“In super-supremely rare instances, artists themselves become the hit. Beyoncé is officially the hit.”
Ryan Tedder, who wrote one of Beyonce’s most famous songs “Halo,” reflects on the Queen Bey.
While promoting OneRepublic’s latest release, “Wherever I Go,” Tedder opens up to Newsweek about the immense pressure to top “Counting Stars,” which sold 8-million copies world-wide, working with Adele on 25 cut “Remedy” and how Beyonce is one of the most influential artists of our time.
On “Wherever I Go”:
“I definitely felt the pressure. Our last album, more or less, made the pressure. Our first album did pretty well, our second one did well, and then our third album… My manager always says no other act has sold five million albums as quietly as we did. I’m tired of being quiet. This album is not quiet.
I hate picking a first single. We always pick the wrong one. This one, thankfully, has taken hold. I think one good instinct I have is, if I have something enormously successful, I never try to duplicate it. From a business standpoint, maybe that’s not the best business model, but from an artistic standpoint, it’s the only way I stay alive. The idea of trying to do “Bleeding Love” part two… In the pantheon of songs that I’ve done, you won’t find another that sounds like it. You might feel the spirit of it in some songs, but I won’t ever try to recreate the sound.
I feel the pressure of “Counting Stars,” but comparing that to anything on this album is apples and oranges.”
On producing songs for Adele:
“I have the benefit of having a long-term relationship with her. I’ve known her since right after 19. The cool thing about her and I, we want the best take period—the best take, best lyric, best performance.
I play the piano on “Remedy” and I don’t consider myself an A-level piano session player. I wanted to redo the piano with a brilliant pianist, but she insisted we keep my take on it because there was an emotional context there and it wasn’t perfect. Perfect isn’t perfect. I hear that record and can hear the couple of moments that I go off tempo, and it drives me crazy, but it’s part of what makes us human.
It’s difficult to produce Adele because everything she sings sounds like a hit, so it’s a lot harder on the songwriting process. She could sing “Feliz Cumpleaños” in Spanish and somehow you go: “That is probably a top 10.” Her voice is that damn good. So you have to be harder on yourself and the songs, because her voice will convince you that what you’re writing is better than it is.”
“There is nothing she could do in 2016, or moving forward, that would surprise. She’s super-savvy, super-talented and she’s surrounded by the right people. She’s making the right moves at the right times. And she’s killing it.
She hasn’t just done music, what she’s doing now transcends music—she’s creating culture. I always say one of the most dangerous things is for an artist to believe they’re the hit and not the song—the song is what got you here. In super-supremely rare instances, artists themselves become the hit. Beyoncé is officially the hit. Adele is the hit. The rest of us still need to write the hits, one after another.”
“I’ll always love that song. I’ve been asked to rewrite that song for a number of artists, and I’d love to do another one like that with only her. Beyoncé’s gone in a different direction, musically, but if she was ever like, “Screw it, I want to do a gigantic pop record,” I’m a phone call away. She’s the only person I would ever [do that for]. I’ve not done anything else that sounds like that since then.”
Read the full interview here.