#50 - Ryan Tedder, Lead Singer of OneRepublic, on supporting your kids' passions and managing their screen time

January 9, 2024
48
 MIN

Episode Summary

This week on The Aro Podcast, Aro Co-Founder Joey sits down with the incredibly talented Ryan Tedder, the frontman of OneRepublic, and a renowned songwriter and producer who's also a long-time friend of Joey's. In this episode, Ryan takes us on a journey from his early piano lessons to sneaking into the piano room in college. He shares pivotal moments that shaped his musical career, including the challenges OneRepublic faced and how they used MySpace to rebound after being dropped by their record label. Ryan and Joey discuss how his parents supported his passions, and Ryan offers insights into how he is nurturing his children's passions today. They also dive into why Ryan decided to invest in Aro and explore his approach to technology within his family, including the boundaries they've set.

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Episode Transcript

Ryan Tedder (00:00):

So the thing that we say to our kids all the time, I said it last night, I said, I don't care how much money you guys ever make or what you do, the only thing I won't tolerate is you not being entirely sold out, passionate about the thing that you pick. And if that takes going through 10 doors, that's fine. I'll be there and I'll look at it all, I'll see it all, hear it all, whatever. But the only thing I care about is that you're passionate about what you do. And I don't give a rat's ass how much money you make doing it because if you're passionate and you're great, get great at something, money will find you. Always.

Joey Odom (00:50):

Welcome back to The Aro Podcast. Hey, it's your good friend, Joey Odom, your old buddy, co-founder of Aro. Hey, we have a doozy today. We have a living legend on the show, Ryan Tedder. I will tell you a little bit about that in just a second. But first, will you do us a huge, huge, huge favor. Will you press pause and will you give us five stars on The Aro Podcast? If you're on Apple Podcast, it's super easy on Spotify. You may have to listen to an episode or two first, but please do give us a five star rating. We want to bring you the best content to help you live out an intentional life. The best guests and ratings go a long way towards that. So will you give us five stars really quickly? I would love and appreciate that so much. Next, we were surprised A couple weeks ago, someone sent to us, several people sent to us a YouTube video from an account called But First, Coffee.

(01:42)
It's run by a woman named Kallie and we had no idea this was coming and she had ordered Aro and then she did a 15 minute review of it. She has over a million followers on YouTube. It was shocking to us. And we get admittedly a little bit nervous when we see those reviews we don't know are coming. But she had a line in there, she was effusive in her praise of Aro and she had a line in there that I've been repeating again and again and again. She said, this silly little box has literally changed my life. What a review. We're going to link to that review in the show notes here. If you want to go check that out and go follow Kallie on YouTube, follow her also on Instagram. And if you are interested in learning more about the silly little box, please just go to goaro.com, follow us on Instagram @goaronow.

(02:29)
We would love it if you would say the same thing that this silly little box has changed your life. We all know what happens when you change your relationship with your phone. You change your relationship with everyone around you. Now, today's show, like I said, living legend Ryan Tedder, you have heard probably today a song that Ryan Tedder has either written, produced or sung. He's a lead singer, OneRepublic. He is a super good guy, very, very funny, super engaging. And this went a direction I'd hoped it would and it definitely did. And it really went to his story. It went back to a theme of parenting and what, when you see an interest your child has at a young age, obviously his was music, what do you do as a parent to help develop that? And what's neat about Ryan's is he was just able to be a kid.

(03:17)
Now this was the eighties, and so we didn't have smartphones, we didn't have iPads. So he was able to explore the world around him, seek boredom and find out the creative things that come from that. And then it goes from there into his ascent in the music world. And by the way, Ryan has three Grammys, 90 billion streams. Just Google real quick Google songs Ryan Tedder has written. You'll be shocked by how many of these songs that you know and how many are such huge hits. But when we talk about his rise in the music industry and what happens when you have a goal and have determination, he talks about how he loves failure, how he has learned to love failure. And I love this line that he said. He said, I don't believe in Plan Bs. So when he had a goal, he knew he was going to go get it.

