In addition to being the frontman for OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder is also a sought-after songwriter whose songs have been performed by such artists as Demi Lovato, Beyonce, Maroon 5, Adele, Kelly Clarkson, One Direction, Jennifer Lopez and more.
It was in his capacity as songwriter that Tedder, 39, was presented with the Diamond Award by the National Music Publisher’s Association at the group’s annual meeting in New York City on Wednesday.
In his acceptance speech, Tedder discussed the power a pop song can hold.
“What is the point of a song?” he asked. “‘One song can change a person’s life’ is almost a cliché at this point, but as Jack Kerouac said, ‘Clichés are truisms, and all truisms are true.'”
Tedder recalled receiving a letter from a 15-year-old fan who was writing her suicide note when she heard OneRepublic’s “Stop and Stare”, and in the process of listening to the song repeatedly had a change of heart.
“I took that letter and I was shaking and I showed it to the band, and a couple of guys started crying,” he shared. “I said, ‘Guys, this is why we do this. We actually saved somebody because of this song. It’s not something I take lightly, or that I take credit for.”
Tedder also pointed out that songwriters, when it comes to “the entire ecosystem in the food chains of music, we’re at the absolute bottom,” and blasted artists who demand a piece of the credit for a songwriters’ work.
“If the artist is big enough, they’ll ask us for 25 to 30 per cent of what we write, even though they’re in a different country. That’s bulls**t, by the way,” Tedder stated.
“I’m not going to call anyone out, but I’m going to say this as a writer as an artist,” he continued. “I don’t care if we ever ended up in a stadium, if we became Ed Sheeran times 10 — he doesn’t do this, by the way — I would never ask a songwriter for a piece of a song I didn’t write. I don’t know who started it, I don’t care how talented you are, or the mechanisms or the machine or the label behind you. Spend time with songwriters. Hang out with them, eating ramen with them on the floor of their apartments in New York or L.A. and wondering if the sample that the producer didn’t tell you he snuck into the song is going to eat up 90 per cent of the damn song. I’ve had those conversations. If I didn’t have the band, that would be the way that I live.”
You can watch Tedder’s speech in the video above, beginning at the 1:39 mark.