The group Fleetwood Mac will be honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year on Friday night in what has become a tentpole event on Grammy week. And it’s no wonder: an all-star tribute concert is planned which includes performances by Keith Urban, Lorde, Haim, Harry Styles, John Legend, Imagine Dragons and OneRepublic, among others.
“It was an honor that we are even on the radar of Fleetwood Mac,” OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder tells Variety. “I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, as presumably one out of every two people did. This is just as cool as it gets really.”
“You definitely want to do them right,” adds Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds, who first became inspired by the legendary band — whose members include Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie — early on in his career. In fact, the song “Emma” off of Imagine Dragon’s EP “Hell and Silence,” was produced by Richard Dashut, who also collaborated with Fleetwood Mac on several albums, including “Rumours” and “Tusk.”
Says Reynolds: “He shared so many beautiful stories when we were in the studio working on that song about Fleetwood Mac, working on ‘Rumours’ and how it was so important to be organic and in-sync with each other as musicians when in the studio.”
Tedder lists “The Chain” and “Go Your Own Way” as some of his favorite Fleetwood Mac songs and that the broader Mac canon served as the “soundtrack” to his childhood. “‘Little Lies’ was so late in the game behind all their other records, and when I was a little kid that song was a smash,” says Tedder. “I remember driving around in my school bus and singing the crap out of that song.”
Fleetwood Mac’s sound and recording style has also influenced the way Reynolds approaches his songwriting. “Whenever I listen to [their music], I feel like they’re sitting next to you and you know them,” Reynolds says. “As a songwriter, it is always my goal to write in a very personal way and to express our music in a way that feels like you know the person after hearing that song.”
Tedder has not only produced and written hits for his own band, but for other artists as well, including Beyoncé, Adele and Taylor Swift, and his contributions to Adele’s “21” and “25” and Taylor Swift’s “1989” earned him Grammy awards. Like Reynolds, Tedder also says Fleetwood Mac’s music has impacted his writing and production style.
“Fleetwood Mac inspires you to not sound like anybody else ever because they never did,” Tedder adds.
As for the support for MusiCares, Tedder cracks that being a successful recording artist demands a “severe degree of narcissism to a certain point,” and musicians need to take the time to give back. “Most of us make way too much money for writing and messing around and playing songs,” he says. “The very least we could do is raise awareness and give money back ourselves and to spend our time to raise money for things that matter that aren’t just completely selfish.”
Reynolds concurs. “I think we are a very selfish community, quite honestly, because it’s so self-focused,” he says. “So it’s really good always for musicians and artists to look outward and to give back.”
Aside from MusiCares, Reynolds and his fellow band members are heavily involved in philanthropic projects. Imagine Dragons founded the Tyler Robinson Foundation after a close friend passed away from cancer. Reynolds saysthe band has raised over $1 million dollars in the last two years for families of children diagnosed with cancer.
He also founded the Loveloud Foundation, whose goal is “to create dialogue and spark and ignite a conversation about what we can do in religious communities to change this shaming specifically with our LGBT youth.” An annual music festival is held in Utah to spread awareness about the foundation.
The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute concert takes place at Radio City Music Hall on Jan. 26.