(04:04)
He knew he was going to go manifest that. And then at the very end, the last 10 minutes or so, we talk about he and his wife's philosophy on technology for their kids, their 13-year-old and their 9-year-old. This was so enlightening to me the way they approach it, their view on that. You're absolutely going to love this. So this was a story of success. This is a story of failure. This is a story of ascent. This is a story of parenting. I think no matter where you are in the continuum, maybe you're just a fan of OneRepublic and Ryan Tedders work. No matter where you sit, you are going to love this episode. For now, just sit back, relax, and enjoy my great conversation with Ryan Tedder

(04:54)
Gang. This guy has ascended from the halls of Timco Barton to the halls of the greatest music venues across the world. He had the bravery to walk away from a promising career and benefits at Pottery Barn to pursue music because this jinx Trojan refused to waste any of his talent. And you know what they say about kids from Oklahoma? Man, they don't waste it. Early on, he made MySpace his space and today he's been accused of making tiktoks like a dad, which makes sense because he's the father of this generation's biggest hits riding for all of the stars on the planet, including Bono sirs Paul and Elton Queen Bee, and even Travis Kelsey's girlfriend when he is not playing pickup basketball and cargo shorts. He's picking up Grammys. In fact, he has 90 billion streams, three Grammys, two sons, and one ORUA league intramural soccer championship ring that he wears everywhere he goes. If you think he looks like an angel, you can see his halo. If you're feeling concerned, he ain't worried about it. And if you're regretful bad news, it's too late to apologize. And if you're quantifying celebrities, I'm counting one star right now, he's called himself the tortoise, not the hare, but I call him the tortoise with great hair. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the Aro podcast, Mr. Ryan Tedder.

Ryan Tedder (06:14):

Quite the intro.

Joey Odom (06:16):

What do you think?

Ryan Tedder (06:17):

Yeah, love it. Love it. Man. Is the halls of Timco Barton. I was there last week. I was there last week.

Joey Odom (06:23):

Were you really?

Ryan Tedder (06:24):

In the halls of Timco Barton? I popped into the campus for like 30 minutes. Unbelievable. Just to nose around and crept into the piano rooms and it's identical. It's good to see that. I don't think they've done anything to it.

Joey Odom (06:36):

They haven't changed a bit. I got to admit, I got a little bit of help from our friends, Dave and Adam on some of those fact toys there. So do you still play? Adam wants to know. Do you still play pickup basketball and cargo shorts?

Ryan Tedder (06:49):

Man, I sadly have not owned cargo shorts. My wife made me retire those around. I want to say 2008. Oh seven. Oh eight. There you

Joey Odom (06:58):

Go. Now I get it. Well, no one balled like you like that. You're a great athlete. People know you musically, but you are a great athlete and thus the A-League Inal Championship in soccer. So just quick to start off, Ryan, when you were playing at Jason Shepherd's home in Sun Meadow, did you think you would ever make it to the Aro podcast? Did you think?

Ryan Tedder (07:21):

I don't know how you pulled that one. That's insane. That's beyond Wikipedia, Jason Shepherd. That's

Joey Odom (07:26):

Pretty good. Oh, of course. Well beyond Wikipedia. I went the dark web for that. No, that was dark web

Ryan Tedder (07:31):

Knowledge. Yeah, that's the North Korea info. Yeah, no, I ruminated on the possibilities and I definitely, let's just say that I've been quietly manifesting since 87.

Joey Odom (07:45):

Well, you had dreams. No, I appreciate that. Quietly manifesting. I love it. So I want to talk for, thank you for joining us. I want to talk about your story. We have a lot of parents, a lot of people with high aspirations who listen. And so as I thought through your story, I want to think through the fact that you had a goal, the adversity you've overcome, which is a bunch, and what you do with your success. So to start, in the early years, you were a great musician very early on. Will you talk a little bit about your relationship with music at a very, very young age?

Ryan Tedder (08:19):

Yeah, so I grew up around music. My dad was a musician and a gospel songwriter back in the seventies and wrote a lot of songs that were in that world known and popular in the, I'd say call it mid to late seventies. So I grew up, my earliest memories having a grand piano in the house and I was like a lot of kids forced to take piano lessons from an early age, starting at age, I think three is when I started taking piano. And so it was just always a part of my daily repertoire. It was like soccer. I played all the sports and every other kid in Oklahoma, there's not much to do, so you're going to play all the sports. And a lot of the extracurricular activities were off the menu for me. So partying and drinking and all that other stuff was just not on the menu of how we were raised.

(09:21)
And I have no siblings. So I had unlimited time coupled with an innate love of music. And honest to God, I was just telling my kid last night, I'm so glad I grew up without social media because I don't think I'd be here. I mean, maybe I would've been here faster. That's completely devil's advocate because my kids can already produce tracks and make beats and do crazy stuff that I couldn't do. But I just think the flip side of that coin is the distraction would I have actually developed into who I was. I was flat out bored. So I was telling him, I was like, when I'd get home, I had three things to do. TV or watch one of the 20 movies we had again and tv, which is usually hijacked by my parents. So that was off menu, that's number one. Number two, read a book.

