"We'll probably introduce a song or two from stuff we're working on for the next album," Ryan Tedder says of tour plans. "We're trying to raise the bar"
When OneRepublic announced an early summer 2014 tour behind last year's "Native," neither the band nor the promoters expected the influx of ticket sales the 16-date tour moved -- selling out in some large markets -- eventually prompting a tour extension through August.
But that's what having the No. 2 song in the country will do to a band. Fresh off the success of "Counting Stars," the Colorado rockers' highest-charting song in six years, the band knew it had to capitalize, prompting the addition of 27 new dates to its "Native" summer tour, announced earlier this week.
"We always knew we were going to go out again in the summer, we just didn't know in what capacity or how big or whatever," frontman Ryan Tedder told Billboard. "To test the waters, we picked mostly the major markets for the June tour, and it blew out so quickly in so many of the cities that... we were just kind of stupefied.
"It's always been a slow-growth process with this band; everything about this band is the tortoise. We're not the hare. We've always been the tortoise. That's what this tour is."
That mentality extends to "Counting Stars," the third single from "Native." Officially released in June, the song slowly rose up the charts, eventually peaking at No. 2 late last year on the Hot 100 while hitting No. 1 on the Pop Songs and Adult Top 40 charts monitoring airplay.
The song's current peak means the band has finally equaled the chart success of "Apologize," its debut single. The song was released in 2007 and benefited from a high-profile remixing job from Timbaland. Though OneRepublic has had its share of formidable hits since, including another top 10 hit in 2010 with "Good Life," no longer can one say that, chart-wise, the band peaked early.
"It's always been a building experience for us -- like I said, we are the tortoise, we're the kid in the back of the classroom that doesn't really talk a lot and by the end of the school year might just end up being the valedictorian," Tedder explained. "It's incredibly gratifying because... it's our song. It's not remixed by some other person. There's nothing sonically about the song that isn't true to the band. That's the most critical thing about that song. It is where we are right now, without any filters or additives. That's what makes it so cool for us."
For much of the tour, the band will be joined by both The Script and American Authors, two acts that, like OneRepublic, have found success on the adult pop side of airplay.
"Between American Authors, the Script and OneRepublic, what we've discovered in the last few years is we have -- intentionally or unintentionally -- become the theme song to so many moments in peoples' lives over the last six or seven years," Tedder said. "The combination of The Script's hit songs, American Authors are new but they have a huge record ("Best Day of My Life"), and us -- it's basically like a lot of theme songs to a lot of peoples' lives"
The band embarked on a summer tour last year, just as "Native" was hitting shelves. What incentive do folks separate from the diehards have to purchase tickets if they came out in 2013? The potential to hear new music, of course.
"We're introducing new songs, we're mixing up the set list," he noted. "We'll probably introduce a song or two from stuff we're working on for the next album. We're trying to raise the bar. We're reinvesting our money into making the show even better. The package overall I think is better and our set is going to be different. And the thing is, in the last 12 months all of us have gotten monumentally more handsome, so the five of us are a lot better looking than we were last summer, so Americans have that to look forward to."
That new music may be a long way off in recorded form; though Tedder said he has some ideas for the next album, actual recording won't likely occur until the band's September tour in Europe, where it's booked time at multiple studios. "The goal is, by the time we get off the road, that we already have half an album in the bag and already know what the singles are going to be, which is very ambitious but I'd prefer to do that rather than go into panic mode in 2015 and not know what the hell we're doing. We've gotten pretty adept at writing on the road."
Aside from that, there's the band's upcoming "CMT Crossroads" set, which Tedder and the band were recording at the time with Dierks Bentley, with a premiere in mid-March. The collaboration may have provided Tedder with some new material; he said he and Bentley have talked about teaming up with Alison Krauss on music down the road.
Check out a full list of tour dates below.
May 28 - Denver, Colo. (Red Rocks Amphitheatre)
May 29 - Denver, Colo. (Red Rocks Amphitheatre)
May 31 - Albuquerque, N.M. (Islete Amphitheatre)
June 1 - Phoenix, Ariz. (Ak-Chin Pavilion)
June 2 - San Diego, Calif. (Sleep Train Amphitheatre)
June 3 - Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
June 5 - Los Angeles, Calif. (Hollywood Bowl)
June 6 - Mountain View, Calif. (Shoreline Amphitheatre)
June 7 - Concord, Calif. (Concord Pavilion)
June 8 - Sacramento, Calif. (Sleep Train Amphitheater)
June 10 - Portland, Ore. (Sleep Country Amphitheater)
June 12 - Seattle, Wash. (Comcast Arena)
June 13 - Boise, Idaho (Taco Bell Arena)
June 14 - Salt Lake City, Utah (USANA Amphitheatre)
June 17 - Minneapolis, Minn. (Target Center)
June 18 - Chicago, Ill. (Revinia Festival)
June 19 - Chicago, Ill. (Revinia Festival)
June 21 - Detroit, Mich. (DTE Music Energy Theatre)
June 22 - Toronto, Ontario (Molson Canadian Amphitheatre)
June 24 - Boston, Mass. (Blue Hills Bank Pavilion)
June 25 - Boston, Mass. (Blue Hills Bank Pavilion)
June 27 - Bristow, Va. (Jiffy Lube Live)
June 28 - Camden, N.J. (Susquehanna Bank Center)
June 29 - Wantagh, N.Y. (Nikon at Jones Beach Theater)
July 30 - Omaha, Neb. (CenturyLink Center)
Aug. 1 - Kansas City, Mo. (Starlight Theatre)
Aug. 2 - St. Louis, Mo. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)
Aug. 3 - Indianapolis, Ind. (Klipsch Music Center)
Aug. 5 - Cincinnati, Ohio (Riverbend Music Center)
Aug. 6 - Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Blossom Music Center)
Aug. 8 - Pittsburgh, Pa. (First Niagara Pavilion)
Aug. 9 - Darien Lake, N.Y. (Darien Lake Performing Arts Center)
Aug. 10 - Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)
Aug. 12 - Virginia Beach, Va. (Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach)
Aug. 13 - Raleigh, N.C. (Walnut Creek Amphitheatre)
Aug. 14 - Charlotte, N.C. (PNC Music Pavilion)
Aug. 16 - Tampa Bay, Fla. (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre)
Aug. 17 - West Palm Beach, Fla. (Cruzan Amphitheatre)
Aug. 19 - Atlanta, Ga. (Chastain Park Amphitheatre)
Aug. 21 - New Orleans, La. (UNO Lakefront Arena)
Aug. 22 - Houston, Texas (Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion)
Aug. 23 - Austin, Texas (Austin360 Amphitheatre)
Aug. 25 - San Antonio, Texas (Freeman Coliseum)
Aug. 26 - Dallas, Texas (Gexa Energy Pavilion)
Aug. 28 - Tulsa, Okla. (BOK Center)