OneRepublic finds inspiration in ‘90s European disco for new album Oh My My
The pop anthems penned by singer-songwriter-producer Ryan Tedder, 37, helped propel OneRepublic to prominence in 2007. The Timbaland-assisted ‘Apologize’ initially established the group as the most popular digital download in the U.S., but co-founder Tedder spent five years looking to breakout in Los Angeles after leaving his native Colorado. He also began to make his name as a songwriter and/or producer for other artists including Beyonce, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez, and Leona Lewis—writing the latter’s No. 1 hit ‘Bleeding Love.’ OneRepublic began writing new songs in 2008 for second album, Waking Up, which was released in November 2009 after lead single, ‘All the Right Moves,’ became one of three multi-platinum Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
More new music was released in early 2013 as the Top 5, platinum-selling Native spawned the Top 40 ‘Feel Again’ and Top 5 ‘Counting Stars.’ A deluxe version of Native was released in 2014 during a subsequent world tour. As the tour progressed, the band began recording follow-up album, Oh My My, which was written in 16 cities across 12 countries. The new album via Mosley Music/Interscope Records captures the sound and flavor of each locales from Turkey and Brazil to Spain and Russia.
Tedder calls lead single, ‘Wherever I Go,’ a “really odd song to lead with,” adding it’s “more skittish and angular than usual.” He admits to Vogue.com the song doesn’t really sound like OneRepublic, but the band “just wanted to see what we could get away with.” As a songwriter, Tedder has demonstrated similar unexpected directions in songs he’s written for others such as the “scorched earth rock” of The Fray’s “=’Love Don’t Die,’ the classic soul of Adele’s ‘Rumour Has It,’ and the “plinky, ’80s-inflected pop” of Taylor Swift’s ‘Welcome to New York.’
Tedder tells Vogue he started working on Oh My My in 2014—right around the time he finished contributing to Adele’s 25 and U2’s Songs of Innocence. Much of the album was recorded in hotel rooms around the world as OneRepublic toured in support of Native. The band also challenged itself to come up with songs that ran counter to the dominance of digital pop. “When you’re in a band, I think it’s even more important that people can tell there are human beings doing the music,” explains Tedder.
Oh My My is marked by a conscience attempt to get away from dancehall, pop trap, and “tropical” house music. A portion of the album plays instead like a “love letter to disco,” according to Vogue. The title track, ‘Dream,’ and ‘A.I.’ feature “chunky, strutting bass lines” that are an obvious departure from EDM. When Tedder and the band were faced with how to make an up tempo record without a DJ, they found the answer lay in Italian and French disco from the ’90s. Tedder therefore enlisted help from the duo Cassius—one of several French groups that influenced Oh My My.
“As a band, if you’re going to evolve and grow, you have to win over new [fans],” says Tedder. “You’re trying to reach as many as possible—you can’t do that by doing the same thing over and over.” While Tedder is encouraged by the reception to ‘Wherever I Go,’ new single, ‘Kids,’ is already in the Top 20 (No. 17) of the Mediabase Hot AC airplay chart, and No. 21 on Billboard’s Adult Pop Songs chart.
Watch OneRepublic in the official music video for ‘Kids,’ the second single release from new album Oh My My.
As A Matter of Fact…
* OneRepublic was formed in 2002 after Colorado natives Ryan Tedder and Zach Filkins moved to Los Angeles. They then added keyboardist Drew Brown, bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle, and drummer Eddie Fisher to the lineup.
* In 2003, the band signed with Columbia/Sony BMG, but was dropped three years later. OneRepublic's popularity continued to soar on MySpace, and Tedder helped raise the group's profile by penning songs for pop artists including Blake Lewis and Hilary Duff.
* Tedder’s work with Timbaland led to the hip-hop producer signing OneRepublic to his own Mosley Music Group, a joint venture with Interscope Records. Timbaland also remixed the group's song ‘Apologize’ and included it on his 2007 album, Timbaland Presents Shock Value.
* ‘Apologize’ quickly became a platinum-selling single in several countries, breaking airplay records in the U.K., peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and selling an unprecedented 4.3 million digital downloads in the U.S. alone.
* The debut OneRepublic album, Dreaming Out Loud, appeared in November 2007 and quickly went gold on the strength of ‘Apologize’ and follow up Top 40 hit, ‘Stop and Stare.’ The year was also marked by Tedder writing the No. 1 smash ‘Bleeding Love’ for Leona Lewis.
* OneRepublic’s second album, Waking Up, was released in November 2009. Lead single, ‘All the Right Moves,’ became a double-platinum Top 20 hit, followed by ‘Secrets’ reaching No. 21 and ‘Good Life’ cracking the Top 10. More new music was released in early 2013 as the Top 5, platinum-selling Native spawned the Top 40 ‘Feel Again’ and No. 2 ‘Counting Stars.’