(10:12)
I loved reading, which led to songwriting. So I would read a ton. And then number three was the piano in the living room, figure out another song. And so I would go through different phases of obsession with piano. And I really didn't get obsessed though until the lessons stopped and we fired our piano teacher. I was just sick of having these people learn this, do this, do that. The moment we fired the last guy, I sat down by myself and started just picking out melodies and things that I wanted to hear and then got a guitar, got a drum kit when I was 13, played drums for hours every day and then got a guitar when I was 16, 17, taught myself guitar and then bass in college. And then to summarize it quick, I know we don't have much time. Basically I got a degree I put in air quotes in advertising and marketing, but in all reality, when I switched majors my junior year, I was like, what will be the most cakewalk degree that I can get a's get good grades in so I have time.

(11:23)
I didn't broadcast this so I have time to sneak into the piano rooms. In Timco Barton, you have to be a piano major to use those rooms. I was never a piano major. I spent more time in there than most piano majors, but I figure forgiveness is easier than permission, especially at the collegiate level. So I just would tape paper over the window so the teacher couldn't look in and see that I wasn't one of her students. And I would play, I probably did two to three hours a day, I'd say I feel like four days, four or five days a week for the majority of the four years that we were at college. So I put in just about as much time in the piano rooms writing as I did sitting in class and I loved it. So that's it. That's kind of what led me to here. And I put in 10,000 hours, by the time I graduated college, I easily clocked 10,000, auditioned for a show on MTV and made it. And that was kind of, that's it.

Joey Odom (12:20):

I want to talk about the MTV show. Tell a quick story on that. But back to your parents, this sounded like this was very led by you. I think you see a lot of parents now, they're almost trying to impose a bunch on their kids and force them into something versus this is something you had. So what did your parents do along the way to help and maybe for parents listening, when you see something, a particular interest in your kid, what can they do to foster that? What did your parents do that helped kind of breathe that in you, if at all?

Ryan Tedder (12:50):

It's funny. Yeah, that's a funny question because I'm not going to throw 'em under the bus, aside from

Joey Odom (12:56):

The, it feels like you're about to throw them under the

Ryan Tedder (12:58):

Bus. It feels like I'm about to throw 'em under the bus. Aside from the piano and the prerequisite piano lessons, I'd say that's what they did for me is they forced me to learn piano half the time against my will. Sometimes I'd liked it, sometimes I didn't. The last thing you want to hear your kids say, well, it's funny, I would be stoked to hear my kids say this, but what is, especially in Oklahoma, you have to understand context. I didn't grow up in Los Angeles. My head was in LA from the time I was 10, but I didn't grow up here. And so with the way that I was wired, and if I have any skillset outside of music, it's like reading, retaining data, information, statistics and facts and figures and those kinds of things. And then arguing them. My mom was like, he's going to be an attorney.

(13:49)
He's going to be an attorney. This kid can read a book and then whip out some type of random fact and win a case. She was already kind of in her mind mapping it out. I had no interest in that. I really wanted to go into acting or music and acting, funny enough was my passion, what I thought I was going to do before music. And then I realized one day that actors for the most part don't write their own scripts and they're replaceable. And once I realized, oh, I forget what movie it was, but it was a movie that was remade and I was in love with the movie that had come out and I was like, oh, this movie's incredible. And then my dad was like, yeah, I remember the original one. And I was like, what? I remember that a light bulb went off and I went, wait a minute.

(14:32)
So I'm obsessed with this movie and this guy didn't exist. Biggest actor in 1965 doesn't exist now. Doesn't exist. The whole cast doesn't exist. It's like Oceans 11 is a great example, right? Oceans 11 is incredible. Brad Pitt and blah, blah, blah. No, it's not. It's the rat pack completely. It's a remake. So that really dimmi my desire to go to pursue acting. I was like, no, I want to write my own script. My parents, they didn't discourage me, right? My dad was for sure more into the idea. He was a songwriter at some point, and I would say they didn't squash it. So the best thing that they did was, and I was like, Hey, you're the one who forced me to play piano. Don't get sideways on me. This was inevitable. It could have happened If you remove the Tulsa component Midwest, and that's for just parents in general, I think the biggest mistake parents can make is they look around their circle in Minneapolis or Ogden, Utah or Oregon or Maine, and they go, no, that's not what people here do.

(15:38)
The odds are, so I don't want, parents just don't want their kids to fail. So the thing that we say to our kids all the time, I said it last night, I said, I don't care how much money you guys ever make or what you do, the only thing I won't tolerate is you not being entirely sold out, passionate about the thing that you pick. And if that takes 10, going through 10 doors, that's fine. I'll be there and I'll look at it all, I'll see it all, hear it all, whatever. But the only thing I care about is that you're passionate about what you do. And I don't give a rat's ass how much money you make doing it because if you're passionate and you're great, get great at something, money will find you always flat out. And that's like trash collecting, man. You end up running waste management. I don't care. I'm so agnostic about or snobby about what you picked to do. I really don't care.

