Johnny McDaid Defends Melody Of Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You'


Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid has echoed Ed Sheeran’s denials that his 2017 hit “Shape Of You” is anything but original.

The songwriters are in a London court this week accused of copyright infringement. Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue allege the melody of their 2015 song “Oh Why” was stolen for “Shape Of You.”

In written evidence, McDaid said he does not “need or want to, nor would I ever, plagiarize other people’s work” and called the idea “abhorrent.”

He, Sheeran and Steven McCutcheon (aka Steve Mac) have been unable to collect millions of dollars in royalties from “Shape Of You” while the case is before the court.

MORE: Ed Sheeran Testifies At "Shape Of You" Copyright Infringement Trial

McDaid said there is “nothing original” about the melodies of either song. “It is a very common melodic structure, in my experience,” he wrote. In court on Tuesday, Sheeran testified that the melody of “Shape Of You” was “fundamentally” similar to the one in “Oh Why” because they are both “based around the minor pentatonic scale [and] they both have vowels in them.”

Sheeran admitted that he suggested changing the “oh I” melody of “Shape Of You” because it was too close to the one in Backstreet’s “No Diggity.” He sang parts of that song, as well as Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” to demonstrate how common the melody is when sung in the same key. Sheeran also said a musicologist suggested changes to “Shape Of You” because it had similar elements to the Bill Withers song “Grandma’s Hands.”

Like Sheeran had before him, McDaid said he did not recall who came up with the “oh I” part, which he described as filler, and insisted he had never heard “Oh Why” prior to writing “Shape Of You.”

Following the release of “Shape Of You,” the writers of TLC’s “No Scrubs” were added as songwriters due to similarities between the songs. McDaid and Sheeran also previously settled a case in which they were accused of plagiarism in their song “Photograph.”

McDaid denied these suggested he was “in the habit of consciously or sub-consciously appropriating the skill and labour of other songwriters during my songwriting and recording sessions.”

The trial continues.

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