OneRepublic is a band that needs little introduction. Formed in 2002, the American pop-rock group has found a permanent spot in the hearts of contemporary music lovers. Consisting of lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Tedder, guitarists Zach Filkins and Drew Brown, bassist and cellist Brent Kutzle, drummer Eddie Fisher and keyboardist Brian Willett, OneRepublic has come a long way since its 2006 breakout hit, ‘Apologize’.
Today, the band is poised to unleash its fifth full-length studio album, Human, later in the year. Leading up to the record, OneRepublic has already unveiled five tracks that are slated to be on the album, namely ‘Rescue Me’, ‘Wanted’, ‘Didn’t I’, ‘Better Days’ and ‘Run’.
In a press conference last week, frontman and prolific songwriter Ryan Tedder sat down to chat about the album and what has been going on since the band’s last album in 2016. Below, we highlight 5 things that you need to know about the album before its release, as shared by Ryan Tedder.
1. Human emerged from a period of uncertainty and burn out.
After the release of OneRepublic’s 2016 album, Oh My My, Ryan was “completely fried” from being on the road touring and promoting the album. “I almost thought I was done with the band, to be honest,” he confessed.
The singer-songwriter expressed that the promotional tour done in support of Oh My My was “soul destroying”. Ryan recalls that he was on tour from May to December of that year, “By the time I got to October, I had seen my family maybe four days out of four or five months, and I still had three months to go. I was done. I remember telling my manager I don’t care what happens – I can’t promote anymore songs. By the time we got to ‘Kids’, which was the second single, I was already done. I didn’t have anything left in me.”
Ryan explained between the three-year period of 2017 to 2019, OneRepublic did one America tour and two Asia tours, but he “did not have it in [him] to do anything else”. He said that writing for the Human album only started in 2019, after having done some other projects for other artists that got him “re-energised” and “back in the saddle”.
“I had enough time off and enough time with my family and being home and not touring that I wanted to tour again, that I had something to say and I wanted to go back out there and make music again. So, I see this, the next nine or ten years, as the second chapter of this band. I always thought this was a 20-year band from day one, so I told the band, in 2019, that I got another ten years in me. And then COVID hit and gobbled up 18 months of it. [Laughs]”
2. The only collaboration on the Human album is with Norwegian DJ/Producer Kygo.
When asked about features and collaborations on the album, it was revealed that the only collaboration was with Kygo for one song.
“This is OneRepublic, this is a very traditional OneRepublic album,” Ryan said.
3. The music video for ‘Run’ was shot on a Hollywood movie set and was done in one day.
Having shot music videos on locations all over the world, Ryan explained that the decision to shoot at a Hollywood movie set was something that OneRepublic has never done before. “For a lot of our videos, I come up with what the treatment should be. [But,] I didn’t have an idea for ‘Run’ that made sense to me.”
“When the director, Tomás Whitmore, who’s a very successful commercial director, pitched us the idea, it was so brilliant that I just instantly said ‘Yes, I want to do this.’”
The choice of location was also due to Ryan’s busy schedule working on multiple albums and projects, only being able to afford one full day to shoot the ‘Run’ music video. “I was doing four albums at the same time for different projects, so it had to be in Los Angeles and within 30 minutes of my studio.”
“So, at the end of the day, we just ended up shooting it at the CBS Seinfeld backlot – which is really cool because that’s where, if you come to Los Angeles and you do the Hollywood tour, you could tour famous TV sets and that’s one of those sets. So, it was really special to be on that because those are not cheap,” he said, jokingly.
4. Human is reminiscent of OneRepublic’s earlier works.
“More than half of the album, will remind people of whatever our sound is. It’s hard to describe your own sound when you’re in the band, you can’t really define it because you’re making it up as you go,” Ryan ponders.
While Oh My My was more of an experimental effort, Human, he explains, is a return to the older emotional songs that OneRepublic started out with.
5. Human can be summed up in three words: Love, Fear, and Hope.
It seems that this album could not have been more aptly titled to describe the human experience. When asked what three words would he describe the record with, Ryan unreservedly proclaimed, “Love, fear, hope.”
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