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Ryan Tedder had a problem: While he loved the effects of CBD, he hated how it tasted. The OneRepublic frontman "was taking a dropper" of CBD oil "and then chugging something afterwards" to mask the taste.
"I loved how it made me feel. I did not like the process of traveling with [a] tincture. I didn't like the flavor. I don't like olive oil — raw olive oil mixed with lemon whatever the hell you have to do to mask the flavor," Tedder said during a recent interview with In The Know's Gibson Johns. "I [just] don't like the taste of CBD. Some love it. I don't like it."
His conundrum called to mind a popular product that made another category of supplements more palatable: Flintstones Vitamins.
"Raw vitamin C is bitter and nasty, and you don't want to eat it," Tedder explained. "Years ago, some genius pharmacist or pharma company was like, 'Why don't we take something nasty and make it taste good?' Shock. Surprise. It's a very simple idea."
The wheels in Tedder's head soon started to turn when he realized that a similar solution must be out there for CBD.
"I was like, 'Man, I wish there was a much easier vehicle to get the 80 to 100 milligrams of CBD a day that I should be taking and that I want to take,'" he recalled thinking. "I went, 'Well, what about gummies?' OK, well, you could do gummies, but that's not really fun. And then the marking side of my brain kicked in."
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The "Songland" star realized that there was an opening in the market for non-alcoholic CBD beverages and that he could tie in his mastery of the music industry, live performance and music festivals to create something fresh and exciting.
"I'm seeing people coming in and out of Alfred's with CBD in their coffee, and seeing the occasional CBD beverage, like VYBES, which is a great company and a great product, but I didn't want to deal with glass bottles. I didn't want to deal with breakage," Tedder said of his decision to post-up at the West Hollywood coffee shop, which is a popular destination for celebrities. "I was thinking from a musical standpoint [that] I wanted to focus on the festival crowd. I wanted an alternative to alcohol that didn't get you high but that made you feel that nice cool kind of mellow buzzy feeling that CBD can make you feel. And it helps you focus. It calms your anxiety. It's a mood regulator."
This where the idea for Mad Tasty was born, Tedder said. The line, which he founded, features all-natural, low-calorie beverages with 20mg of pure broad-spectrum hemp extract in every can, which come in visually appealing, street art-inspired designs.
"I wanted it packaged in a way that was fun, and quickly digestible, and also had beyond a health benefit, a social benefit," Tedder went on. "I own a bunch of Keith Harings and Basquiats and different street artists that I'm obsessed with, so the can was a nod to the street artist of the '80s. We didn't copy any of his paintings. But we wanted to do a nod to that kind of loose graphic art."
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The singer-songwriter first unveiled Mad Tasty during an Interscope party at Coachella last year and, one year later, the brand is releasing its third flavor profile: Unicorn Tears joins grapefruit and watermelon kiwi, Mad Tasty's other two offerings.
And what does Unicorn Tears mean, exactly? Well, Tedder wouldn't tell us, but he did share the Airheads-inspired story behind his latest launch.
"When it came time to [decide], 'What's going to be our third flavor?' [it was like], 'Well, we have black cherry, we have tangerine, we have a bunch of other flavors,'" Tedder said. "I was like, 'You know what my favorite candy was when I was a kid? Airheads. But it wasn't the normal flavors. I like the mystery flavor.'"
You remember the Airheads mystery flavor: It was the one with the white wrapper that dared kids to guess what it tasted like. Turns out, it was a huge hit.
"I did a little digging, talked to some people and found out that the mystery flavor was the number one selling flavor. I thought, 'How weird? How weird is it that a flavor that nobody even knows what it is, that literally doesn't tell you what fruit it is, outsells everything that's an actual fruit flavor?'" Tedder laughed. "I just kind of blurted out. I was like, 'Guys, I think our third flavor should be a giant middle finger to just flavors in general.'"
"'Let's name our next drink Unicorn Tears, because you can't take yourself seriously if you're drinking Unicorn Tears,'" he went on. "I can't tell you what it is, but it's two things: It's one fruit and one herb. That is the flavor profile."
As Tedder mentioned above, Mad Tasty also has a "social benefit": In addition to partnering with DROP4DROP to provide clean water for those in need around the world, the brand is also donating 100% of online sales of Unicorn Tears to the American Red Cross to aid its efforts to fight COVID-19.
Listen to our full interview with Ryan Tedder below and check out Mad Tasty here:
If you enjoyed this article, check out our interview with "Modern Family" star Nolan Gould below:
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