OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder on writing some of today's biggest hits

Here and Now

OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Singer-songwriter Ryan Tedder has written or co-written a raft of hit songs including Beyonce’s "Halo," Adele's "Rumor Has It" and Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love."

Tedder’s song-writing career took off after hitting an early roadblock: He had tried to succeed as a solo artist but was dropped from a record label, forcing him to realize that he was "not Justin Timberlake."

So he decided to create his own band and in 2004 he called Zach Filkins, one of his high school friends and together they formed what is now OneRepublic.

Tedder's "Apologize" was the first song he wrote for the group and he remembers feeling good about it early on.

"I've never written a hit in my life, but man I swear this feels like it could be the biggest song ever," Tedder recounted for Here & Now's Robin Young.

Tedder's hunch happened to be spot on -- "Apologize" dominated the airwaves and went multi-platinum around the world.

So how does this unknown yet powerful songwriter gauge whether a song is a hit?

"The thing that I can connect with is emotion, so if the hair on the back of my neck or my arms is standing up, and I can tell that everyone else in the room is having the same effect, that’s kind of my gauge," he said.

While he may not be a household name, he's well known in the music industry.

Tedder explains how he met Adele at an awards ceremony: "She was like, 'You’re Ryan Tedder,' and I was like, 'Yes I am.' And she said, 'I'm about to start writing for my new album, you are the first person that I wanted to co-write with.'"

And with that, Tedder ended up co-writing two of Adele’s hits from her latest album, "Rumor Has It" and "Turning Tables."

A graduate from Oral Roberts University and raised as a devout Christian, Tedder surprised his family when he announced he wanted to go into what he calls the "secular" music business, rather than worship or Christian music. Tedder finds that he can express his faith through music in untraditional ways -- much in the same way as U2.

In the future, Tedder said that he hopes to someday write music with Paul McCartney or Bono.

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