Over GRAMMY weekend, OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder noted that the band’s third studio album, Native, was originally scheduled for a November 2012 release. When Tedder and his band mates stopped by the studio recently, he cited a couple reasons for the delay, including the influence of Swedish House Mafia on the record.
“It was just like overwhelming because I saw them at Coachella; they were the best performer that whole weekend,” Tedder told me. “Radiohead is one of my favorite bands of all time, but I gotta say like… Black Keys, Bon Iver, Kasabian… none of them held a torch in my opinion to the Swedish House Mafia set.”
Despite Tedder describing himself as “not a card-carrying electronic music fan,” the experienced directly inspired the single, “If I Lose Myself,” along with the general tempo of Native.
“We’re not going to all of the sudden; three years after the fact jump ship and be like, ‘Oh! This is popular now. Let’s go do this!’” he explained. “That’s lame. You’ve got a handful of bands who did jump ship and just went pure electronic… and we’re the furthest from that. And then you’ve have other acts who kind of batted around with electronic; tried to do like a “dance” record and it kind of missed the mark. So we were like, ‘Let’s do it. Let’s hit the nail on the head. And let’s capture that energy but still keep it sounding organic and like a band.’”
OneRepublic also decided to keep two tracks at the last minute – songs that Tedder almost gave away to other artists.
“We had a close call on this record. There was song that we were all really in love with,” revealed guitarist Drew Brown. “We went through a phase of feeling like it wasn’t going to fit with the rest of the continuity of the record. In the last hours of putting the record together there was a big ‘come-to-Jesus’ about like, ‘We absolutely can’t get rid of this song. We have to put it on the record.’”
The band called in Jeff Bhasker, who worked on the latest masterpieces for fun. and Kanye West, to finish the track. “Can’t Stop” made the album, due out March 26.
When Phillip Phillips was just nine years old, Max Harris was just beginning his tour of duty with the U.S. Armed Forces. The Allentown, PA native served as an Arabic Linguist. He remembers crossing in to Iraq on the first night of the war, and spending his last nine months working on counter insurgency.
In 2004, Harris received his discharge due to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, a condition that is becoming too common amongst U.S. veterans. PTSD can lead to everything from nightmares to suicidal thoughts. A 2008 study by the RAND Corporation placed the prevalence of the disorder among Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans at just under 14%. As knowledge and awareness of the disease rises, many believe that number increases as well.
When Harris was sent home, Phillips was 14 years old. He just started playing music. Sure he showed promise early on, but the Georgia native still had his sights set on high school, college, and working in between at his father’s pawn shop.
Phillips went on to win the 12th season of “American Idol,” release a single that has sold over three million copies, and drop an album that is on the verge of going platinum. But perhaps most importantly, the stories that Phillips shares through his music are now helping people cope with problems in all corners of the world. In Allentown, the Iraqi vet is thankful for Phillips’ new album The World From the Side of the Moon, specifically the next single, “Gone, Gone, Gone.”
“This past weekend I had some pretty horrible nightmares stemming from my service overseas,” explained Harris on “The Ralphie Show” via telephone while Phillips sat in studio and listened. “I really needed something to calm me down.”
Not able to sleep, Harris reached for his iPad and cued up the track.
“Something about the lyrics in that song… I heard things differently that time and it finally put me at peace,” he said. “I wanted to thank you Phillip for the amazing things that you’re doing. It’s been a long time since a story-teller has come along who really conveys that emotion in his music.”
Phillips, normally reserved and low-key, seemed to be at an even greater loss for words, yet was compelled by Harris’ story to respond.
“Yunno, music affects me in a lot of ways; it’s very therapeutic for me and then once you share it with people in the world you hear so many stories come out of it,” he said. “I respect you a lot Max for what you’ve done. You’re more of a man than I am.”
From hospital visits to family members making headlines, Phillips’ ride to success since “Idol” has been far from smooth. Yet moments like this help him to put things in perspective.
