Adele, Beyonce, U2, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 have a common denominator: Ryan Tedder produced each of those superstars. When Tedder, 37, isn’t behind the board working with those residing in pop music’s stratosphere, he’s fronting his own band, OneRepublic, which is currently on a tour sponsored by American Airlines and Mastercard. In other words, he’s the perfect guy to talk to about travel.
Here, Tedder, who is out with his band promoting OneRepublic’s latest album, “Oh My My,” reveals why points are a huge part of his Christmas each year and what you should be aware of when booking your next trip to Lake Como.
Are you a points guy?
I’m definitely a points person. Points and miles are priceless since you can do so much with them. I just got an email reminding me that I have 500,000. My goal is to get the United lifetime platinum thing so you can get upgrades for your lifetime.
How do you use your points?
To buy Christmas gifts. That’s what I’m thinking of at this time of year. I can get a lot of gifts for people. I always use my points for Christmas gifts. Why not?
Your tour is sponsored by MasterCard. What does your MasterCard mean to you?
It means more to me than it means to most people. When I moved to Los Angeles years ago, all I had was that card. My biggest Mastercard memory is when I was completely broke waiting for a song I did for a movie that wasn’t so great, that starred Dax Shepard (2004’s “Without a Paddle”). I was waiting for a $7,000 check and I had a $1,500 limit on my MasterCard so I bought all of my groceries, furniture and gas with that card. I lived solely off of that one card.
What’s the best trip you’ve ever taken?
Capri, Italy, is one of the most transcendental places I’ve ever been to. I went there for my honeymoon. Capri is like going back in time where some Roman emperors lived. It’s the most beautiful place and it was the best trip ever. I also love Zermatt, Switzerland. There are no cars there so there is no pollution and you can see the Matterhorn. It’s like being in a snow globe. It’s gorgeous.
Any travel horror stories?
Yes, a month ago I was in Boston, Turkey, Berlin and London, all within 48 hours. We played a private show in Boston, I had lunch in Berlin, stopped in Turkey and had dinner in London. It was just too much.
Any personal travel horror anecdotes?
Yes. My wife and I had such a bad experience it could have been an Ashton Kutcher movie. We rented a house in Lake Como. The photos of the place were gorgeous, but when we arrived, it was a studio villa with no air conditioning. We had a black and white television. There was no car and no access to groceries. Every taxi was 50 euro. Wax was melted on the tables and there were cockroaches on the floor.
But aside from that it was fine?
Absolutely. It could have been worse. I just don’t know how. If you’re going to Lake Como, do some research or you could get burned like we did. We were told it was five-star but not everything in Lake Como is five-star.
What’s your secret to a successful trip?
Be organized. One of the times I went to Capri, I left my passport behind and couldn’t check into the hotel. All of that can be avoided if you’re on top of everything.
What’s it like producing your own band as opposed to your superstar pals?
It’s incredibly stressful. It’s so different than producing somebody else since I don’t feel any pressure — when it’s another artist, it’s not my story, so it’s not uber personal. When I produce somebody else, it’s like a game with me. It’s different when I go for goosebumps in songs with my own band. It’s a more selfish endeavor.
What’s it like working with Adele and Beyonce?
I’m incredibly lucky since I started working with them before each of them blew up. I remember when I was working with Adele in 2010, I told some people about her and they didn’t know who she was since ‘21′ wasn’t out yet. Can you believe that? The amazing thing is that she knocked out the song [“Rumour Has It,” which Tedder co-wrote with Adele] in 10 minutes. She was pitch perfect. She hit every note. I had been working as a producer for 10 years at that point and that never happened so I told Adele. There’s nothing like nailing a great pop song.