Photo: Getty Images

By Kathleen Perricone

One of the Wango Tango performers this year is OneRepublic, and singer Ryan Tedder called in to On Air with Ryan Seacrest on Friday morning to give a preview of what fans can expect, as well his long journey to being a hitmaker.

The band has become an international success, and although their fans may not always speak the same language, their music is definitely universal. In fact, Ryan says there are three songs that everyone always knows: “Apologize,” “Counting Stars,” “If I Lose Myself.”

But it’s not just OneRepublic’s songs that are hits, but also the songs Ryan writes for others, like Ellie Goulding‘s “Burn” and Maroon 5‘s “Love Somebody.”

How does he decided which to keep for his band and which to give away? “I’ve never really had too much of an issue doing it because when I switch into writing for OneRepublic, it’s a bit Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Ryan explains. “I literally go to a different part of my brain. When I’m writing for OneRepublic, it’s 100% personal and it’s me writing for us … and when I’m writing for someone else, it almost feels like a game.”

When it comes to songwriting for others, Ryan adds, “I’m trying to generally channel what it is they’re going through. Specifically Beyonce or Adele or whoever the artist is, I’m really trying to tap into their brain.”

In the second half of Ryan and Ryan’s conversation, the singer explained his meager beginnings when he first moved to Los Angeles … $40,000 in debt.

“When I moved to L.A., I moved there on a credit card,” he says. “I think I had about $1300 left and I used every penny of it. I went to straight to Ikea and got a bunch of furniture and then I bought enough groceries for two months. And then I maxed it out. I spent my last penny buying groceries. And two months later, my first check came in for a song I had written on a Bubba Sparxxx album back in 2001.”

After using the money to pay off some of his debt and his rent, Ryan then took a job as a production assistant on some commercials, as well as a Mary J. Blige video shoot (he got her coffee).

He was then signed and dropped by two different record labels before getting to where he is now. “Things work out if you just keep writing songs,” adds Ryan. “And here we are now … L.A. really gave me everything that I put into it, it gave me back in spades.”

For more information on OneRepublic’s tour — which kicks off May 17 in Las Vegas — and how to get tickets, click here!