Some things are worth waiting for – and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder promises the newly released album Oh My My is one of them. “The tracks feel different than anything that’s on the radio, but it feels like OneRepublic,” says the star of his band’s new LP, their first in three years. “It feels like us...at our best!”
Fans will forgive Ryan, 37, for the delay. After all, he’s been busy. In addition to penning hits for top artists – including Adele, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift (whose 1989 album features his work) – he and his wife of nine years, Genevieve, welcomed their second son, Miles, now 2. They’re also parents to six-year-old Copeland, who was the inspiration behind OneRepublic’s 2013 hit “I Lived.”
As Ryan and his band get back into the spotlight, the Oklahoma native speaks to us about his latest project and how having kids contributes to his music. “I think every album at this point will have at least one song that’s for them,” he says.
How has being a dad affected your career? I think that, once you have kids, it reflects what you write bout. It doesn’t mean that every song has to be some super-sappy song for my kids, but it makes you hope that you are doing the kind of music that [when they’re older] they’re not embarrassed [by].
Have your sons inherited your love of music? Copeland will sit in the back seat and sing songs on the radio. He has a very specific opinion about music, so some songs will come on the radio and he asks me to change the station.
Not when it comes to OneRepublic, though? No, he knows my voice. Sometimes songs will come on and he’ll ask if I wrote them if he thinks they sound like me, so he knows.
Who has been your favourite artist to work with? My favourite solo artist is Adele. [She has an] awe-inspiring voice, a wicked sense of humour and is shockingly down-to-earth. [In terms of bands]: U2. Inspiring would be an understatement.
How did Peter Gabriel come to collaborate with you on the album? I pursued him heavily until he agreed. [Laughs] He was one of my favourite artists growing up. He’s an icon!
If you could go back and talk to early 2000’s Ryan, what advice would you give him knowing what you know now? I would say eat healthier, drink less and spend more quality time with your family when you have it. And that annoying new thing called social media that’s starting to blow up, just embrace it and lead it instead of following it.
Was it important to record this album around the world? It was about necessity. We’d been on tour for two years and I was like, “If we’re going to have an album at any point, I have to be writing now.” So I wrote in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto ...
Did local music influence the end result? Yeah! One of the songs we did in Spain, and you can hear flamenco dancers stomping and clapping. The songs we did in California have a more California feel. And we did a big chunk of “Wherever I Go” in Toronto. So maybe you’ll hear a little bit of The Weeknd and Drake in that song!