Joey Odom (16:34):

Yeah. Well, I think again, that's back to the end again, I struggle with this, my two kids is this thing. It's almost imposing my stuff on them versus what do you love? And that's a hard thing to get to. One, you have to be a good listener to your kids to find out what they love and then support them in that. I love that. So for you, when you made that transition and you said, okay, I'm going to go after music, what did you set out? This may be an odd question, what did you set out to do? What at that moment you said, I'm going to go pursue music. This is what my goals are, this is what the greatest life looks like for me in music,

Ryan Tedder (17:06):

There's a gap between, and I feel like this is always the case. For the most part, I'm a big believer in manifest destiny and manifesting things and don't assign, I don't ascribe necessarily a spiritual, I think there is a can be a spiritual aspect to it, but I don't necessarily ascribe that to it. There's a delta between what I will broadcast about what I want to do and what in my mind is, but this would be cool too. One thing that I've lived my life by religiously is very old adage or story, but the whole boy who cried wolf thing there some point when I was a kid that I remember my mom chastising me about something. I was like, I forget what it was. I was probably eight or nine and I was in some loop of talking about a certain thing. And I don't even remember the context that well, but I remember her saying, be careful.

(18:08)
You don't want to be the boy who cried wolf. And I was like, what is that? And she explained that to me. It's like the guy, the person who talks about something all the time, makes claims this happened or I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do that. And then it's all sizzle without the stake, as my stepdad would say, all sizzle, no stake. And it's funny the things that trigger you as a kid, but that really triggered me. And I was like, well, I am not going to be that kid. I was like, Ooh, screw that person. I don't want to be that person. I hate that characteristic as an adult. I hate that character's. One of my handful of triggers, personality triggers is somebody who talks a great game and then just doesn't follow it.

(18:50)
So I determined from a young age, whatever I say, if I start talking about something, and anyone that ever was a roommate of mine or a friend of mine can say this to the day that since the day they met me, if you hear him talking about something, it's not if it's win. And so once I started saying I'm going into music, which is probably sophomore, junior years when I really started to be a little more open about it. Once that happened, I knew it was going to happen. But I would say, because the safe thing to say is I want to be a successful songwriter. That's a great, and by the way, great job. If you can get it, you're low key. You don't get stopped in Starbucks and noticed in airports and hotels, you can make really good money if you're great at it.

(19:38)
And I also knew that that would take me to Los Angeles by way of Nashville. I was two years in Nashville in New York and then came to la. So I would say that for me it was speaking, that's what I would speak. I would say I want to be a songwriter. Little did everyone know, little did anyone but the girls I was dating know those are the only ones I would show that I was quietly sing. I could sing my ass off. So I maintained that for a while and I was happy to do just the songwriter thing and be a songwriter, producer, whatever. And by the way, I'd still be happy if that's the only thing that worked out. But when I was in Nashville and I saw that MTV audition thing, I was like, this is for a reason. I was working at Planet Hollywood and they're like, no employees are allowed to work.

(20:27)
I was training, I was on my day three and I saw the sign when I left, I go, what's that? I was like, the talent search, M-T-V-T-R-L. And a guy goes, oh yeah, yeah, we're hosting it Sunday, we're hosting it four days, but you're not allowed. No one that works here is allowed to audition. And I looked at him, I go, why? And he goes, it's something. It's complicated, but it's off limits. I go, dude, I'm sorry, I quit. Here's my apron as a manager. He goes, what? I literally took the apron off and I go, I quit. And he was like, what are you talking about? He was so pissed, man. And I didn't even come back to pick up my check. I was just like, I'm out. And then entered on Sunday. I ended up on TRL two weeks later, and that's when my parents found out.

(21:13)
My mom and dad did not know. My stepsister did not know, I didn't tell anyone that I was going to New York to be on TRL. I didn't tell my roommates. I didn't know if I was going to go back to college again. Boy who cried wolf. I was so committed to that lifestyle of do what you say you're going to do or shut up. And so I take it religiously. So for me, when I ended up on tv, my phone blew up later, my mom, everyone going, what? You're in New York? They didn't even know I went to New York. I didn't tell anyone. It was just me. I can't even, that's amazing. I think that's it. I really don't even know who else I told. I just hopped on a plane, went to New York, did the thing, and then won.

Aro Member (22:07):

I notice my children in slow motion in real life. I feel like I'm really able to notice when the sunlight catches my daughter's eyelashes and her hair is glowing, or if I'm watching my son play with his trucks. And just the intensity in his eyes and the way his little hands work and watching his knuckles and the tiniest little details. And I feel like I've been able to kind of catch a piece of my life in slow motion instead of just reviewing it on my phone at the end of the day, which is wonderful. I think that having a phone that can capture those moments truly in slow motion and be able to review them down years down the road, but also in real time is just, I've literally got goosebumps all over me right now because it's it.

