‘Connection’ is the first single to be taken from OneRepublic’s forthcoming fifth studio album. Following the release of their fourth album Oh My My back in 2016, Ryan shared a candid open letter with fans which revealed that being on a constant album-tour cycle for ten years drove him to such extreme physical and mental exhaustion that he almost quit music for good. Since then, the band have focused on releasing standalone tracks including ‘No Vacancy’, ‘Truth To Power’, ‘Rich Love’ featuring Seeb, and most recently ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic.
Speaking about his anxiety and physical exhaustion, Ryan told Zane Lowe on Beats 1: “Yeah, so from the last album, we went on a promo tour from hell and I ended up pulling the plug on the whole album. We literally released the album and a month later I called the label and I said I can’t promote this album. I’m going to die. I had to get on anti anxiety medicine, I wasn’t sleeping, I was having panic attacks and shaking and I’d been gone like 250 days of the year and we hadn’t even toured. It was just promo. Then we’d pick up random gigs. It was nuts”.
“So long story short, for the first time in 10 years, just pump the brakes and said that’s it. I went and sat with my label said guys, don’t hate me I can’t I can’t promote this album. I just can’t do it. And it was the most eclectic and my favorite body of work that we had done. And we were coming off the biggest album of our career so it was a very unexpected decision but it saved my sanity it probably saved my marriage it saved my life, honestly.”
“Last year we chilled I worked on other people’s projects and then towards the end of ’17, I looked at the calendar like oh my god, we need to put new music out. It’s time to go. We have so with ‘Connection’ basically the whole idea was, and a lot of what this album is about, is human connection. Trying to find authenticity and authentic connection. This is kind of one of like four or five that we honestly couldn’t decide what to put out first, in the history of OneRepublic, the biggest single is never the first thing we released — it’s usually the second or the third. So all things being equal we kind of said, ‘Ok, well… [this sounds] like a summer record. Let’s put it out and then two months later, let’s put out another one.”
Ryan revealed that he hopes that the album will be ready for release this year. He said: “If we had to compile an album this week, we could do it. But I’m kind of insatiable, so I will be writing up until probably September but the dream would be to have an album out this side of the year.”
Whilst it is yet undecided if ‘Start Again’ featuring Logic will make the cut for the new record, Ryan spoke about some potential album collaborations. “I’ve been pestering [Paul] McCartney. That would be a good one. You know, it’s a good question. There’s a handful of people that I’m really into that I’ve been talking with about collaborating lately. Mark Foster from Foster the People’s. Saint John, who I’m a big fan of. THEY., who I’m a big fan of. I mean there’s a lot.”
“The person who I definitely would do something with is Tierra Whack. So yeah I would say there will be some collaborations and I have some new artists as well that I’m ecstatic about. So I will I will squeeze somebody in there for sure.”
We can also expect to see OneRepublic on the road in support of their new record. Ryan said: “Yes, we will tour this record. We did the Honda Civic Tour last summer. But then we didn’t really do anything else. We will do Europe. we will do Australia, we will do the whole nine, worldwide.”
“We plan on, once I get this train up and moving with this album I have no intention of stopping it any time in the near future. Meaning, it will be single, then another single, then another single, then another single. We’re just going to keep it moving because we’ve had a good year and a half to chill and I’m gassed up. I’m ready to go.”