If you go
• What: OneRepublic, in concert with The Script.
• When: 7 p.m. June 10.
• Where: Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield.
• Cost: $28 to $86.80.
• Information: 360-816-7000 or sleepcountryamphitheater.com.
Fans who see OneRepublic this summer can expect a concert experience that’s considerably bigger and bolder than the group’s earlier shows.
With its 2013 release “Native” (the group’s third studio album) having given the group a multi-format No. 1 pop single in “Counting Stars” and a second single, “Feel Again,” which went top-10 on “Billboard” magazine’s Adult Top 40 chart, OneRepublic was ready to bring a show that matched the large venues it can now headline.
“We’ve played so many shows where it was just us onstage and a few lights and maybe a backdrop. We got really tired of that,” guitarist Zach Filkins said in a phone interview. “We decided to spend all of our money and then some to bring out lights and video screens, different things like that to kind of introduce while the show progresses.”
Another thing that figures to be different about OneRepublic’s concerts is the energy level of the music.
The first two OneRepublic albums, “Dreaming Out Loud” (2007) and “Waking Up” (2009) were weighted toward ballads and mid-tempo material. “Native” includes a few such songs (“What You Wanted” and “Au Revoir”), but it’s more defined by its peppier tunes like “Counting Stars,” “Feel Again” and “Light It Up.”
The more up-tempo character of “Native,” which was recently re-released in a deluxe “repack” edition, didn’t happen by accident. The group just naturally likes to change up its music, Filkins said, but there was another reason for kicking up the tempos.
“Looking back on the songs that we had and how our live shows were, I think we were kind of struck by the fact that we were lacking in a little bit more up-tempo (material),” he said.
In whatever musical setting OneRepublic has pursued, the group has obviously done well at connecting with pop radio and its fans. This makes sense considering the band is fronted by Ryan Tedder, who in addition to his role as lead songwriter in OneRepublic, has become one of music’s most in-demand writer/producers for other artists.
His résumé reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the Top 40 charts over the past half-decade. He’s written or co-written hit songs for Adele (“Rumour Has It”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”), Beyoncé (“Halo”), Jennifer Lopez (“Do It Well”), Kelly Clarkson (“Already Gone”), Big Time Rush (“Music Sounds Better With U”) and Gavin DeGraw (“Not Over You”), to name a few.
The connection between Tedder and Filkins, though, pre-dates Tedder’s time as a pop hitmaker. The two met in 1996 while students at Colorado Springs Christian High School, and after both had gone to college, they decided in 2003 to move to Loa Angeles and form OneRepublic.
The pair started writing songs and soon got signed by Columbia Records. That’s when things took a turn for the worse. After working on a debut album targeted for release in summer 2006, the label dropped OneRepublic.
Filkins said at that point the group, which had settled into a lineup that also included bassist Brent Kutzle, guitarist/keyboardist Drew Brown and drummer Eddie Fisher, thought its career might be over before it really started.
But then the group decided to start posting songs on a MySpace website, and quickly, the band’s music started generating hits.
“MySpace gave us our last chance,” Filkins said. “I don’t think any of us really had it in us to keep trying over and over again. MySpace was really the last-ditch effort to make something of it. And right when we were at our lowest, MySpace reacting was the only positive thing within the context of OneRepublic.”
The plays on MySpace kept on coming as the band promoted itself on the website, eventually topping 20 million. That drew the interest of several labels, including Mosely Music Group, the imprint owned by Timbaland.
The hip-hop star particularly like the song “Apologize.” Timbaland remixed it, released it as a single off of his “Aftershock” album and watched “Apologize” (which was also featured on OneRepublic’s “Dreaming Out Loud” album) go to number one at adult pop radio.
Things have been rolling ever since, both for OneRepublic and for Tedder’s own career as a songwriter/producer.
With “Native,” OneRepublic continued to craft songs with big, melodic choruses and smooth and soulful vocals (from Tedder) that will be familiar to fans of the first two albums. But in addition to writing more uptempo tunes, the group also shifted its sound away from guitars, using more strings, synthesizers and additional vocals to create a bit different instrumental sound.
The new instrumental mix, though, created a challenge in re-creating the songs live, so OneRepublic has brought on a touring keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, which Filkins said now allows the group to make songs from “Native” (as well as the first two CDs) translate well to the concert stage.
“There’s a depth to the third album and a maturity that I really appreciate about it,” Filkins said. “In conjunction with some of the production and lighting that we’re doing, I think the songs are definitely working really well.”