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OneRepublic stepping up their game for the fans

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
LeAnn Mueller
One Republic

Fans planning to see OneRepublic on Aug. 8 at First Niagara Pavilion in Burgettstown can expect an experience that's considerably bigger and bolder than the group's earlier shows.

Thanks to its multi-format No. 1 pop single “Counting Stars” and Top 40 track “Feel Again,” OneRepublic is ready to bring a show that matches the large venues it now headlines.

“We've played so many shows where it was just us onstage and a few lights and maybe a backdrop. We got really tired of that,” guitarist Zach Filkins says. “We decided to spend all of our money, and then some, to bring out lights and video screens, different things like that to kind of introduce while the show progresses.”

Another thing that figures to be different about OneRepublic's concerts is the energy level.

The first two OneRepublic albums, “Dreaming Out Loud” (2007) and “Waking Up” (2009) were weighted toward ballads and mid-tempo material.

For its third album, “Native,” released in 2013, Filkins says OneRepublic wanted a more-uptempo song set. “I think we were kind of struck by the fact that we were lacking in a little bit more uptempo (material),” he says.

Whatever the tempo, OneRepublic has done well at connecting with pop radio and its fans. It makes sense, considering the band is fronted by Ryan Tedder, who has become one of industry's most in-demand writer-producers.

His resumé reads like a who's who of the Top 40 charts over the past half-decade. He's written or co-written hits for Adele (“Rumour Has It”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”), Beyonce (“Halo”), Jennifer Lopez (“Do It Well”), Kelly Clarkson (“Already Gone”), Big Time Rush (“Music Sounds Better With U”) and Gavin DeGraw (“Not Over You”).

Tedder and Filkins met in 1996 while students at Colorado Springs Christian High School. After college, in 2003, the pair moved to Los Angeles and formed OneRepublic.

They started writing songs and soon were signed to Columbia Records. However, after working on a debut album set for release in summer 2006, the label dropped OneRepublic.

Filkins says the group, whose lineup included bassist Brent Kutzle, guitarist-keyboardist Drew Brown and drummer Eddie Fisher, thought its career might be over before it began.

But the group decided to start posting songs on its MySpace profile.

“MySpace gave us our last chance,” Filkins says. “I don't think any of us really had it in us to keep trying over and over again. MySpace was really the last-ditch effort to make something of it.”

Eventually, the plays on MySpace topped 20 million. That drew the interest of several labels, including Mosely Music Group, the imprint owned by Timbaland. The hip-hop star particularly liked the band's song “Apologize.”

Timbaland remixed it, released it as a single off of his “Aftershock” album and watched “Apologize” (which was also featured on OneRepublic's “Dreaming Out Loud” album) go to No. 1 at adult-pop radio.

Things have been rolling ever since — for OneRepublic and for Tedder's career as a songwriter-producer.

“There's a depth to the third album and a maturity that I really appreciate about it,” Filkins says. “In conjunction with some of the production and lighting that we're doing, I think the songs are definitely working really well.”

Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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