Ryan Tedder Talks Writing with Pop Royalty and Reveals the OneRepublic Hit That Surprised Him

When it comes to producing and writing pop hits, Ryan Tedder has “All the Right Moves.”

In addition to fronting the internationally beloved pop-rock act OneRepublic, Tedder has crafted chart-toppers for modern music royalty, from Taylor Swift to mononymous powerhouses Adele and Beyoncé.

But the Oklahoma native, 37, admits some of his songs’ success has caught him off-guard. In 2006, OneRepublic released a stripped-down version of their tune “Apologize” on MySpace, and it became a hit online. But it didn’t break big until the following year, when they teamed up with producer Timbaland to released a synthy version of the track.

“I didn’t think that remix was a hit,” Tedder recalls. “When I heard the remix, I was like, ‘I don’t think this is gonna work.’”

PEOPLE caught up with the musician — who with OneRepublic recently released their new album Oh My My — about his hit-making process, which of his band’s new songs he hopes tops the charts and why he thinks his songs translate better overseas.