OneRepublic: ‘We’ll Never Stop Making Music’
The American rock band’s frontman Ryan Tedder on conquering his battle with anxiety, India and working with Logic on their upcoming LP
Although social media is buzzing about OneRepublic finally making their India debut this weekend, there is possibly no one more excited than the American rock band’s frontman Ryan Tedder. “I’ve personally wanted to go to India since I was a little kid, I’m fascinated by it!” he reveals. “I’ve been researching for a couple weeks on places to eat and coffee shops and neighborhoods to visit.”
Formed in 2002, OneRepublic comprises vocalist Tedder, guitarists Drew Brown and Zach Filkins, bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle and drummer Eddie Fisher. The group first found commercial success in 2007 with the Timbaland-remix of their 2006 single “Apologize” and went on to cement their fame with the follow-up single “Stop and Stare” and their debut album Dreaming Out Loud. OneRepublic would go on to establish themselves as a leading act in pop-rock with their subsequent singles “All The Right Moves,” “Secrets” and “Good Life” from their 2009 sophomore album Waking Up.
The group took a short break from touring post the release of their third and fourth studio albums, Native (2013) and Oh My My (2016) as Tedder had developed anxiety due to their constant life on the road. “I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” the frontman explained on a post on Facebook last year. “Not sleeping, on meds, not happy, anxiety on a crippling level and it was triggered from sheer exhaustion.” Post their hiatus, OneRepublic decided to do away with the pressurizing loop of ‘singles, followed by an album, then a tour’ and in 2018 began releasing music on their own terms: “When we want, as often as we want, however we want. Not albums, songs,” Tedder stated.
Although their April 21st show at NSCI Dome in Mumbai came as a surprise to Indian fans, it was far from a spur-of-the-moment thing. “We’ve actually been pushing our booking agents to find us a show for years,” Tedder explains. He further confirms that OneRepublic will be performing all the biggest hits in their repertoire and have a few special surprises planned for the audience.
In this exclusive interview with Rolling Stone India, Tedder talks about finally fulfilling his long-time dream of visiting our country, conquering his battle with anxiety and OneRepublic’s upcoming fifth studio album.
How are you feeling about your India debut? Are you nervous? Excited?
We’ve wanted to come here for 10 years now. It’s truly unique, in a world that’s getting smaller by the minute with social media and internet and phones, India still feels like a truly foreign place to us, and we welcome culture shock in the best way possible.
After the release of Oh My My, you talked about the stress and anxiety that surrounds constant touring and album promotions—how do you conquer something like that and find the strength to get back on the road?
We have such a great fan base. They inspire us to keep writing and making music. Also, our families and the experiences that we all have as individuals [keep us going.] We’ll never stop making music and to be inspired by average or monumental events is imputation enough to inspire the inception of each song.
You’ve also said you want to break free of the ‘album release pattern’ and you’re choosing to release singles more frequently—how is that process going? How have your fans been reacting to it?
We dropped four songs in four months and it was awesome, we are about the to the same thing this summer but this time we will actually do a full tour to support what will likely be a coming album, but in the meantime we will drop as many songs as we can. It’s the way the world consumes music now, so we are more than happy to oblige. On a separate note, come support the show. We’ve put out four albums over the last decade and have carefully picked a set that we think will inspire and engage the audience. We have a few surprises up our sleeve as well!
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the projects you’re currently working on?
The fifth album! The sound of the new album is different than anything we’ve done yet it is the most ‘OneRepublic’ sounding thing we’ve done in ages. There will be some collaborations for sure, starting with [American rapper and producer] Logic.
Are there any Indian artists or bands you’ve heard of that you’ve liked or anyone you’re keen on collaborating with?
I know of [composer] A.R. Rahman, I actually did a song with him a number of years ago. I am aware of Bollywood but Priyanka Chopra is the only [Bollywood star] I’ve met personally.
Will you get a little extra time in India to explore a bit? Is there anything in particular you really want to see or try out in our country?
We have never had a chance to explore until now. We’ve actually been pushing our booking agents to find us a show in India for a long long time… years. I’ve personally wanted to go to India since I was a little kid, I’m fascinated by it! I’ve been researching for a couple weeks on places to eat and coffee shops and neighborhoods to visit, I’ve gotten to be friends with Diplo recently so I’ve been asking him advice on places to visit in Mumbai. I plan on visiting for coffee and food and some of the more obvious tourist destinations. I will also check out some art and music while we are there, I’ve also hired a tour guide for the second day. We will be documenting the whole experience as well!