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Mathew Knowles is back with new girl group

By Mesfin Fekadu
Associated Press / November 17, 2011

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NEW YORK—Mathew Knowles says there's a lack of girl groups in the music industry today, so it's the right time to launch his latest project: a reality show on MTV that follows the development of the group From Above.

"Breaking From Above" premieres internationally this month and in December, and Knowles says it may be shown in the United States next spring.

"Most reality shows are about putting together groups, this is the opposite," he said in a recent interview. On the MTV show, he added two more women, for a total of seven competing for a spot in the British pop quintet. It airs over MTV affiliates in 160 countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.

He says the group could be trimmed to a quartet or a trio.

The days of girl groups dominating the music scene are long gone. Knowles says it's a result of band mates not understanding the roles they play.

"If I'm the lead singer, I've got to know that, accept that, and all the members have got to accept it," he said. "Everybody's role has to be established at day one."

Knowles was the manager of Destiny's Child, which included his daughter Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams. Originally a quartet, the trio stopped performing in 2005.

Destiny's Child won two Grammys, had multiple No. 1 hits and multiple multiplatinum albums. Knowles also managed the group members' solo efforts and oversaw most of Beyonce's solo career until they split professionally in March.

Knowles says before Destiny's Child signed a record deal in 1997, they had performed about 1,000 shows.

"When you look at reality shows, (the success) comes overnight, and it goes away overnight because there was never artist development," he said. "(With my new group) there's something here, but true success in this industry is about a six-year process."

His company, Music World Entertainment, offers boot camp training for artists who are looking to improve their skills. He had the members of Destiny's Child jogging and singing at the same time -- to build their stamina -- when they were 10 years old.

From Above will release their debut single, "Not the Same Girl," on Nov. 29. Their album, "Breaking From Above," will come out digitally Dec. 12.

"The initial launch is based on TV, and we've all learned the power in TV in selling music today," he said.

Knowles said he's been affiliated with seven girl groups, including the platinum-selling Trin-i-tee 5:7. Like Destiny's Child, the gospel duo has been downsized over the years.

"I guess I kind of have been known as the guy that shakes up girl groups," Knowles said with a laugh.

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Mesfin Fekadu covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/musicmesfin