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Johnny McDaid

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Johnny McDaid
McDaid performing with Snow Patrol at Rock am Ring 2018
McDaid performing with Snow Patrol at Rock am Ring 2018
Background information
Birth nameJohn McDaid
Born (1976-07-24) 24 July 1976 (age 47)
Derry, Northern Ireland
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Guitar
  • piano
  • vocals
Years active1994–present
Member ofSnow Patrol
Formerly ofVega4
Partner(s)Courteney Cox

John McDaid (born 24 July 1976)[1] is a singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer from Northern Ireland.[2] He is a member of the band Snow Patrol and has written songs with artists including Ed Sheeran, P!nk, and Robbie Williams.

Early life


One of seven children of John and Pauline McDaid,[1] McDaid attended St Brigid's Primary School,[3] Carnhill,[1] and St Columb's College.[1]



McDaid was the singer and songwriter of the band Vega4, whose second album You and Others was produced by Jacknife Lee. Its first single, "Life Is Beautiful", was featured on the US Contemporary Radio Charts Top 40 for 12 weeks in 2007,[citation needed] and was the song used for the theatrical trailer of My Sister's Keeper.[citation needed] In 2009, McDaid was the first person to sign to Snow Patrol's publishing company, Polar Patrol Publishing.[4]

McDaid went on to play guitar and piano and sing backing vocals in the alternative rock band Snow Patrol. While on the road with Snow Patrol, McDaid was developing his unique style of writing and working with artists in a variety of genres, scoring a hit with Example's "Say Nothing" which went to number 2 in the UK singles chart in 2012.[5]

In January 2013, McDaid and Gary Lightbody performed at the "Sons & Daughters" concert in Derry, McDaid's hometown, to mark the opening of the city's UK City of Culture year.[6] In early 2013, McDaid moved to Nashville, Tennessee with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran to work with him on his second album. Sheeran and McDaid are close friends and later moved to Los Angeles together to continue working on Sheeran's second record.[7] In November 2013, Sheeran posted a picture of himself and McDaid on Instagram stating that they had been making the record together for two years and that it was now complete.[8] Sheeran's X album was released in June 2014 with McDaid having co-written seven of the songs, including "Photograph", which went on to go platinum and win a BMI Pop Award, and hit song "Bloodstream", which was nominated for Best Song Musically and Lyrically at the 2016 Ivor Novello Awards. The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 57th Grammy Awards, McDaid's first Grammy nomination. While the album did not go on to win the Grammy, it did go on to with the 2015 BRIT Award for Album of the Year.

While spending much of 2016 working with Ed Sheeran on his third studio album, Johnny also co-wrote "Love My Life" with Robbie Williams & Gary Go from Robbie Williams "The Heavy Entertainment Show" album.[9] The first two singles from Ed Sheeran's ÷ album came out in January 2017 and included, Johnny's co-written "Shape of You" which has since become the most streamed song of all time with over 3 billion streams.[10] Johnny produced 3 tracks and co-wrote 8 on the album.[11] "Shape of You" went on to win BMI Pop Song of the Year as well as the Ivor Novello award for Most Performed Work.[12][13]

In 2017 Johnny co-wrote Faith Hill & Tim McGraw's single "The Rest Of Our Life",[14] Anderson East's single "All On My Mind",[15] and Jamie Lawson's "Can't See Straight".[16] Additionally, he co-wrote P!nk's single "What About Us" from her album Beautiful Trauma.[17] The single, co-written with P!nk and Steve Mac, was received with rave views and debuted at No1 in 26 Markets globally. DJ Snake released his single "A Different Way" featuring Lauv, which was the third Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid collaboration to be released.[18] In November 2017, Johnny became an Honorary Fellow of The Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool.[19]

Released in 2018, Johnny co-wrote and produced Keith Urban's single "Parallel Line" [20] and co-wrote Shawn Mendes "Fallin' All In You" from his self-titled and third studio album.[21] In 2018, Snow Patrol released their 7th studio album titled Wildness.[22] The album debuted as #2 on the UK album charts.[23] He also won the IMRO Outstanding Achievement Award with which he was presented in February 2018.[24]

In 2019, Johnny McDaid co-wrote "Broken & Beautiful" by Kelly Clarkson, which was featured in the movie UglyDolls.[25] Johnny also co-wrote and produced Alicia Keys "Underdog" and "Authors Of Forever" from her seventh studio album 'ALICIA'.[26]

Johnny spent the majority of 2020 and 2021 working with Ed Sheeran on his = album on which he ended up as a producer on 9 songs, a co-writer on 10, including the UK #1 singles "Bad Habits" (nominated for Song of the Year at the 2022 Grammys) and "Shivers". The album was executive produced by Ed Sheeran, FRED, and Johnny.[27]

Personal life


McDaid began dating actress Courteney Cox in late 2013.[28] The couple announced their engagement on 26 June 2014.[29] In 2019, Cox announced that the couple broke off their engagement but are still in a relationship.