Joey Odom (22:50):

We love hearing stories from the Aro community. The one you just heard actually comes from our Voices of Aro episodes where I sit down with Aro members and they share about their stories and their lives with Aro. Make sure to check out the Voices of Aro episodes, and if you're a member who would like to share your own story with Aro, please email us@storiesatgoaro.com.

(23:15)
So I remember my mom, I was at my friend's house. My mom called my friend's house, this was before cell phones. And she said, Ryan Tedders on MTV right now. You have to turn it over there right now. And I turned over. And by the way, I know you disavowed the song. I think that song's Hot Fire. I still love the look. Honestly, I watched that old clip from this morning. I watched 2000, the look, Lance Bass was there and Dave Holmes and Pink and Brian McKnight. I mean, what a great, and you crushed it. And then I watched, I remember watching, so you think You Can Dance and then when someone is dancing and then Apologize comes on. And that was when it first hit the scene. But in between there, after you won the TRL contest, you picked up by Columbia Records and then you got dropped.

(24:01)
And I'm curious about this moment of adversity because here you are manifesting all of these great things. Here you are with a goal, you have certainty of where you're going, and then you're at the top of the world. Then all of a sudden your legs get cut out from under you. So I want to hear about that moment of how you overcame that adversity, knowing where your sights were set and then how you've translated that into other situations where you've faced disappointment and where you're climbing up a hill and you have to overcome the disappointment, discouragement, adversity, all that stuff.

Ryan Tedder (24:34):

Yeah. So I mean, quite simply put, I've never believed, I mean another quote that I've been saying, not realizing that I didn't make it up. I saw Schwartzenegger say it the other day on Instagram, but since I was in high school, I've said, I don't believe in Plan Bs. It's plan A. And if plan A blows up in my face, I will pivot in real time, but I'm not going to sit around talking about plan B. I'm not a Navy Seal needing to figure out an alternate extraction point. You know what I mean? There's a time and a place to have plan A, B, and C, and I understand all that. But as far as passion, it's like I knew I wanted to go into music, so there was no plan B and any iteration of doing music professionally, I would've been happy with. That's the truth.

(25:23)
There was a point in 2006, this is after we got dropped, I'd just gotten married and I went from having a record deal and thinking things were going to blow up to getting dropped, but they also dropped Katy Perry, Jonas Brothers, all in the same month. Columbia did. Oh, great idea. So yeah, great idea. A stellar year. I played Coachella and found out I got dropped the next week and I was finally making good money though, doing original songs from movies and tv, and I was, yes, I was Mr. Yes, say Yes until you can afford to say No. I was taking in all the work that I could and all of a sudden making a doctor's income in 2006 and seven. And I say that to say that as a songwriter, that's a big W. That's a huge win if you can do that at age, I was in my mid twenties and married and I was comfortable for the first time.

(26:28)
I was like, Ooh, we could probably afford a house. We could probably get a work condo at the least and ruminating on all those things. But at the same time, concurrently when I got dropped, I thought, okay, I have the song apologize, and I have the song Stop and Stare, and I think they're hits. I could be wrong, I could be wrong, but there was this new thing that had come out that had just exploded called MySpace, and it was the precursor to obviously Facebook, even though that was simul concurrently, but it blew up faster than it was TikTok. It's TikTok of 2006 seven. MySpace is TikTok. So I said on the back of MySpace, music was a big part of MySpace. There was three charts on the back. I just click MySpace music, click it and it would say unsigned independent or major label signed artist.

(27:21)
We were on the major label category buried at the bottom, and I said to the band, I'm going to take these two songs, which we technically didn't own. Columbia still owned. I'm going to put them on us on the unsigned category. Let, this is MySpace. Social media is the great democratizer of ideas and ultimately the world let the world decide if this music is great or not. And if the world decides that these songs aren't great, I'm okay with that resignation, otherwise screw 'em. So we put apologize and stop stare on there. Within three months. We were the number one unsigned artist in the world and we just flew up the charts. I remember Colby Klay bubbly to put a drop, a pin in the time she was number one. Colby Klay bubbly, who I knew really well. She was a 16-year-old girl hanging around the studio up in Thousand Oaks when we were recording our demos.

(28:15)
She was in the room all the time just hanging out with us. She was friends with the engineer and the producer, and so she watched us record, apologized, stop and say all those songs. So it was kind of funny, Steve, number one, and I texted her and I was like, Hey, you technically just got signed, you're assigned. I was like, Colby, I remember sitting. I was like, I love you. I'm so happy for you. But you've been sitting at number one for five months in the unsigned category and you've been signed for the last four months. And so you asked her to get, there we're number two. I asked her, I was like, is there any chance you could just switch to sign so we could have a shot and ring the bell? Amazing. She switches over and we go number one, and then every label called including the label that dropped us.

