Initially turned off by the Twitter phenomenon, O.A.R. frontman Marc Roberge tells Billboard.com his island-vibe roots-rock act is embracing the new social media website for a first-of-its-kind Tweet songwriting contest that will result in a new song being released exclusively via iTunes in October.
"I really kind of got into it with the first idea, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could just kind of get together with the people and hear what they have to say lyrically?'" Roberge says. "And then I thought further about it and said, 'If I collected all of these lyrics from these people and wrote music inspired by it, it's truly like an original idea.'
"I do a lot of co-writing, I like to meet up with songwriters in New York City but I guarantee you there are kids out there living in Kansas City who don't necessarily have the opportunity to get their lyrics out there. So it's a pretty original idea and a cool way to get together and be inspired by people that keep in touch with us."
Beginning today (June 9) through July 7, fans can submit their lyrics, 140 characters at a time, to O.A.R.'s page at twitter.com/ofarevolution. The band will then pick three winning verses, a chorus, and a bridge that will make up the lyrics of the song. Roberge said in a perfect world, all five songwriting parts will come from different submissions. At that point, the winning song lyrics will be posted for fans to once again get involved by submitting potential song titles.
"We're going to put up video footage throughout our summer tour (on Twitter) so people can follow along and see the (songwriting) process," Roberge says. "What I wanted to do is keep it as close to realistic as possible. When we get the lyrics and the title together, then we'll really show where we cut drums or write the hooks, or whatever we're doing we'll be filming it and putting it up there.
"So everyday there will be a new update on what we did with this song and how close are we to recording it. We just want to make it really interactive." Proceeds from the sale of the new single will be donated to the band's Heard the World Fund, which provides resources for under-funded educational and youth-oriented programs.
The singer-guitarist says the band is also looking ahead to the follow-up release of its 2008 effort "All Sides." In fact, the outfit has been working on new material, including the jam-friendly, saxophone-fueled "What in the World?," which could see stage time on its current "This Town Summer Tour" within the next week. O.A.R. is scheduled to play tomorrow (June 10) in St. Louis, Mo. There's also talk of a new concert CD being recorded this year.
"We'll be recording a live record here shortly before the next studio record," Roberge says. "We just haven't really nailed down where we're going to be recording it yet, but the fans can definitely look forward to seeing a live record before the next studio record."
He adds, "I'd absolutely love to have it out by the holidays."