McDaid lives in London and divides his time between the UK and the US, where Cox lives.[30]

McDaid has a tattoo on his left arm reading Nuair is gá dom filleadh abhaile, is tú mo réalt eolais ("When I need to get home you're my guiding light"), an Irish translation of the song "Guiding Light" by fellow Northern Irish musician Foy Vance. Ed Sheeran and Vance both have the same tattoo, as does McDaid's younger sister Maev. The song was written for McDaid's late father, John McDaid Sr., who died in July 2011. "Guiding Light" was recorded with Sheeran featured on vocals, and Vance on vocals and piano.[31][32]

Songwriting and production credits

Year Artist Song Written with Produced with Album
2008 Schiller "Everything" with Helen Boulding Christopher von Deylen, Helen Boulding N/A Sehnsucht
2009 Paul van Dyk "Home" feat. Johnny McDaid Paul van Dyk Paul van Dyk Volume
2010 "We Are One" feat. Johnny McDaid Paul van Dyk Paul van Dyk Non-album single
2011 Lena "I Like You" Rosi Golan N/A Good News
Firefox AK "Running on My Own" Andrea Kellerman, Rasmus Kellerman, Harmony Boucher N/A Colour the Trees
2012 Paul van Dyk "Everywhere" feat. Johnny McDaid Paul van Dyk N/A Evolution
Karin Park "Bending Albert's Law" Karin Park Highwire Poetry
Example "Say Nothing" Elliot Gleave, Dragan Roganovic N/A The Evolution of Man
Lena "Don't Panic" Lena Meyer-Landrut, James Flannigan N/A Stardust
2013 Bo Bruce "Speed the Fire" Catherine B.-Bruce, Thomas Ashby, Gita Langley, James Glannigan N/A Before I Sleep
"Lightkeeper" Catherine B.-Bruce N/A
"The Fall" Catherine B.-Bruce, Ingrid Michaelson N/A
"How We're Made" Catherine B.-Bruce
Ciaran Gribbin "My Killer My King" Ciaran Gribbin Non-album single
2014 Ed Sheeran "All of the Stars" Ed Sheeran The Fault in Our Stars OST
"Nina" Ed Sheeran N/A X
"Photograph" Ed Sheeran, Martin Harrington, Thomas Leonard N/A
"Bloodstream" solo or with Rudimental Ed Sheeran, Gary Lightbody, Amir Izadkhah, Piers Aggett, Kesi Dryden, Leon Rolle N/A
"Tenerife Sea" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance N/A
"Afire Love" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance
"Take It Back" Ed Sheeran N/A
"English Rose" Ed Sheeran
2015 Kodaline "Love Will Set You Free" Stephen Garrigan, Mark Prendergast, Vincent May N/A Coming Up for Air
Rudimental "Never Let You Go" feat. Foy Vance Amir Izadkhah, Piers Aggett, Kesi Dryden, Leon Rolle, Foy Vance N/A We the Generation
2016 Birdy "Wild Horses" Jasmine van den Bogaerde N/A Beautiful Lies
Biffy Clyro "Howl" Simon Neil, Gary Lightbody N/A Ellipsis
Robbie Williams "Love My Life" Robbie Williams, Gary Go Gary Go, Jonny Coffer The Heavy Entertainment Show
Aquilo "Sorry" Thomas Higham, Benjamin Fletcher Aquilo Silhouettes
2017 Ed Sheeran "Shape of You" Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs N/A ÷ (Divide)
Rag'n'Bone Man "The Fire" Rory Graham, Jonny Coffer, Mark Crew, Daniel Priddy Jonny Coffer Human
Ed Sheeran "Eraser" Ed Sheeran ÷ (Divide)
"Galway Girl" Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Damian McKee, Eamon Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Og Graham N/A
"Hearts Don't Break Around Here" Ed Sheeran N/A
"What Do I Know?" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance Ed Sheeran
"Supermarket Flowers" Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco Benny Blanco
"Barcelona" Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Benny Blanco N/A
"Nancy Mulligan" Ed Sheeran, Murray Cummings, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Benny Blanco N/A
Zara Larsson "Don't Let Me Be Yours" Zara Larsson, Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac N/A So Good
James Blunt "Make Me Better" James Blunt, Ed Sheeran N/A The Afterlove
Pink "What About Us" Alecia Moore, Steve Mac N/A Beautiful Trauma
Anderson East "All on My Mind" Anderson East, Aaron Raitiere, Ed Sheeran N/A Encore
DJ Snake "A Different Way" feat. Lauv William Grigahcine, Ilsey Juber, Lindy Robbins, Ed Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, Steve Mac N/A Non-album single
