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Exclusive: Hear OneRepublic Side Project Monarch's Epic 'Stay'

 Trever Hoehne

Bands are a conglomeration of talents, but usually a lead singer or lead guitarist serves as a group's de facto leader, since true democracy is difficult to achieve in practice. Take the band OneRepublic, where frontman (and hit-writer for superstars on the side) Ryan Tedder plays commander in chief.

But that hardly means he's the only one with ideas: Today Billboard is premiering "Stay," a new song from the band Monarch, which contains OneRepublic's Brent Kutzle. Listen below.

Monarch is a four piece -- along with Kutzle, Brian Willet, Joel Plotnik and Brennan Strawn round out the lineup. Willet tells Billboard that Monarch allows him to explore different "depth and textures." Kutzle adds, "We're inspired by film soundtracks and vast soundscapes."

This makes sense when you listen to "Stay," which grows and builds around a gleaming, impregnable synth-riff -- it's ready to soundtrack a glorious sunset or an interplanetary invasion. The chorus is one massive plea: Strawn sings, "If you would just stay," and drags out the title word, beat after beat, as if his ability to hold that note will determine whether or not this person leaves. (Something about the word "stay" makes vocalists want to sing it in the highest notes possible -- listen to the background vocals on Taylor Swift's "All You Had to Do Was Stay.")

"Stay" will appear on Monarch's debut EP, Apollo. Look for that early in 2015, and expect the band to announce some live dates soon.