Billed the “Undercover King of Pop” by Billboard, Ryan Tedder sits atop Pop’s throne sporting a crown decorated with hits released by the likes of Beyonce, Adele, Leona Lewis.
So, it is any wonder Lewin’s ‘Notion‘ was eager to catch up with the ‘One Republic’ frontman this month, meeting with him to discuss the band’s new single ‘Love Runs Out‘ and his work with ‘Cold Shoulder’ chanteuse Adele, whose third studio album is reportedly set for release this year!
His words below…
On nearly resigning to the idea of just being a producer and leaving the singing behind, compares success of ‘Apologize’ and ‘Bleeding Love’ to the moment Pharrell is experienced with ‘Happy’ and ‘Blurred Lines’:
“I remember life being very difficult before that moment [OneRepublic’s first hit ‘Apologize’ and Leona Lewis’ ‘Bleeding Love]. At that point OneRepublic had been signed and dropped three times and were relying on MySpace to gain a fanbase. The success of ‘Apologize’ felt like a great equalizer, a big screw you to our old label who said we wouldn’t be a success.”
“Before that, I almost resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t meant to be a singer as well as a songwriter. My expectations had been shattered so many times that I only ever hoped for the worst. I told my wife I was happy just being a producer, and then nine days later I went to Germany with OneRepublic to do some promo and I didn’t return home for 18 months. It was the equivalent to what Pharrell is experiencing now. ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Happy’ was like ‘Bleeding Love’ and ‘Apologize’.
On refusing to take indetikit approach to songwriting and production:
“I remember with some of my earlier work, people would tell me that could identify when a song was produced by me. They thought it was a compliment but I took it as an insult. As soon as I had my first big hit, I thought I have to do my damnedest not to repeat myself.”
“There are producers who stick to one sound and style because that’s what makes them money. When I’ve done something that resonates and is successful I walk away from that sound because I don’t want to become known for it and it’s been done. A few weeks ago I was working on an Alesso and Elton John song and then the next day I was in the studio with Lady Antebellum. Nothing about that is unusual for me these days.”
On being inspired by 90s music – a big part of that being 80s and 90s UK artists:
“The music back then [in the 90s] didn’t follow trends. At the time, my uncle lived in the UK and whenever he came to visit he’d bring me imported CDs. I was listening to Seal, Lighthouse Family, Simply Red and Peter Gabriel. When I discovered him, I was like, ‘Oh God in heaven’. From about the age of 13 I was the import CD guy at school.”
On working with Adele on ‘Turning Tables’ and the emotions that were involved:
“It’s easy to look back at your most successful singles and call them your favourites, but I knew there was something special when we came up with ‘Turning Tables’.”
“After we worked on the song I went back to my hotel room in London and I texted her saying ‘I’m listening to your demo and I’m getting choked up’. She said, ‘I’ve been crying my eyes out for the last 20 minutes.’ We both thought we’d nailed it. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t a radio hit. In a perfect world, the two would coincide. Most artists would be lying if they didn’t say that was the goal.”
Ryan says with the meteoric success of OneRepublic he’s having to ensure he has his priorities in order and is working with a select list of artists. As part of this, he’d love to craft a hit with Florence Welch:
“For three years mine and Florence Welch’s managers have been trying to get our calendars to align. We’re always on the opposite sides of the world. I really want to do something with her – I think we can crack something that she hasn’t done and that I haven’t done. I really think it could be huge.”
He acknowledges that he’s on a roll with OneRepublic and everything else. Doesn’t take for granted and says the next songs coming out will ‘make the last three months look silly’:
“Right now yes I feel like I’m on a roll, but I take absolutely no luxury in that. There’s no guarantee that recording a hit song will make it a hit on the charts. I take nothing for granted. That said, the singles I have coming out in the next three months will make the last three months look silly.”
‘Republic‘s ‘Love Runs Out’ hits the UK’s digital outlets, July 27th.