Ryan Tedder Says OneRepublic Plans to Release an Album by Spring 2020: 'It's Been Too Long'
OneRepublic fans can look forward to new music in the New Year.
Ahead of the band’s “Share the Code. Hit the Road” concert event hosted in partnership with Enterprise in Pioneertown, California on Friday night, frontman Ryan Tedder told PEOPLE that the plan is to release their fifth studio album — their first since 2016’s Oh My My — by the end of Spring 2020.
“We wanted to have [the album] out before the end of the year, but if you don’t do something before Thanksgiving, there’s no shot between Thanksgiving and Christmas from any standpoint,” Tedder, 40, said. “Just because it’s Christmas time and it’s nuts to put an album out after Thanksgiving. Originally, we were like, ‘Let’s do it November.’ And then we realized that we were gone for three out of the next four weeks, and it was physically impossible to finish an album in the timeframe that we thought we needed it.”
Though Tedder said the band plans to drop songs leading up to the album’s release, fans can expect a full record to come either next April or May.
“We tour in the summer, so we do have an actual hard deadline,” he said. “I don’t want to get past Memorial Day without an album physically being out.”
“We have two years worth of songs just scattered on hard drives,” he continued. “So now it’s combing through those and finishing the best ones and making a coherent album out of the last two years.”
RELATED VIDEO: Producer Ryan Tedder on Why Adele Is More ‘Ridiculous’ in the Studio Than Beyoncé
In April 2017, Tedder opened up about why OneRepublic took a four-month hiatus, explaining in a Facebook post that he was “on the verge of a mental breakdown” before their break.
“I looked at a calendar, realized I had been gone 200 days of 2016 and still had three more weeks of being gone… From my family, my wife, my kids, my friends, basically my life,” wrote Tedder, who has two sons with wife Genevieve: Copeland, 9, and Miles, 5. “I also realized that had been the last 10 years. At that moment I wanted to quit, and almost did.”
Since then, the band has released singles including “Wanted,” “Somebody to Love” and “Rescue Me.” As Tedder now explains, the change in wanting to release music with OneRepublic again came about at the end of last year.
“We did an Asia tour, and, once again, had insane fun,” he said. “At the end of it, we were in Hong Kong. I think it was October and I was like, ‘The end of the year is near — that’s almost two years since our last album. If we want an album out in the next year, we need to start thinking about this now.’ That kick-started it.”
Tedder said that writing for other artists also played a part in getting things going.
“We got back from Asia, and I started writing for other artists, and then I got roped in the Jonas Brothers thing,” said Tedder, who co-wrote the band’s hit “Sucker.” “Every session I had for two months, the artist I was with — if it was Jonas, if it was Five Seconds of Summer, Kygo, DJs, whatever — they would be like, ‘What is OneRepublic doing? Why are you guys not putting out more music? What are you doing? You guys, you have so many fans, you should be putting out more music.’ And it took about a week or two of that, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think they’re probably right.'”
“It’s intimidating because it’s like, well let’s go bear your soul again and be transparent and really say stuff that means something to you, that’s not you trying to write a hit,” he continued. “I know how difficult it is — the process. So it’s very intimidating to me to step into that again. That mindset is very intimidating. It’s easier for me to just write stuff for other people and be completely detached. But I think that’s what it was. It was writing for other people. It roped me into [saying], ‘We should be doing stuff.’ Which led to us doing ‘Rescue Me,’ which thankfully did really well. Now it’s leading to, well it’s time — if we’re doing a tour, we need an album … It’s been too freaking long.”
In the 12 years since their debut album, Dreaming Out Loud, things have changed significantly for Tedder and bandmates Brown, Zach Filkins, Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher and Brian Willett.
“The first three, four years, we’d have these moments where we would all be like, ‘Can you believe that this is working?'” Tedder said. “But you’re also operating under the possibility of it absolutely evaporating at any moment. So you’re just going a million miles an hour and staying up too late and definitely drinking too much, because you’re in your twenties and you’re partying, and you’re on tour and you’re just like, ‘This could end tomorrow.’ Then when it keeps going, you come full circle, and it shifts from ‘My God, this is amazing, this could end tomorrow’ to ‘My God, this is amazing. I really don’t want this to end. Please don’t end tomorrow. What can we do to not have this and how can we stay inspired? How can we keep writing about things that people resonate with?'”
Since the beginning, though, Tedder said the band has never sat down to write with the sole intention of writing a hit.
“There wasn’t ever a moment once where we sat down and said, ‘We need to write a hit today,'” he said. “It’s not how it works. Yet the backwards thing is that’s what drives the music industry. When you build a career on — I don’t want to say accidentally having big records, but we did, one after another for a decade. I don’t want to say we weren’t trying, but it wasn’t like a scientific approach. It really wasn’t.”
“We’re still that same group,” he added. “So now it’s like, okay, you have to have stuff to say when you’re constantly writing records. I work with older acts like U2, or Paul McCartney, and I’m going, ‘How do you still have stuff to say? How have you not said it all at this point?’ It’s impressive to me. If you’re not inspired by what you’re writing, there’s a hundred percent chance nobody else will be.”
During the “Share the Code. Hit the Road” concert event, OneRepublic performed their hits like “Apologize” and “If I Lose Myself,” along with hits Tedder wrote for other artists including Beyoncé’s “Halo” and Adele’s “Rumour Has It.” The concert was set up in the backyard of famed venue, Pappy & Harriet’s, which is just outside of Joshua Tree National Park.
Designed to showcase those who pick up others through acts of kindness, “Share the Code. Hit the Road” put the power of concert ticketing into fans’ hands through a custom code-sharing method. OneRepublic kicked off the campaign by sharing the first codes with a handful of fans who were selected for their inspiring acts of kindness through the band’s Good Life Foundation. Each of these fans redeemed their codes for concert tickets and received three additional codes to pay it forward to share with deserving people of their choosing. The codes were then dispersed across the country until the event hit capacity.
“We liked the randomness of it,” Tedder said. “If you’ve toured long enough in many random countries for 12 years, you start to get attracted immensely to the places you haven’t played, and anything that’s random and creative is way more attractive than like, ‘We want you to play this fill in the blank Midwest city for the ninth time.’ Because we’ve done it so many times.”
“This idea is just great, this is the good karma show,” he continued, and jokingly added, “You have to be paying it forward and putting out good karma in the world to get into this venue, or you die in the desert.”