“Melody is the single most important thing to any song, period,” OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder once explained. “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.”
A melody is certainly something Tedder has a firm grasp on. On top of garnering fame alongside his OneRepublic bandmates, Tedder has made a name for himself crafting songs for his pop peers with melodies that have no trouble getting stuck in your head or climbing the charts.
Among his golden list of credits are songs performed by Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, Stevie Wonder and Miley Cyrus. Name a major pop act in the last decade or so, and odds are Tedder has joined them in the studio a time or two.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of songs Tedder helped pen for the artists above and more.
1. “Already Gone,” Kelly Clarkson
Written by Ryan Tedder and Kelly Clarkson
“Already Gone” was featured on Kelly Clarkson’s 2009 album, All I Ever Wanted. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart but received a heavy amount of criticism for sounding similar to Beyoncé’s “Halo,” which also happened to be produced by Tedder.
Tedder eventually commented on the criticism saying, “‘Already Gone’ is one of the best songs I’ve written or produced since ‘Bleeding Love’ and stands tall on it’s own merits apart from ‘Halo.’ They are two entirely different songs conceptually, melodically, [and] lyrically and I would never try to dupe an artist such as Kelly Clarkson or Beyoncé into recording over the same musical track.”
He continued, “I think when people hear ‘Already Gone’ they will hear what I hear — one of the greatest female vocalists on earth giving her most haunting and heart-breaking performance on a song she helped write. I challenge people to listen and form their own opinions.” Compare both songs below.
Remember all the things we wanted
Now all our memories, they’re haunted
We were always meant to say goodbye
Even with our fists held high
It never would have worked out right, yeah
We were never meant for do or die
2. “Angels Like You,” Miley Cyrus
Written by Ryan Tedder, Miley Cyrus, Ali Tamposi, Louis Bell and Andrew Watt
“Angels Like You” is a welcomed change of pace from the rest of the hard-edged offerings on Plastic Hearts. The song is rumored to be about Cyrus’ ex-girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter. The pair dated briefly in 2019 but broke up after it became too serious too quickly. “We actually did work pretty hard to keep it as private as we could, but it is what it is,” Carter told E! at the time. “There’s also a lot to be gained and learned from that.”
More recently, Cyrus used the song as an ode to her late friend Taylor Hawkins. “I would’ve done anything to hang out with him one more time,” she said before launching into the ballad. Check out a clip of the performance below.
I know that you’re wrong for me
Gonna wish we never met on the day I leave
I brought you down to your knees
‘Cause they say that misery loves company
It’s not your fault I ruin everything
And it’s not your fault I can’t be what you need
Baby, angels like you can’t fly down hell with me
3. “Baby Don’t Lie,” Gwen Stefani
Written Ryan Tedder, Gwen Stefani, Benny Blanco and Noel Zancanella
“Baby Don’t Lie” ended an eight-year hiatus for Gwen Stefani. The song was supposed to be the first single from Stefani’s third album before that project was ultimately scrapped. Nevertheless, her fans were gifted this mid-tempo bop in the meantime.
Stefani once told American Songwriter about working with Tedder. “He’s so talented and so smart, and it’s rare that you meet someone that’s actually talented and creative — but also super smart with the world,” she said. “I could talk to him all day long.”
We’ve been walking down this road some time
And you love, and you love me good, no lie
But there’s something behind those eyes, those eyes
That you can’t, that you can’t disguise, disguise
4. “Easier,” 5 Seconds of Summer
Written by Ryan Tedder, Ali Tamposi, Charlie Puth, Louis Bell and Andrew Watt
“Easier” saw 5 Seconds of Summer take a hard turn into industrial rock a la Nine Inch Nails. Acting as the lead single for their fourth studio album, CALM, the song landed 5SOS on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 48.
“We [wrote] with Andrew Watt, Ali Tamposi, Ryan Tedder, and Charlie Puth,” vocalist Luke Hemmings told Genius. “This song was one of the earlier ones, [written] before we started the album. We were figuring out what we wanted to do. We were very into the New Wave stuff, that Nine Inch Nails stuff. This was the first stepping stone.”
Is it easier to stay? Is it easier to go?
I don’t wanna know, oh
But I know that I’m never, ever gonna change
And you know you don’t want it any other way
5. “Faith,” Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande
Written by Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder, Brent Kutzle, Benny Blanco and Francis and the Lights
“Faith” ended up being Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande’s contribution to the soundtrack for the animated feature Sing. The gospel-inspired track marked the first collaboration between the two artists, which Grande remarked was a dream at the time. “I’m on a song w Stevie Wonder & it comes out soon,” she wrote on Twitter. “I also really can’t believe that what I just said is an actual thing.”
Tedder co-wrote the track with Wonder, Brent Kutzle, Benny Blanco and Francis and the Lights. Given that Wonder is infamous for “not singing other people’s melodies” (according to Tedder), the OneRepublic frontman once explained he thought the collaboration had the potential to go very badly.
“Halfway through the session, [Republic chief] Monte Lipman looks at me and goes, ‘Man, there was a greater-than-50% chance this could’ve been a disaster,'” Tedder once said. “It ended up in the top two or three sessions of my entire career.”
I got faith in you, baby
I got faith in you now
And you’ve been such a, such a good friend to me
Know that I love you somehow
I met you, hallelujah, I got faith
(Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)