(28:54)
And at that point, I still didn't think I'm afraid to speak absurd manifestations, even though I might think them. So I remember telling my wife, it's not going to work. Don't get hyped. I'm not. She's like, why aren't you more excited about getting a new record? Old Interscope? I was like, too much disappointment. And I was emotionally detached from that because failure is thick skin and the thicker your skin, the less you feel pain. So that was the beginning of beginning to embrace failure and loving failure and loving failure. Just flipping it on. Yeah, loving failure and flipping on its head because failure to me is that's a version that's jet fuel for me. That's absolute jet fuel. It just depends on how you're wired, but the tuck tail and go home and sulk and complain and oh my God, that's just, I'm not wired that way.

(29:49)
So if I fail, I go, man, how much better it's going to feel when I win? And these people see it. It's like you watch that Jordan documentary, he would create false scenarios in his mind. Somebody made a joke about my mom on the court last night and he would tell himself that to get him to ramp up the next day mentally. So I years ago, learned to take those failures. Someone telling me, you're not a star, you'll never be a successful lead singer. I still remember those words and who said 'em like good songwriter, but we'll never sell as an artist and all these things and people passing on bleeding love and telling me to my face, it's not a hit. Bleeding love is not a hit. Counting stars is not a hit. And so I take those things and it's just adding, like I said, it's like adding high octane jet fuel for me personally. And I go, cool, let's talk in a year. Let's talk in a year. I love that. I can't wait to see you at some random coffee shop when this song is a smash. And I just smile. I'm not going to say I told you so I'm just going to smile. Yeah,

Joey Odom (30:57):

Sure. I'll

Ryan Tedder (30:58):

Remember. That's it

Joey Odom (31:01):

Exactly. I always, you hear Tom Brady later in his, when he was in his prime, he would say to the guys around, Hey, nobody's given us a chance. Nobody believes in us. And I remember hearing that and saying, dude, what are you talking about? Everybody's giving you a chance. But to your point, you have to create those even when you're on top to keep that hunger, that walk on

Ryan Tedder (31:18):

Mentality. You have to live in an underdog bubble and keep that bubble intact, and that thing will keep you hungry and keep you pushing. The second you are smelling your own roses and believe that you've arrived. It does something funny to your brain and you're no longer, I mean, we're still all animals in a way, right? And the second a wildebeest gets comfortable out in the plains is the second something's coming for it. So that's just the way I think of it.

Joey Odom (32:00):

Okay. You're being very generous with your time. I wanted to ask a quick question. You've hit success. Four more questions. The first one is, when you hit success, did it taste like you thought it was going to taste? When that first pinch me moment happened, did it taste like you always dreamed it would, or was it still I still got to stay hungry? Did you give yourself a moment to enjoy and savor that time whenever you hit?

Ryan Tedder (32:29):

Yeah, I got the drunkest. I've ever been at an Irish bar in Chicago with my band and I happened act like it's unfortunately run into a group of three or four Irishmen and a girl from Dublin in Chicago who knew who we were. We had just gone gold or platinum with our verse album, and I had apologized was the number one song in the world. We broke every streaming or airplay record. I knew at that point I was going to have more money than I knew what to do with. And I just remember that day. Then I'll zoom out specifically. Oh, we knew. Yeah, we definitely smelled the roses that day. The whole band. We had the funniest, most insane night ever in Chicago till four in the morning celebrating Do not go getting drunk is I absolutely avoid it at all costs these days especially.

(33:26)
But if you ever do have drinks, do not have them with an Irishman do not, because they straight up, I'll never forget, they go drink's on us, but you have to go toe to toe. And I said, oh man, I can handle it. Nope. I was, no, it was horrible. So I was probably 28, so that ruined the next couple of days. But zooming out, I would say for probably about a six month period, I was extremely elated and grateful at the same time. I was like, cool, now I just got to do it again. It was never about the money once made. I was doing well enough prior to apologizing those songs that I remember thinking again, we can buy the house, we can be comfortable, we can have a good life now we can have kids. I can get actually own a car.

