Everything Ryan Tedder touches turns to gold. (Platinum, actually.) Can his lucky streak continue with OneRepublics risky sophomore album?
THIS IS KIND OF SINK OR SWIM FOR US, says OneRepublics Ryan Tedder about his groups 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 neednt worry. The 30yearold Tulsa, Oklahoma, native knows what hes doing. Besides being OneRepublics falsetto-voiced front man, hes one of the most sought-after writers and producers in music today. Every single that hes written, produced, or sung has gone platinum. If youre familiar with Leona Lewiss Bleeding Love, Beyoncé Knowless Halo, Kelly Clarksons Already Gone, and, of course, OneRepublics aforementioned hits, you know Tedders 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 bands new release. According to Tedder, the difference between the groups 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. Im truthfully trying to push the bounds of what radio will actually play.
The trick to Tedders multifaceted success, he says, is keeping the styles separate. As a writer and producer, Im kind of hired to deliver things that are supposed to connect and have a high probability of success, he remarks. I cant do that with this band. I dont 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 youre in that moment where youre writing a song, and you reach that chorus and youre kind of struggling and then all of a sudden, its kind of like, Eureka! -- thats 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 couldnt hear myself sing. My goal is to write and perform the kinds of songs that make the world want to sing. You know, its 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: Shes 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: Shes phenomenal, he says. Shes a consummate pro and is the absolute best at conveying emotion of anybody Ive 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. Ill 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. Its a kind of crazy hybrid.
On having a direct line to Simon Cowell: I deal directly with Simon Cowell a lot, he says. It doesnt matter if everyone in the building is doing freakin backflips -- if he doesnt think its a hit, it aint happening. Hes a brutally honest guy, and thats probably my favorite thing about him. Theres 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: Id love to work with Imogen Heap, he says, and Id love to write a song with Paul McCartney. Even if the song didnt turn out great, itd be something I could tell stories about until Im 90.