Ryan Tedder: “I was obsessed with The Beach Boys”


OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder – The music that made me: “I was obsessed with The Beach Boys”

From his go-to karaoke track to his funeral song, we explore Ryan Tedder’s musical DNA.

When we caught up with Ryan Tedder last month, he said that, as a successful band, it was OneRepublic’s responsibility to be “the braves ones” when it comes to musical trendsetting.

Judging by what we’ve heard so far from their upcoming album Oh My My, they’re certainly bucking the current sound in favour of something a little more distinct. On current single Kids they seamlessly mix their familiar anthemic folk stomp with squiggly electronics, and their recently unveiled album track A.I is a brilliantly bonkers collaboration with the elusive Peter Gabriel.

As well as his work with OneRepublic, Ryan has also written plenty of hits for other artists, including Beyonce, Adele, Ella Henderson and Leona Lewis. But where does he get all his ideas from? We caught up with him to explore his musical DNA…

The best gig I’ve ever been to
“It was the Beach Boys – and it was also the first ever concert I went to! My Dad took me, in 1987 I think. It was the year of the Kokomo. My favourite Beach Boys track is Sloop John B – the Beach Boys was an absolute obsession for me.”

The first album I became completely obsessed with
“Again, I have to say it was the Beach Boys greatest hits! I wasn’t allowed to listen to music that wasn’t gospel when I was growing up. The Beach Boys was about the only non-gospel act I was allowed to listen to, so I played their greatest hits over and over.”

My karaoke song is…
“It’s a tie between [Queen’s] Bohemian Rhapsody and Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. If it’s a serious crowd, I’ll go with Celine, because that song is completely ridiculous and super long.”

A song that will always get me on the dancefloor
“One More Time by Daft Punk. Absolutely every time.”

A song that reminds me of my first love

“This is a weird one – Guns and Roses’ November Rain. I remember when I was at middle school dances when I was 12 or 13, and you’re just getting brave enough to touch girls, November Rain was the longest song – it’s nine minutes. So, at dances I would wait for that song and I asked the girl I liked most to dance, and she’d be stuck with me for nine minutes. Maximum chance for physical interaction.”

The first song I ever wrote was about…
“I don’t remember the name of it but I wrote it when I was 15 and it was about a girl I was in love with. You know, the usual stuff you write about. I wrote a lot of love songs at that age, and I was desperate to learn how to write a different type of song. I was really into Oasis and U2 and I wanted to write cool songs like them. Oh, and the girl did end up liking me too, eventually. But it was at the wrong time, so our paths never crossed.”

The song I want played at my funeral
“Oh! Err… I would say, Wouldn’t It Be Nice by the Beach Boys. How full circle is that? Talk about a way to go out… [starts singing Wouldn’t It Be Nice] That’s how you go out, isn’t it?”