“It’s a little nerve wracking when you (share your music) because… that’s a big story,” said Phillips after we hung up with Harris. “I don’t know if you’ll ever overcome that because it’s always just so new.”
Ryan Lochte’s schedule these days is a little different than a year ago. The Olympic gold medalist is a guest at red carpet events, an actor on TV shows, and a spokesperson for a number of different brands. Plus, Lochte is currently filming a new reality show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” set to debut this June on E!. So, when it comes to training for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, what would Lochte do?
“You know what’s so unique about this reality TV show is that it’s following me, it’s doing whatever I do,” Lochte explained to me a few weeks ago on the green carpet of the Cartoon Network “Hall of Game Awards.” I’m pretty sure every reality show is filmed by simply following around the subject, but I didn’t interject. “My biggest relationship in my life is swimming… and my biggest goal is 2016 Olympics.”
Lochte said even when he travels, he seeks out a pool for training sessions, and that Saturday in Santa Monica was no different. Surprisingly, the swimmer said it took time to become acclimated with the cameras filming his every move.
“I was a little shy,” he admitted. “But now, I just go with the punches. I’m just rolling with it.”
We would expect nothing less.
Adam Levine turns 34 next month. Yes, it’s already on the Maroon 5 lead singer’s mind.
“I thought about that today, I was like ‘Sh*t, I’m gonna be 34 or 35, how old am I?’” Levine admitted during an interview with “The Ralphie Show.” “Still the right side of 30! Hanging on for another year.”
Almost two years have passed since the debut of NBC’s “The Voice.” With the TV show, Maroon 5’s recent success, and a new fragrance line, Levine is as busy as he’s ever been since the band launched in 2001.
“It’s just one of those things (where) you roll with the punches and kind of go with the flow,” said Levine of how he’s handling his new schedule. “You have to match the energy of the moment.”
That isn’t always easy for the singer.
“It’s not as tough when were on the road, actually,” Levine explained. “Once you’re on the road, you have a singular purpose: you want the show to be really great, and that’s your job. When you get home and you’re not on tour, then all of the other peripheral things start to kind of take over.”
The aforementioned new fragrance line is one of those peripheral things, and Adam has been flying coast-to-coast to promote the new product with Macy’s.
“It’s good to keep people guessing, right?” Levine responded when asked why he decided to launch a line of cologne and perfume. “I think that it hasn’t been done particularly well, so there’s a negative stigma attached to it.”
The singer is quick to point out that on Twitter, he didn’t do anything at first to help said stigma. But Levine then reasoned with a line of thought that Maroon 5 adopted on its last album, Overexposed.
“You can just hate something, which is one way of dealing with it, or you can take an opportunity that falls in to your lap, and use it to make something good,” he said. “I will not sit here and tell you that I don’t love to make money because I do love to make money. However, that’s not the only reason why I’m doing a lot of these things.”
Bassist Pete Wentz tells “The Ralphie Show” that Fall Out Boy’s fifth studio album, Save Rock and Roll, is completely recorded.
“I think if anything, we would have to worry about (the release date) getting pushed forward,” revealed Wentz of the current slated target of May 7. “I’ve heard that discussion, but I don’t know.”
Typically the only time an album release is pushed forward is if the lead single takes off on the charts and the LP will fall in front of some type of tour. Fall Out Boy will hit the road for 33 shows starting May 14. Right now, “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)” had a solid debut on the Billboard Hot 100, landing at 26. The video features rapper 2 Chainz in the role of an arsonist. I asked Wentz why he chose the hip hop artist.
“That’s exactly why,” replied Wentz, insinuating that the band simply wanted to get people asking questions, not exactly a foreign idea to FOB’s game plan. “Hopefully we’ll have something else down the road.”
That “something else” is a possible remix to “My Songs Know,” a collaboration that Wentz admitted he is holding his breath for.
Fall Out Boy fans were holding their breath that the band would return from its self-described hiatus to release new music and tour. While it seems everyone in the group agrees that the break was necessary, at least one member could have continued to play: drummer Andy Hurley.
