“Finding a house, much less a studio, in L.A. is like a full-time job,” says Ryan Tedder, known not only for being the face of hit-making pop band OneRepublic but also for writing songs (think Beyoncé’s “Halo” and Adele’s “Rumor Has It”) and producing for countless music icons. “It takes forever and it’s damn near impossible.” Tedder had three simple yet apparently difficult requirements when he started the hunt to move his work from Denver to West Hollywood.
One: space. Lots of it. “In a recording studio, air is your friend” for sound absorption, he explains. “If someone’s doing a crazy hip-hop record in one room and in the next is some Beyoncé ballad, you can’t have bleed-over.”
Two: sunshine. “I wanted it to feel like the opposite of every recording studio anybody’s ever been to,” says Tedder. “The irony is I actually hate recording studios. They’re impersonal and clinical, with zero natural sunlight. You don’t know what time of day it is; they’re depressing, and I think that leads to all kinds of other nastiness.”
Three: proximity. As in a five-minute drive to his family’s 1959 midcentury home in Beverly Hills, and within a mile of “ground zero for pop culture,” a.k.a. Melrose Avenue. Tedder’s previous studio in Denver had begun to feel like an island. “I wanted to be where the new upcoming artists stay in hotels and where my favorite restaurants are.”
The search stretched on. Ultimately, when the star of NBC’s Songland found “the most geographically perfect place” with a rooftop for taking breaks, tons of glass, a large backyard, and four spacious bedrooms, it took a handwritten letter of appeal to win the bid. “It was weird, like, ‘Hey, I work with Paul McCartney.’ I was pretty honest with the notable guys who would be coming through here. And session one was Sir Paul, before we even had soundproofing up. I used pillowcases for sound protection.”
After an “ex–Chicago fireman the size of a house” expertly soundproofed the studio, Tedder and his longtime interior design collaborator Carolyn Morris, of Alvarez Morris Architectural Studio—along with her husband, architect Carlos Alvarez, and Tedder’s wife, Genevieve—went to town re-creating the vibe of late ’60s/early ’70s L.A. They drew inspiration from the recent Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. “I’ve been obsessed with that era of Hollywood since I was a kid,” says Tedder, who sought an authentic boho Laurel Canyon feel that felt comfortable for his collaborators. Eighty to 90 percent of the furniture they sourced—the majority at L.A.’s Lucca Antiques and Lawson-Fenning—is original vintage.