“Bleeding Love”

“Bleeding Love”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Ryan Tedder
“Bleeding Love”

Written by Ryan Tedder and Jesse McCartney
Recorded by Leona Lewis

I was introduced to Jesse McCartney by his manager, whom I met through Greg Wells, who was producing Jesse. His manager wanted me to work with him, so we met and I played Jesse some songs. He said that he was taking a new direction for his new album and I went home and started writing.

I always like to deliver at least one hit for anyone I work with. I was getting ready to go to meet Jesse and I didn’t feel like I had that one smash. I write my best songs like this, under pressure. I heard a Hammond B3 organ sound. Jesse had told me that Prince was his biggest influence, so I started thinking, “What would Prince do?” I worked on a repetitious chord change with lots of emotion. I added the drum beat, guitar and strings (I really like strings and use them in all of my records).

I went to the studio with the track and Jesse got it. We knew we had something special; even the engineer was freaking out and it’s not easy to impress an engineer who hears music all day long every day. Jesse and I finished writing the song in a small 9' x 10' room in my apartment in Los Angeles. Lyrically, I wanted something visceral, visual, almost scary. I can’t remember who thought of the title, but we were both captivated with it.

When you’re burned enough in relationships, it takes someone extraordinary to re-open the veins to your heart.

But something happened

For the very first time with you,

My heart melts into the ground,

Found something true.

I was inspired by my wife. I had just gotten married and she was the first person I was able to let my guard down with in a long time.

When Jesse and I finished the song, I thought it was at least as good as “Apologize,” which I’d written a few years before. Although “Apologize” hadn’t been recorded or released yet, I was staking my career on its ultimate success, so the comparison was really saying something.

The demo for “Bleeding Love” sounded great. Jesse is a vocal perfectionist. We took the record to Hollywood Records, Jesse’s label, but they didn’t get it. They didn’t think it was a hit. Two months went by so I pitched it, along with four other songs on one CD, to Simon Cowell’s company and Clive Davis’ company for Leona Lewis. Both of them listened to it and flipped out. I wrote “Take A Bow” for Leona but both Simon and Clive thought that “Bleeding Love” was the first single. No one knew who Leona was yet but I thought she had a great voice and believed she’d be successful.

I knew that Jesse really wanted the song on his album, so before I agreed to give it to Leona, I went back to Jesse’s record company and gave them the opportunity to have it. They still wouldn’t let Jesse release it, so Leona cut it in June 2007. I got to write the video treatment as well.

One Saturday, not long after that, was possibly the craziest day in my career. “Apologize,”
Recorded by my group One Republic, was just coming out and I got a call from Sony that I got the first Jennifer Lopez single for “Do It Well” and that I had Natasha Bedingfield’s first single, “Love Like This.” Three hours later, Simon Cowell called and said that he’d gone over every song on Leona’s album and that “Bleeding Love” was going to be the first single. I had the first singles across the board — and found out all in one day!

“Bleeding Love” came out about two months after “Apologize” and broke my own record for the most radio airplay in a week, and it sold 9 million singles. It seems to be a pattern for me — all of my biggest songs get passed on by record labels before they become hits.

“Bleeding Love”

Closed off from love

I didn’t need the pain,

Once or twice was enough

And it was all in vain.

Time starts to pass

Before you know it you’re frozen.

But something happened

For the very first time with you.

My heart melts into the ground,

Found something true,

And everyone’s looking round

Thinking I’m going crazy.

But I don’t care what they say

I’m in love with you.

They try to pull me away

But they don’t know the truth.

My heart’s crippled by the vein

That I keep on closing.

You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding,

Keep, keep bleeding love.

I keep bleeding

I keep, keep bleeding love.

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

You cut me open

Trying hard not to hear

But they talk so loud

Their piercing sounds fill my ears,

Try to fill me with doubt

Yet I know that the goal

Is to keep me from falling.

But nothing’s greater than the risk that comes with your embrace

And in this world of loneliness

I see your face,

Yet everyone around me

Thinks that I’m going crazy, maybe, maybe.

But I don’t care what they say

I’m in love with you.

They try to pull me away

But they don’t know the truth.

My heart’s crippled by the vein

That I keep on closing.

You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

I keep bleeding

I keep, keep bleeding love,

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

You cut me open

And it’s draining all of me.

Oh, they find it hard to believe.

I’ll be wearing these scars

For everyone to see.

I don’t care what they say

I’m in love with you.

They try to pull me away

But they don’t know the truth.

My heart’s crippled by the vein

That I keep on closing.

You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

I keep bleeding

I keep, keep bleeding love,

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

I keep bleeding

I keep, keep bleeding love

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

You cut me open and I

Keep bleeding

Keep, keep bleeding love.

Words and Music by Jesse McCartney and Ryan Tedder. © 2007 Seven Peaks Music, Jambition Music and Write 2 Live Publishing. All Rights for Jambition Music Administered by Seven Peaks Music. All Rights for Write 2 Live Publishing Administered by Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

More stories from our partners