Five For Fighting's John Ondrasik has a marathon to thank for his new album, "Bookmarks," out Tuesday.
"There's a lot of reasons this record should not have been made," Ondrasik said during a visit to CBSNews.com.
The singer behind such hits as "100 Years" and "Superman (It's Not Easy)," had been feeling somewhat uninspired after releasing his 2009 album, "Slice," even questioning whether or not he was done with the music business altogether. That was until he started training to run his first-ever marathon.
"I really needed to find my joy for music again," he said. "And oddly enough, that came through training for my marathon. I don't listen to music a lot because it's what I do. I don't think actors after working for 14 hours a day go see a movie...And also the last record was kind of a painful experience. So, I was kind of like, 'Am I done? I don't know.' So I started training...running 30, 40 miles a week and I was rekindling my love with all the music from the '70s -- starting with The Bee Gees to The Beatles, to Elton [John] to Billy [Joel], to the Who, AC/DC -- the Cars. The Cars are a great band to run to."
Reconnecting with music sparked the songwriting bug once again. No longer with his longtime label Columbia Records, Ondrasik started searching for a new home. He found that in Wind-Up Records, the same label that houses such bands as Creed, Evanescence and O.A.R.
"This took the longest of any record in the last decade for a few different reasons. I'm on a new label, so when I left Columbia I ended up buying back my last record and tried to give that record a shot," said Ondrasik.
The 48-year-old singer-songwriter soon teamed with producer Gregg Wattenberg for new material, a move that brought things full circle; the pair had worked together in 2000 on the album that launched Five For Fighting into the spotlight. "He and I produced 'America Town' together...by ourselves in a beaten down studio. So the chance to do another full record with him was kind of the tipping point -- I was like, 'Alright, let's go do another one.'"
Once the creative juices started flowing, Ondrasik tapped into his experiences over the last few years to find inspiration for "Bookmarks," which features lead single, "What If."
"I started looking at the bucket list, too, because my whole life I'm like, 'Let me get this record done and then I'll do X, Y and Z.' And I have children who have gone from 9 to 12 and 10 to 13 in the last three years." Ondrasik said that the "realities of being a dad, coaching soccer, driving carpools and checking off the running a marathon bucket list" inspired the new music.
"So we have another 11 songs and it's a record I'm proud of. And the fans can stop harassing me now for another Five For Fighting album," Ondrasik joked.
The fact that Ondrasik is about to add a sixth album to his catalogue amazes him. "It's a miracle," he said. "If you would have told me 14 years ago that I would be sitting here in New York on record No. 6 after struggling for 15 years to just get my songs heard, I would have said that you were a little cuckoo. It is amazing. I feel very fortunate, especially this day and age."
For more on Ondrasik, along with a sneak peek of his upcoming "What If" video, check out our interview segment above.