“I think there was an oversaturation and I think people needed to decompress from years of touring and stuff,” Hurley noted.
“I mean, it ended up being a super healthy thing for all of us personally and for the band too,” Wentz added.
Jeff Probst understands that his survival as a daytime talk show host weighs on one factor: ratings.
“In daytime right now, the goal is you need to get renewed for a second year,” Probst stated. “That’s what we’re trying to accomplish now; convincing NBC and CBS to say, ‘Yeah, let’s do it another year.’”
The “Survivor” host feels confident with the product he’s put forth thus far.
“I love the show we put on,” he said of “The Jeff Probst Show.” “People have been very positive but the only thing that matters are ratings.”
Probst told me that the transition to daytime has been “a rollercoaster” at times but that he’s found his way, and is ready to bring on a co-host. He’s looking for a permanent seat holder, to offer a “Regis and Kathy” feel that he was comfortable with as a guest host.
Meanwhile, he’ll continue to fly solo as the anchor of “Survivor.” The reality show enters its 26th season tonight with “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites.”
“I did for years wonder, ‘Will we be back next year?’” admitted Probst, who notes that he’s now well-past that. “Now I realize, 13 years in, that it will come to an end at some point, but I don’t worry about when that is now.”
Probst credits that with the show’s “incredibly loyal audience” – because after all, in the end it boils down to ratings.
“The Package Tour” has created quite a buzz throughout the country. New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, and Boyz II Men join forces for a tour that was originally scheduled for a little over 30 dates this summer. But the demand for tickets has been overwhelming, causing second shows to be added in some cities and brand new venues to be attached to the itinerary.
Naturally – the media has had a little fun with the tour name and its popularity. Such headlines as “New Kids on the Block’s Tour Is Now a Bigger ‘Package’” have been popping up, no pun intended, across the Internet. NKOTB’s Joey McIntyre is cool with that; after all, he thought of the title.
“We were having a conference call, and they were like, ‘Once we put the package together…’ and I said, ‘Let’s call it ‘The Package,’” McIntyre told me in Los Angeles. “It has all the proper rock and roll innuendo so it’s perfect.”
The roots of this lineup date back to the last North American tour that NKOTB performed on with Backstreet Boys. During a stop in Orlando, Boyz II Men joined the bands on stage for a surprise cameo.
“The place went ballistic,” McIntyre recalled. “When you see it and you witness it, you’re like, ‘We gotta do this again.’”
The boys from Boston would then link up with 98 Degrees at the Summer Mix Tape Fest in Hershey, PA this past summer. Added dates to the tour include Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, second dates in Uncasville, CT and Beantown, and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder sat in his seat inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Sunday just like any other spectator, watching Beyoncé perform during the Halftime Show. The singer/songwriter was 24 hours away from finishing the vocal recordings on the band’s third studio album, Native. Then, Beyoncé turned on to the final lap of her critically-acclaimed performance.
“She ended it with ‘Halo,’” recalled Tedder. “It was just completely shocking.”
Yes, the lead singer had no idea that the superstar songstress would end her set with a track that he composed.
“That was the best feeling,” he said. “What’s funny is, five seconds after it happened, I got a text from Max Martin.”
Tedder dubs Martin, “the greatest living songwriter/producer in the world,” and you’d be tough-pressed to argue against that title with a look at the Billboard charts over the past 15 years.
“I got a text from him saying, ‘Congrats on ‘Halo,’’” continued the singer. “This moment just got better, I’m sitting here watching this, and now Max Martin texted me.”
The next day, Tedder recorded the final pieces of Native. Now that the master is turned in (he beat the deadline by 10 minutes), fans of OneRepublic have an official, and final, release date of March 26.
“It was originally November,” said Tedder of the first target release date for the LP. “To be dead honest, we couldn’t finish the songs in time.”
The band now shifts in to promo-mode for the album, but not before a trip to Dubai this week. The band will also hit Europe before touring in the States this summer.