OneRepublic frontman and prolific multi-platinum songsmith Ryan Tedder knows a thing or two about publishing credits, having written hits for the likes of Beyonce (“Halo”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”) and Jordin Sparks (“Battlefield”). So what does his expert ear say about Lady Gaga's latest single?
“[Born This Way] is ‘Express Yourself,’” he told THR at the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy gala held on Saturday night, chiming in on what’s already become a heated debate: did Gaga rip off Madonna for her new single? “Me and my wife drove around today and that song came on KIIS-FM every hour on the hour. We were singing ‘Express Yourself’ over the melody! If I wrote ‘Express Yourself’ and I heard that song, I would be calling my manager five minutes later… If Madonna's not getting credit on it, then I would just say, be careful.”
Gaga’s new song, the title track to her forthcoming album, due out in May, was released on February 11 and produced by Fernando Garibay
, whom Tedder calls a “phenomenal producer” and a friend, which is why he also cautions not to jump to any conclusions. “Maybe they credited Madonna, honestly,” Tedder said. “It happens. There are a lot of successful hits out there where you read the liner notes and realize there’s a part of another song. Like Daft Punk:
as individual and unique as they are, their four biggest hits are all samples.” (Stefani Germanotta,
Gaga’s real name, and Jeppe Laursen
are listed as writers for "Born This Way," according to a review posted on Billboard.com
And even if “Born This Way” is somewhat derivative, Tedder adds, it doesn’t diminish his admiration for his labelmate. “I love Gaga, I legitimately do,” he said. “I don't question her individuality or the message of the song… I'm not gonna say it's not a hit -- it’s catchy! Gaga is Gaga, she could sing happy birthday right now.”