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Interview:
OneRepublic Forges Its Own Identity
 

By GARY GRAFF
of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

OneRepublic is hardly the first rock band in the world to be eclipsed by its frontman. But Ryan Tedder is working hard to change that perception.

Tedder’s personal fame actually comes from being a writer for others’ pop hits — including Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love,” “Happy”), Beyoncé (“Halo”) and Jordin Sparks (“Battlefield”) along with Kelly Clarkson, Pussycat Dolls, Adam Lambert, Chris Cornell and others. And he’s confident that anyone who listens to either of OneRepublic’s albums — 2007’s gold-certified “Dreaming Out Loud” or last year’s “Waking Up” — will be hard-pressed to connect the band and those songs.

“All the stuff I do with other people carves out territory that OneRepublic isn’t going to go,” explains Tedder, 31, who formed the group in Colorado Springs with guitarists Zach Filkins and Drew Brown. “The irony is it would be a lot easier to just replicate some of the hits I’ve had with other artists. But because I’m helping create what is the current radio identity of popular music and I have a very good idea of what’s coming out in the next six months or a year, it allows (the band) to really carve out our own identity and sound nothing like anything else.”

OneRepublic has nothing against hits, Tedder says; its 2007 collaboration with Timbaland, “Apologize,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200, while the first single off “Waking Up,” “All the Right Moves,” reached the Top 20 and was nominated for a Teen Choice Award and its successor, “Secrets,” is still on the ascent. But ultimately, he adds, the group’s goals are more ambitious.

“We’re one of those bands whose songs are bigger than we are up to this point,” he explains, “and we became keenly aware of that while touring. So (‘Waking Up’) aims to remedy that and really create an identity for who this band is.

“We’re trying to see what we can get away with at radio and still try to connect with an album-buying audience. We’re definitely in a singles-driven market, but there are still people that buy albums, and that’s our preferred audience. That’s who we’re trying to reach, really.”



OneRepublic, Sara Bareilles and Alpha Rev perform Sunday, July 11, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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