“It’s been a long time coming,” croons OneRepublic  frontman Ryan Tedder as I write this. Today, on the band’s latest single, Feel Again, his words ring especially true as it’s confirmed that the US band are finally making their way to Dubai some five years and five months after breaking out with Apologise on September 17, 2007. Not that we’ve been keeping track, or anything.
The band will perform on February 14, the opening night of the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival at Festival City Park,  joining previously announced artists Deep Purple and 3 Doors Down. They’ll be touring a brand new album, Native, their first since 2009.
“We are bringing One Republic because they are huge and have lots of followers in the UAE, ” said Anthony Younes, CEO of Chillout Productions, the organiser of the event. “The new album is one of the many reasons, but it is mainly because they have established themselves and have nice music in different genres.”
Rock bands at a jazz music festival — confused?
“If you’ve followed the festival’s history over the years, we’ve always included bands from diverse genres from pop to rock to R’n’B. This is to attract crowds as jazz does not really sell,” Younes said. “However the opening acts will include jazz musicians in order to expose the crowd to this genre of music.”
The band’s repertoire is diverse, with the band having performed covers of everything from The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony, Duffy’s Mercy, Ben E. King’s Stand By Me and Christmas classic Oh Holy Night during live performances. Tedder has admitted the band like to mix it up. “We’re no respecter of genre. If its a good song or a good artist whether rock, pop, indie or hip hop, they’ve probably influenced us on some level ... nothing’s new under the sun, we’re a sum of a bunch of parts.”
There will hopefully be some brand new material on the setlist, as the band play in Dubai a month after the release of Native, their latest album, which is due for release at the end of the year. It comes after a long hiatus — the band’s last album, Waking Up, was released in 2009. The song Feel Again, released on August 27, has been announced as the lead single and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of that track was donated to Save the Children’s Every Beat Matters.
The band from Colorado had very early beginnings. In 1996 Tedder and guitarist Zach Filkins turned their friendship into a band during their senior year at Colorado Springs Christian High School. High school ended and the two sought greener pastures elsewhere before being reunited in 2002 in the City of Angels, Los Angeles. There they signed with Columbia Records and OneRepublic was formed with Eddie Fisher on drums, Brent Kutzle on bass and cello and Drew Brown on lead guitar completing the group.
Two and half years of work into their debut album and two months before the album was due to be released, Columbia Records dropped the band. They then signed with Timbaland’s Mosley Music Group. Apologise, the first single, which featured Timbaland, reached dizzying heights, becoming number one in 16 countries. It might be too late to apologise, but it’s never too late for OneRepublic to hit Dubai.
By Yusra Farzan