Snow Patrol musician Johnny McDaid has described music star Ed Sheeran as “like a brother” as he speaks about a copyright dispute the pair won earlier this year.
McDaid (45) co-wrote the 2017 single, Shape of You, alongside, Sheeran (31), yet the duo faced accusations that they had ripped off 2015 track Oh Why by Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.
A judge concluded in April however, that the pair “neither deliberately nor subconsciously” copied a phrase from Oh Why when writing their worldwide tune – which has amassed over five billion views on YouTube.
Reflecting on the lengthy ordeal, McDaid said: “In terms of the case, it chimes with infrastructure and the way things are set up.
“I spent a long time not making a living song-writing, but writing songs.
“I think we have to look at the systems and ask are things fair? Are the voices of songwriters being heard, and can we do anything to make the old system more viable?
“Just because there’s more songs and more access to the songs, it doesn’t mean that there is more of the result being distributed to songwriters, and I believe we need to talk about that.”
Recalling his close-knit relationship with Sheeran, the Derry native said: “He’s like a brother to me. We’ve lived together and I’ve spent more time with Ed than anybody, and I mean anybody, and I’ve five siblings.
“We’ve a really unique way of communicating.”
Looking back on how they first met, the musician added: “He was opening up for us, and when Snow Patrol go on the road, I bring a studio and put it into the dressing room where I work on music.
“Ed found out about this, and he came to me on the first day of the tour, and said, ‘I’ve got this idea for a song. Do you want to hear it?’
“The second he walked into the room, I knew that I was in the orbit of somebody extraordinary,” said McDaid.
Despite dividing his time between London and Los Angeles – the musician has not forgotten his roots, and admits he was an avid watcher of Derry Girls.
“I’m a fan of the show, and my sister was actually an extra in the last episode – I love it,” he said.
Pressed on whether he was disappointed he did not get to make an appearance as well, he said: “Well a friend of mine did a cameo in the show, and he did a little trick for me. He called his character Sean Óg which is my name in Irish, so I think I got a wink there. He was a musician.
“I do say never to some things, but acting is not one of them,” he said.
The star spent lockdown largely residing in London, while his significant other former Friends actress, Courteney Cox (58) was based in LA.
The pair have been dating since 2013, and discussing their forced time away from one another, he said: “Yes, we were apart as many people were from their families and loved ones during the pandemic, but we were able to stay as connected as we could, and both of us dived into being creative.
“She made her show and a new product line, and I made Bad Habits with Ed, so we were able to stay really productive even if it was tough being apart – and it was tough.”