Jamie Lawson "Can't See Straight" Jamie Lawson, Ed Sheeran N/A Happy Accidents
"The Last Spark" Jamie Lawson, Gary Go N/A
Tim McGraw "The Rest of Our Life" with Faith Hill Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Steve Mac N/A The Rest of Our Life
Weezer "Get Right" Rivers Cuomo, Josh Alexander, Jonny Coffer N/A Pacific Daydream
Robbie Williams "Speaking Tongues" Robbie Williams, Ellis Taylor Show N Prove Under the Radar Volume 2
2018 Keith Urban "Parallel Line" Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Julia Michaels, Benny Blanco, Christopher Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, William Champion, Mikkel Eriksen, Tor Hermansen Keith Urban, Ed Sheeran, Benny Blanco Graffiti U
Kodaline "Follow Your Fire" Stephen Garrigan, Steve Mac N/A Politics of Living
The Shires "Stay the Night" John Newman, James Newman, Ed Sheeran N/A Accidentally on Purpose
Shawn Mendes "Fallin' All in You" Shawn Mendes, Scott Friedman, Teddy Geiger, Ed Sheeran, Frederik Gibson N/A Shawn Mendes
Gareth Emery "Call to Arms" feat. Evan Henzi Gareth Emery, Gary Lightbody, Evan Henzi N/A Non-album single
Kodaline "Head Held High" Stephen Garrigan, Liam O'Donnell, Jonny Coffer N/A Politics of Living
Paul van Dyk "Music Rescues Me" feat. Plumb Paul van Dyk N/A Music Rescues Me
Kodaline "Hide and Seek" Stephen Garrigan, Corey Sanders, William Reynolds Will Reynolds, Max Marlow, Graham Archer Politics of Living
"Born Again" Stephen Garrigan, Wayne Hector, Steve Mac N/A
"Hell Froze Over" Stephen Garrigan, Max Marlow Will Reynolds, Max Marlow, Graham Archer
Paul van Dyk "Reprise" Paul van Dyk N/A Music Rescues Me
2019 Beoga "Matthew's Daughter" Damian McKee, Eamon Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Og Graham, Ed Sheeran N/A Carousel
Kelly Clarkson "Broken & Beautiful" Alecia Moore, Steve Mac, Christopher Comstock N/A UglyDolls OST
John Newman "Forever's Not Long Enough" John Newman, Foy Vance, Jonny Coffer N/A Out of the Blue EP
Illenium "Blood" with Foy Vance Nicholas Miller, Damian McKee, Eamon Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Og Graham, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Jonny Coffer N/A Ascend
John Newman "Mama" John Newman, James Newman, Foy Vance, Jonny Coffer N/A Out of the Blue EP
2020 Alicia Keys "Underdog" Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Foy Vance, Jonny Coffer Alicia Keys Alicia
Beoga "Aurora II" Damian McKee, Eamon Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Og Graham, Jonny Coffer N/A Carousel
Example "Erin" N/A Example Some Nights Last for Days
Alicia Keys "Authors of Forever" Alicia Keys, Jonny Coffer Alicia Keys, Jonny Coffer, Mark Ronson Alicia
2021 Ross Copperman "Electricity" Ross Copperman, , Ed Sheeran N/A Somewhere There's a Light On EP
"Therapy" Ross Copperman, Ed Sheeran N/A
Ed Sheeran "Bad Habits" Ed Sheeran, Frederik Gibson Ed Sheeran, Fred again, Parisi = (Equals)
BTS "Permission to Dance" Jenna Andrews, Stephen Kirk, Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac N/A Non-album single
Ed Sheeran "Visiting Hours" Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Michael Pollack, Anthony Clemons Jr., Kim Lang Smith, Scott Carter Ed Sheeran, Parisi = (Equals)
Maisie Peters "Hollow" Maisie Peters, , Ed Sheeran, Joseph Rubel N/A You Signed Up for This
Ed Sheeran "Shivers" Ed Sheeran, Kai Lavelle, Steve Mac N/A = (Equals)
"Tides" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance, Joe Rubel
"Overpass Graffiti" Ed Sheeran, Frederik Gibson Ed Sheeran, Fred again
"The Joker and the Queen" Ed Sheeran, Frederik Gibson, Samuel Romans Ed Sheeran, Fred again, Romans
"Collide" Ed Sheeran, Ben Kweller, Frederik Gibson Ed Sheeran, Fred again, Benji Gibson
"Love in Slow Motion" Ed Sheeran, Natalie Hemby Ed Sheeran, Fred again, Joe Rubel
"Sandman" Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran
"Be Right Now" Ed Sheeran, Frederik Gibson Ed Sheeran, Fred again, Parisi
2022 Ed Sheeran "Penguins" Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran = (Tour Edition)
"One Life" Steve Mac, Ed Sheeran N/A
"Celestial" Steve Mac, Ed Sheeran N/A Single


