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10 Great Songs You Didn’t Know OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder Wrote

We round up key tracks songwriting ace penned with Beyoncé, Adele, Taylor Swift and more

In retrospect, OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder‘s sideline as a successful Top 40 songwriter seems fated. His father was a gospel songwriter in the Seventies with an encyclopedic knowledge of the hits. “He could tell you the top records on the chart at any given point in time for basically all the Eighties and all the Nineties,” Tedder told Wonderland Magazine. Tedder started playing piano at age three, picked up the guitar as a teenager, and penned his first song when he was 15.

“Melody is the single most important thing to any song, period,” he explained to NPR in 2010. “I don’t care what anybody says, it trumps everything. Not because that’s my opinion, but because I think it’s actually indisputable fact: The human brain retains melody easier than it retains words. It’s that simple.”

Tedder’s career as a writer for others has been successful enough that at times it threatens to overwhelm his gig as frontman of One Republic – in 2007, the same year the band broke out with “Apologize,” Tedder penned a massive hit for Leona Lewis. Here are some of the highlights from Tedder’s extensive catalog.

From Rolling Stone US

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Ellie Goulding, “Burn” (2013)

"Burn" was the product of a tour-bus writing session between Tedder and his OneRepublic bandmate Brent Kutzle. "I was so ecstatic about the song that our show was probably delayed five minutes because I couldn't stop listening to it," Tedder told Billboard. "Ellie cut the vocal, killed it, she didn't mess around. And then it sat for a year." When it finally came out, it climbed to Number 13 on the Hot 100.                                    

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John Oates, “Stone Cold Love” (2013)

One of the more surprising credits in Tedder’s discography is “Stone Cold Love,” a track he penned for John Oates of Hall and Oates. “He wanted to work really fast and do something that’d really stand out on the album,” Oates explained to The Quietus. “He said, ‘If I do something with you, it’s got to be something nobody would ever expect.’ And it certainly worked out, as the song ‘Stone Cold Love’ is probably the most extreme on the record.”

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Ariana Grande, “Why Try” (2014)

Grande's debut album was full of Nineties R&B homage, but her second album looked towards electronic dance music ("Break Free"), chugging Eighties pop ("Love Me Harder") and power ballads like "Why Try." This track shares qualities with a number of Tedder's co-writes: martial drums, a soaring hook and a swelling keyboard melody. Grande described Tedder as "amazing" during an interview with MTV in 2014. "I love working with him because he understands what it's like as a vocalist to want the song that day," she added. "He'll literally let me take two takes of something and then he'll have it done by the time I get out of the booth."

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Ella Henderson, “Ghost” (2014)

"Ghost" is another uptempo, bluesy cut like Adele's "Rumour Has It." According to Henderson, Tedder first encountered her music online, stumbling upon a Drake cover she had thrown onto the Internet. He liked it enough to get in touch with her label, and met Henderson for a session in London. "I was quite nervous," she remembered, "but when I met him, it was like we were old friends catching up. We grabbed a drink, we had some food, and the next thing you know we were sat around a piano writing this chorus called 'Ghost.' Instantly I knew this was going to be my first single. I felt something huge about it."

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Taylor Swift, “I Know Places” (2014)

When Taylor Swift made her much-publicized jump from country to pop on 1989, she connected with several of the most successful Top 40 writers of the past decade – a group that included Max Martin, Shellback and Tedder. “I sent this voice memo to Ryan Tedder, because I always wanted to work with him,” she said during an interview with Ryan Seacrest. “And finally, we scheduled some studio time. … I just sat down at the piano, put my phone on top of the piano and just kind of explained to him where I wanted to go with the song, how I saw the melody sitting in, and we ended up recording the song the next day.” Tedder, who also co-wrote anthemic 1989 opener “Welcome to New York,” later called Swift “a bit of a songwriting prodigy.”