again.”
So meet the new Dolls. Antin recruited Lauren Bennett from Paradiso Girls, who will share vocals with Girlicious’ Chrystina Sayers. Rounding out the group is former Los Angeles Lakers Girl Vanessa Curry, Paula Van Oppen from So You Think You Can Dance and ex-Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Erica Jenkins.
Antin calls the two-year selection process “Pussycat Dolls boot camp” and adds, “I have five very special, incredibly beautiful and talented girls.”
Bennett, who was featured on LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” and Cee Lo Green’s “Love Gun” track, has a voice that, Antin says, is a “cross between Aretha Franklin and Adele”— plus, “she can dance. She has such swagger.” Meanwhile, Antin compares Sayers’ “big, belty, pop sound” to that of Rihanna, and says Van Oppen will likely rap on the album, which she expects will be released by the end of the year.
As for the Dolls’ new sound, “My motto is, don’t fix what isn’t broken. The Pussycat Dolls are sexy and gorgeous, and the music is fun and has an urban pop vibe. It’s going to fit the same mold.”
And as if that’s not enough, Antin is teaming up with Nigel Lythgoe and Kim Kardashian, who will work as an executive producer, on a reality show that will follow the launch of the band.
But will a Pussycat Dolls reincarnation work? “When people see the girls in action and hear our music, everyone is going to fall in love with them. People will be blown away. It’s the exact right recipe for the new Pussycat Dolls.”