(34:12)
The money was ancillary. It was really, this is what I want to do for a living, but I love it so much, I want to keep doing it. So I did stop and smell the roses, but then I got right back on the horse. I think I probably took off as I recall, we were on tour. I took off one or two, one or two maybe one month on tour. And for the first time in four or five years, just played video games. That was my celebration. We were on the tour bus. We had an Xbox. I played Halo and Bond and I literally played video games. I love, that's if I'm really relaxing, I'm playing Call of Duty or Assassins Cree. And I played games for a month and I didn't do a song for one month. I'd been writing for seven, eight years nonstop. And that was my way of celebrating. I'm not writing this month, I'm playing games. And so that's it. But then I went on to the next challenge and then kept it moving. That's

Joey Odom (35:03):

Amazing. Quick question, obviously this is, The Aro Podcast is all about inspiring people, giving 'em the tools to live out an intentional life. So we don't do many commercials at all for ourselves, but you're an investor in Aro, you were early on board with us, and I just would love to hear from you, what is it about, what was it about the concept of Aro that drew you into the idea of the concept, the business and led you to a point of putting a bit of money in?

Ryan Tedder (35:33):

The concept to me was Aro was the physical manifestation of what we were already doing and practicing at our home. So our kids have very capped, limited screen time. When I get home, my kids are talking to me not on the phone. It's like when I walk into meetings, if I'm at home, if I'm at a meal phone usually is either in the pocket or it's face down. It's that dopamine trigger when it lights up, who is it this time? So our kids have limited screen time. Our kids, I have a 13-year-old, 9-year-old, and he probably thanks me or his mom once a month or if not once a week, for not letting him be on TikTok or Instagram or any social media. And he's 13, he's the only friend he has that does not have an account.

(36:33)
Our 9-year-old, obviously we let a monkey around with YouTube shorts, but even that is like you got 20 minutes in a day. So we were already, unfortunately from my line, I, as I told you before we did the podcast, I said, I might be your worst person to have on because my line of work, I have to be accessible in real time most of the time. It's not a eight hour a day, 40 hour a week job. I have people hitting me, I have songwriters in London. I'll have writers that are traveling around the world or in Australia and artists that are Tate McCrae being in Berlin and going, oh crap, I don't have the TV edit of greedy or ex's. And then that could land in my text thread. And then Ryan, I know for sure Ryan has it and it's 9:30 PM I'm getting ready for bed.

(37:35)
So I still have to be, that's part of unfortunately in this line of work, winning. And they don't respect weekends because by the way, when I'm on tour, dude, I don't know what day it is. I have no clue what day it's, I get texts from Lil Nass X fairly consistently. If I get a text from him, it's between six and 7:30 AM on a Sunday. He just has weird hours. He has weird hours, man. Text me at 7:00 AM WID, what are you doing? Are you around today? Miley Cyrus, same deal. What are you doing today? I'm like, it's Sunday. Oh, cool. Can you go into the studio today? So remove me from the situation. I'm not wishing that on my kids or my wife.

(38:22)
And I've look, there's always room for improvement, but I've gotten really good at going, it's just like a reaction. I walk into a place, I'm going to a dinner tonight with friends. I know that unless I'm physically in the bathroom, we all do the same thing in the bathroom. It's like standing at the ural and you're like, oh, what's going on? Although until you drop one in the urinal, which I've done, no, boy, no. But even to prove a point, I'll sometimes leave it face down. And even if I'm going to get water, go to the bathroom, not bringing it with me. So I practice that in my own life as much as I can. We're way more regimented with our kids and our family and we want people to know that when they're with us, they're with us and they're not partially with us, that they're actually with us.

(39:15)
And in this day and age, that is almost impossible. And when you have Apple watches now too, I love Apple watches and I wear them when it's useful, but I can't do it at home because I just noticed after months and months I'd be like you, it's check it, it's going off doing a thing. And then you're sitting around going, wait, do I have arrhythmia? Do I have hypertension? Is my blood oxygen level? All right? And it's like all this stuff, it's just too much. So everything is just too much. We got to tamp it down. So I think what you guys have built is it was just reflective of what we were already doing, doing slash attempting to do at home. And I can say that it's made a massive difference with our kids.

(40:10)
The amount of reports we get from teachers, principals, parents of other students. The commentary we get is so consistent and so frequent about how mature present, not triggered, not reactive. Our kids are, and I see kids that come over and friends and it literally breaks my heart who are so addicted to social media. The dopamine kicks so addicted that they can't even hang out. It's like you physically have to remove it from their hands to go be a kid, go outside. Here's a pool, here's a Nerf gun, whatever. Just go exist. I saw this wonderful meme the other day I posted, it's like obviously it was sarcastic, but it was Bill Eilish brother Finneas, who's a friend of mine, posted this thing and I repost a lot of this stuff. We have the same sense of humor. He was like, everyone, make sure to get in as much screen time as possible right now as much as you can because when you're dead, you can't be on screen anymore and you'll wish you had spent more time while you were alive. It's so true. We're going to miss it. Something. I'm butchering it, but you're going to miss it as much screen time as you can now because when you're dead, there's no more screen time. And it was like, oh my God, that is the funniest. It's so

Joey Odom (41:41):

Accurate. It's so amazing. And I mean, look, that's our full circle moment from the beginning of the episode of you saying you were able to be a kid. You were able to find that passion inside of you. You're able to kind of figure those things out for yourself because you were bored, because you didn't have those distractions. Because I mean, honestly, piano can't really compare it to the dopamine hits you get with all that stuff that's being fed to you on TikTok. Those are just so darn interesting and compelling. So this is, that's that full circle.

