Snow Patrol musician Johnny McDaid has described pop star Ed Sheeran as “like a brother” as he spoke about a copyright dispute the pair won earlier this year.
McDaid (45) co-wrote Sheeran’s 2017 hit Shape Of You alongside the 31-year-old, 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 No1 song, the video for which has amassed more than 5bn views on YouTube .
Reflecting on the lengthy ordeal, Derry native McDaid said: “I think we have to look at the systems and ask: are things fair? Are the voices of songwriters being heard? Can we do anything to make the old system more viable?
“Just because there are 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, McDaid 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 have a really unique way of communicating.”
Reflecting on how they first met, he 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 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.”
Despite dividing his time between London and Los Angeles, McDaid 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.”
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.”