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Oklahoma Native Ryan Tedder Hopes Tornado Benefit Concert Raises Awareness
OneRepublic frontman proposes a cellar fund to encourage construction of more underground shelters in Tornado Alley: "This is a turning point," he says
Native Oklahoman Ryan Tedder has returned home to participate in tonight's Healing in the Heartland benefit concert that NBC will air beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
Tedder will perform the new OneRepublic single "Counting Stars" and likely duet with concert organizer Blake Shelton on an older OneRepublic song. While Tedder hopes the concert "raises tens of millions of dollars," the concert has the chance to be informational as well.
"More attention needs to go on the need for building shelters," Tedder told Billboard, speaking while onstage at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. "It doesn't matter where you live, a lot of places have never had basements or cellars. I'm hoping there is a way to have a cellar fund – they're only about two grand apiece – and they'll save your life.
"This is a turning point," Tedder says, noting that he saw several tornados touch down while he was a child and made it through a storm that saw 16 twisters land within 45 minutes in the mid-1990s.
Tedder had been scheduled to shoot an episode of "Ellen" today and after the concert was announced, he flew to Oklahoma with plans to return on Thursday to do the taping. When he arrived in Oklahoma, he offered to do an older OneRepublic song, but they asked him to do something new.
"We've been setting it up for three weeks," he says of "Counting Stars," which came out this week, "and I'm glad because it's my favorite song on the new album ("Native").
Tedder says the band will write a check for the relief efforts through their Good Life Foundation. They donated $100,000 to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund after the shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill are among the performers at Healing in the Heartland that will air on NBC and the cable networks Style, G4, Bravo, E! and CMT. It will also be available on NBCNews.com and on the NBC News Xbox app.