Ryan Tedder (42:09):

Yeah, I would say that the 2024 way of reinforcing positive behavior and possibly not steering, but helping guide or encourage what your kids want to do is we're all animals and Pavlov's dog, that whole syndrome, that whole methodology, it's backed by reality, reinforce pause, behavior, don't reinforce negative behavior. So for us, it's like we cap screen time, like create a lot of parents just now they use it so their kids can check out and they don't bother them, which is sad. But we have hardcore screen time locked on our kids' devices. Our kid didn't get a phone until he was 13. Even that he was the youngest. Oh, for sure. The oldest friend he had without a phone. We monitor everything that they see and do. The amount of apps they can't touch is ridiculous. And what I do is if our oldest or youngest is fascinated by something or curious or passionate about something, history, architecture, music, then I will throw money at that.

(43:27)
Right? You're interested in music, cool. Here's I'm downloading logic for you and Ableton, and you can access YouTube for tutorials. We will unlock it for this unlimited. You can dive into, can dive into this rabbit hole as deep as you want to go. And I'll reinforce it. I'll help buy you the apps, the necessary equipment, the gear. So when our kids are fascinated by something and it's a healthy obsession, we will all of a sudden, that water hose that you're got your hand on, you're keeping it at a trickle with phone time, screen time, social media, all that. We'll go like that and we'll pour the water on that.

(44:08)
And to me that's I think the best way. Sports is obviously a good one. Athletic things is a great one. Our kids got into karate. We got a karate teacher. They do it four days a week now for two years, and our 13-year-old is infinitely better. I was in good shape. He's in the best 13-year-old shape I think you could be in. And it's just trying to, the kids might want to be interested in 10 different things in a month. Nine of them are a waste of time. One of them though. One of them. Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, let's pour some water on that and reinforce that a little bit. And then it's like reward again, Pavlov's dog. It's like, okay, you also kind of want more screen time and dopamine. Well, here's some YouTube videos and tutorials and here's some documentaries and things that we will let you watch because the internet is wildly powerful and super useful as long as it's used correct, as long as it's used correctly. Screens are useful if they're used correctly, like anything, there's a good way to do it in a bad way to do it. But that's how we reinforce. I love it. Positive data. I love it.

Joey Odom (45:17):

That's so strong. I appreciate you leading the way, man. Thank you for all of, it's going to sound a little bit cheesy, but I mean it, thanks for all, not just your presence, but the beauty you bring in the world through your music, the music you allow other people to sing, that you produce, that you write. Thank you for what you're doing. Thank you for using your God-given abilities to make the world better and more beautiful. Appreciate you, brother.

Ryan Tedder (45:41):

Same to you, man. And I appreciate you and this has been fun, coining Nia. Yeah, man, it's

Joey Odom (45:46):

Been great time. Thank you, brother.

(45:58)
Hey, I told you at the top of the show that was going to be a parenting masterclass and it definitely was for me. And think about it as busy as he is still prioritizing and being intentional on the areas that are important for him, for his family, for his kids. And by the way, just a quick caveat, if you're watching this on YouTube, he was drinking a canned water, not a beer, it was 10 o'clock when we recorded. So I promise you he was not drinking a beer. He is sitting outside, got his sunglasses on with the sun hitting him in the face. What a great conversation. And I want to leave you with something that he said, actually two things. First thing he said, he said, the 2024 way of reinforcing positive behavior is managing your devices. It's so true that this is the year we're in, we're in 2024, and that's how we reinforce the things we want for ourselves and for our kids.

(46:45)
Then secondly, and this is just a good note for all of us. When we're with somebody else, with his family, he said, we want people to know that when they're with us, they're with us, not partially with us. It's a great note. It's hard to do that, but it's important to be cognizant of it and just make a little bit of a change. So today, for anybody listening, when you're with somebody next, do your best to be fully with them. Set your phone aside. If you have an Aro box, put your phone in Aro. If you're not an Aro member, just go put it away for just a second and be fully with that person. Hey, if you love this episode, will you give it five stars? Will you subscribe? Will you share? We would love that. We can't wait to see you again next week on The Aro Podcast. The Aro Podcast is produced and edited by the team at Palm Tree Pod co. Special thanks to Emily Miles for video and digital support and to our executive producer, Aro's own, Katelyn Farley.