Celebrating The Life Of Angelica Cob-Baehler, Visionary Music Executive
On Nov. 21, record label executive Angelica Cob-Baehler passed away at age 47 after a long battle with cancer. She spent her cut-too-short albeit illustrious time in music launching and developing the careers of many artists, including pop superstar Katy Perry and multi-hyphenate rapper/actor Ice Cube. Cob-Baehler made a profoundly positive impact in the music industry and will be remembered fondly by all who worked with her.
Sad to lose Angelica. Tough lady who was always cool under pressure. We miss you already. https://t.co/KHIqKIUugV
— Ice Cube (@icecube) November 22, 2018
Starting out in the music industry while still in college at UCLA as an intern at Elektra Records, Cob-Baehler began working as a publicity assistant at Atlantic Records in 1993, where she rose to Senior Director and worked with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots and Jewel. In 2001 she went to Columbia Records to become the Vice President of Media, building close relationships with artists ranging from John Mayer to System Of A Down to the Offspring. In 2005, when she moved to Virgin Records to become their Senior Vice President of Media (which later merged with Capitol and EMI), she brought a then-unknown artist with her, Katy Perry, playing a key role in launching her into pop-stardom.
While Cob-Baehler was at Columbia Perry was signed to the label and working on her debut album, but was dropped by the label before it was released. Cob-Baehler shared in an interview that this upset her and was a big part of the reason she left—but not before "stealing," as she put it, Perry's files. When she moved to Virgin, she brought Perry to her new team, where they signed her and released her successful debut album, One Of The Boys, via their Capitol Records arm. Cob-Baehler build a lasting friendship with Perry and worked closely on both the A&R and creative direction of the then-rising star's debut, as well as on her sophomore LP, Teenage Dream. Several of the hit songs from both albums received GRAMMY nods, with Teenage Dream earning Perry four nominations at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards, including for Album of the Year.
Six days ago, one of my biggest champions and realest friends, Angelica Cob-Baehler moved on from this place. She was one of the strongest women I have ever known - fighting her cancer like friggin’ Rocky, enduring chemo, immunotherapy, a tracheotomy, feeding tubes for months on end, and experimental cancer treatment trials. I watched her go through many stages for over a year, but a few things remained constant: her sarcastic/wicked sense of humor, her positive outlook, and the incredible love she had for her family. We had a lot of wins together for over 10 years, and I am incredibly grateful she was a born fighter/no shit-taker because she practically willed me into existence as a young artist when she “stole my files” from limbo at Columbia Records and brought them to life at Capitol Records. She was like a big sister to me, showing me the ropes and always having my back. She never became a yes-person and was quick to check me when I needed checking - that was family. I have procrastinated posting this because it makes it feel a little too final, but I don’t believe people ever really die - she just had to leave that body behind. Out of body, and full of spirit now. Sadly, she also left behind two amazing young girls, and an incredible husband who was the definition of ROCK through this whole process. As for me, I’ll never let them forget that Angelica embodied the angel in her name, was a woman of incredible integrity and character, a massive giver, and a DOPE human being. I know today is #GivingTuesday, and if you have been a longtime KatyCat and a friend of mine or Geli’s, let’s honor her by donating to her favorite charity, Generosity.org by clicking the link in bio. She may be gone from this place, but she will never be forgotten. Rest in power, my angel, and don’t worry, we got Chapman and the girls. #RIPGeli
"I watched her go through many stages for over a year, but a few things remained constant: her sarcastic/wicked sense of humor, her positive outlook, and the incredible love she had for her family," Perry wrote in a touching post on Instagram that included photos of the two of them, along with a video clip of Cob-Baehler discussing bringing Perry to Capitol. "We had a lot of wins together for over 10 years, and I am incredibly grateful she was a born fighter/no shit-taker because she practically willed me into existence as a young artist when she 'stole my files' from limbo at Columbia Records and brought them to life at Capitol Records,"
"She was like a big sister to me," continued Perry, "showing me the ropes and always having my back. She never became a yes-person and was quick to check me when I needed checking—that was family. I cared about her too much as a person to think that somebody could just crush this girl's life, and just crush her dreams, for their own ego."
No one worked harder or was more passionate about the BIG3 than our CMO Angelica Cob-Baehler. She deserves as much credit for the success of the BIG3 as anyone. Geli lost her fight with cancer this morning and we’re going to miss her very much. We love you Geli. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/HnlSdCjUrQ
— BIG3 (@thebig3) November 22, 2018
In 2013 Cob-Baehler went to work with friend and business partner Jeff Kwatinetz as head of marketing and then head of music at his company The Firm/Prospect Park, which eventually became Big3/Prospect Park/Cube Vision. She worked alongside Ice Cube, who co-founded Big3 with Kwatinetz, and his son O'Shea Jackson Jr., who played his father in the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. Cob-Baehler also served as the Chief Marketing Officer at Big3. Kwatinetz also shared a beautiful message about her fervor for life:
"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. It's easy to say take this lesson to appreciate life more and that's what she would and DID say to me. Work less, live more with your real group of friends and family."
Another close friend, Jeff Jampol, President of Jampol Artist Management, shared a message of her positive impact on his life:
"I met Geli through her amazing husband Chapman, and we grew to be very emotionally, intellectually and spiritually bonded. Geli was one of the greatest humans I have ever met—her personal recovery, her faith, her intellect and her willingness were second to none. Through thick and thin, adversity and triumph, Geli practiced spiritual principles in her life, and was a beacon of light, hope and courage to many around her. Her final adversity took her from us, and her passing affected me very deeply. But the way she walked through it, with grace, faith—and transparency—will always stay with me. I learned a lot from Geli, and her legacy lives on in the countless number of folks that she affected, that she helped, and to whom her courage was a profound lesson in the human spirit. I'll never forget her—and I'm pretty sure many others won't, either."
She is survived by her husband, Chapman, and their two daughters. Her legacy lives on in all the lives she touched.