  1. ^ a b c d Devlin, Patricia (4 August 2014). "Courteney Cox is a 'wee pet' – Johnny McDaid's mum gives seal of approval after engaged stars visit Derry". Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015. Devoted dad John, who passed away in 2011.... [M]um-of-six Pauline told how singer Ed Sheeran joined the family and Courteney for a party in their home last weekend to mark Johnny's 38th birthday ... [on] July 24
  2. ^ "Johnny's on Patrol after taking Berlin". Derry Journal. Northern Ireland. 20 November 2009. Archived from the original on 11 October 2014. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  3. ^ Hutcheon, Erin (2 June 2015). "Picture Special: St Brigid's P.S. celebrate 40 years". Derry Journal. Northern Ireland. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Who are we?". Polar Patrol Publishing. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Example – full Official Chart History – Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
  6. ^ "Sons And Daughters". YouTube. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Ed Sheeran Answers Questions". 1051 The Buzz. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Ed Sheeran & Johnny McDaid". Instagram. Archived from the original on 23 December 2021.
  9. ^ "Robbie Williams – Love My Life". Discogs. 2016.
  10. ^ "Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You' The Most Streamed Song In Spotify History". Forbes.
  11. ^ "Ed Sheeran – Divide". Discogs. 3 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Mark Ronson Receives the BMI Champion Award at the 66th BMI Pop Awards". BMI. 8 May 2018.
  13. ^ "IMRO Congratulates Songwriter Johnny McDaid on success at IVORS 2018". IMRO. 31 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Faith Hill/ Tim McGraw – Rest Of Our Life". All Music.
  15. ^ "Hear Anderson East's New Song 'All on My Mind,' Co-Written by Ed Sheeran". Rolling Stone. 15 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Jamie Lawson – Can't See Straight". Discogs. 28 July 2017.
  17. ^ "P!nk – What About Us". Discogs. 18 August 2017.
  18. ^ "DJ Snake/ Lauv – A Different Way". AllMusic.
  19. ^ "Grammy nominated songwriter, Johnny McDaid joins Institute of Irish Studies". University Of Liverpool.
  20. ^ "Keith Urban – Parallel Line". All Music.
  21. ^ "Shawn Mendes – Fallin' All in You". SecondHandSongs.
  22. ^ "Snow Patrol – Wildness". AllMusic.
  23. ^ "Snow Patrol". Official Charts.
  24. ^ "Courteney Cox and fiancé Johnny McDaid turn out in Dublin for awards bash". Belfasttelegraph.
  25. ^ "Kelly Clarkson – Broken & Beautiful". AllMusic.
  26. ^ "ALICIA – Alicia Keys". Genius.
  27. ^ "= (Equals) – Ed Sheeran". Genius.
  28. ^ "Courtney Cox dating Snow Patrol rocker Johnny McDaid as couple look loved-up on Christmas date". The Mirror. UK. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  29. ^ Cox, Courteney [@CourteneyCox] (26 June 2014). "I'm engaged to him!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2 July 2014 – via Twitter.
  30. ^ "Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid joins Institute of Irish Studies". The Irish World. 7 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017.
  31. ^ "Interview With Foy Vance". Groundsounds. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  32. ^ "Interview With Foy Vance & Ed Sheeran". The Independent. UK. 9 August 2013. Archived from the original on 14 June 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2013.