Our guest this week on Art of the Song is singer/songwriter/producer Ryan Tedder. Billboard Magazine has dubbed him “The Undercover King of Pop.” He is a six-time Grammy nominee, winning in 2012 for his production work on Adele’s One. His singles and albums have sold millions worldwide. Ryan has written or produced some of the best selling singles of all time including Beyoncé’s “Halo” and OneRepublic’s own “Apologize” – briefly the biggest radio airplay hit in the history of the Mainstream Top 40 chart. He’s also worked with Taylor Swift, U2, Maroon 5, and many others. We spoke with Ryan Tedder about the release of OneRepublic’s 2016 CD Oh My My.
Ryan Tedder was born June 26, 1979, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma by a religious family. He began to learn to play piano at the age of three via the Suzuki method. Tedder’s father was a musician, and young Ryan began to sing at the age of seven. He says he practiced singing two hours every day until the age of eighteen. Ryan Tedder’s family moved to Colorado when he was in high school where he met future members of the band OneRepublic.
Ryan Tedder attended Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma. He continued to develop his musical skills while he was a student. In 2001 Tedder graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising. He eventually made the decision to move west to Los Angeles after graduating. There, via an MTV talent contest, he met Timbaland.
The group OneRepublic was formed in 2002 in Colorado by Ryan Tedder and his high school friend Zach Filkins. Tedder had been offered deals to write songs in Nashville, but he wanted instead to be an artist and help develop the sound of a group. The band gained their first exposure via the group’s MySpace page. In 2007 Timbaland selected the group’s single “Apologize” to remix for his album Timbaland Presents Shock Value. The result was a massive international #1 pop hit single. OneRepublic were signed to Timbaland’s label and their debut album hit stores in November 2007.
When Ryan Tedder moved to Los Angeles in 2002, Timbaland took him under his wing. For the next two years, although he was working with other artists, Ryan Tedder worked closely with Timbaland. He says, “Being with him for two years stepped up my game a thousand-fold.” Tedder developed the ability to work across a wide range of genres including pop, hip hop, R&B, and even country music.
Songwriting and Production Success
Ryan Tedder continues to be one of the most in demand of pop songwriters and producers. He worked on Ellie Goulding’s hit “Burn,” Maroon 5’s “Maps,” and the collaboration between Zedd and Selena Gomez on “I Want You To Know.” Ryan Tedder co-wrote and co-produced the songs “I Know Places” and “Welcome To New York” on Taylor Swift’s landmark album 1989. In 2012, he earned a Grammy Award nomination for Producer of the Year Non-Classical.