• Image about ryan-tedder-simon-cowell-whitney-houston-adam-lambert-americanway

[dl] Music

Everything Ryan Tedder touches turns to gold. (Platinum, actually.) Can his lucky streak continue with OneRepublic’s risky sophomore album?

“THIS IS KIND OF SINK OR SWIM FOR US,” says OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder about his group’s new sophomore album, Waking Up, and first single, “All the Right Moves.” “For the band known for ‘Apologize’ and ‘Stop and Stare’ to come out with a song that kind of hits you over the head, as bombastic as it is, is taking a bit of a risk.”

Tedder needn’t worry. The 30yearold Tulsa, Oklahoma, native knows what he’s doing. Besides being OneRepublic’s falsetto-voiced front man, he’s one of the most sought-after writers and producers in music today. Every single that he’s written, produced, or sung has gone platinum. If you’re familiar with Leona Lewis’s “Bleeding Love,” Beyoncé Knowles’s “Halo,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” and, of course, OneRepublic’s aforementioned hits, you know Tedder’s work. And this month, Tedder will be behind some of the biggest new releases from Leona Lewis and Adam Lambert.

But right now, his main focus is on his own band’s new release. According to Tedder, the difference between the group’s 2007 debut, Dreaming Out Loud, and Waking Up is massive. “Waking Up is a huge departure for us in terms of what might be expected,” he says from his home in Denver, Colorado. “I’m truthfully trying to push the bounds of what radio will actually play.”

The trick to Tedder’s multifaceted success, he says, is keeping the styles separate. “As a writer and producer, I’m kind of hired to deliver things that are supposed to connect and have a high probability of success,” he remarks. “I can’t do that with this band. I don’t want Waking Up to come out and people be like, ‘Now wait a minute, is that Snow Patrol? Is that Maroon 5? Is that the Fray?’ I want it to be OneRepublic.”

So, if it were to come down to fitting in the box or branching out with the band, which would he choose? “In my perfect, ideal world, I could have a little bit of both,” he says. “I get, like, an actual physical high off of songwriting. If you’re in that moment where you’re writing a song, and you reach that chorus and you’re kind of struggling and then all of a sudden, it’s kind of like, ‘Eureka!’ -- that’s probably one of my favorite moments, period. [But there are also] moments onstage, like at a show we played in Paris near the Eiffel Tower, [where] 50,000 people … [were] singing ‘Stop and Stare’ so loud that I couldn’t hear myself sing. My goal is to write and perform the kinds of songs that make the world want to sing. You know, it’s pretty much as simple as that.”

In Good Company


Ryan Tedder has been fortunate to work with some of the biggest names in the business. He spills about a few and tells us who is still on his wish list.

On Beyoncé Knowles: “She’s amazing; she did her thing on ‘Halo,’ and she added a whole other level to it,” he says. “She somehow makes everybody feel important in the room and yet somehow takes care of business and does her thing.”

On Leona Lewis: “She’s phenomenal,” he says. “She’s a consummate pro and is the absolute best at conveying emotion of anybody I’ve ever seen.”

On working with American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert on his upcoming debut album: “He and I got to know each other fairly well. I’ll send him an email and say, ‘Hey, check out this song. What do you think?’ Fortunately, I got lucky with him, and from the very first song I submitted,” he says. “He wrote back and said, ‘Oh my God, this is so dead-on.’ It’s a kind of crazy hybrid.”

On having a direct line to Simon Cowell: “I deal directly with Simon Cowell a lot,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if everyone in the building is doing freakin’ backflips -- if he doesn’t think it’s a hit, it ain’t happening. He’s a brutally honest guy, and that’s probably my favorite thing about him. There’s no beating around the bush. He gets straight to it.”

On not working with Whitney Houston, despite rumors to the contrary: “I love Whitney Houston,” he says. “That was a dream. I got asked to work with her multiple, multiple, multiple times, but it never happened.”

On whom he still hopes to work with: “I’d love to work with Imogen Heap,” he says, “and I’d love to write a song with Paul McCartney. Even if the song didn’t turn out great, it’d be something I could tell stories about until I’m 90.”