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 45)
Derry, Northern Ireland
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Guitar
  • piano
  • vocals
Years active1994–present
Associated acts

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 bands Snow Patrol and Vega4, and has written songs with other artists including Ed Sheeran, P!nk and Robbie Williams.

Early life[edit]

One of six 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] Collaborations with artists as diverse as Robbie Williams' “Love My Life”,[6] Biffy Clyro “Howl”,[7] Rudimental “Never Let You Go”,[8] “Bloodstream”,[9] Birdy “Wild Horses” [9] and Kodaline “Love Will Set You Free”.[10]

McDaid's songs have been featured on many television shows, including, One Tree Hill, The Hills, Pushing Daisies, Defying Gravity,[citation needed] and have been used for many HBO network season campaigns,[citation needed] among others. His songs have also been used on various advertising campaigns including: Land Rover, Jeep, and RTÉ,[citation needed] and in feature films, including Into the Blue, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sex Drive.[citation needed] McDaid produced the "Snow Patrol Remix" of U2's "Unknown Caller" in January 2010.

McDaid also has a studio, Fieldwork Music, in North London where he writes, produces and mixes with and for various artists and songwriters. He has used Fieldwork as a project name for song releases, including the single "This Is Not The End", which featured in a trailer for the film Edge of Tomorrow.[11]

In 2012, Example released his album The Evolution of Man. The debut single "Say Nothing", co-written with McDaid was released in September 2012, debuting at number two on the UK Official Charts.[12] The song was received positively overall and became the best selling song from the album. Digital Spy rated it four stars, calling it "an electronic anthem that's ready to take over the airwaves" and commenting that it "maintains a sense of depth, proving that despite his questionable celebrity jibes his talent still comes out on top."[13]


Known to work with styles of music from dance and pop to acoustic singer songwriters, McDaid has written and produced tracks for Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Carina Round, Ingrid Michaelson, Gary Go, Example, Birdy, Kodaline, Rudimental, Biffy Clyro and Rosi Golan. He has also worked with Iain Archer, Declan O'Rourke, Tonio K, and Freelance Hellraiser. He wrote and produced the title track for the movie House of Fools, which was directed by Academy Award-nominated director Eva Isaksen, and has written and produced records for Sony BMG, Universal Music Group, EMI, PIAS Recordings, Mushroom Records, and Capitol Records.

McDaid worked with Paul Van Dyk, resulting in "Time of Our Lives", the number one club chart single from the Grammy Award-nominated album Reflections. He also wrote and performed the number one club chart hit "Home" for Paul van Dyk. The single was awarded Best Track at the 2009 Trance Awards. McDaid has performed with Paul van Dyk at selected shows.

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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16] 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. For his work on the album, McDaid was Grammy and BRIT Award nominated, with the record going on to win the 2015 BRIT Award for Album of the Year. In 2016 he co-wrote "Love My Life" with Robbie Williams & Gary Go from Robbie Williams "The Heavy Entertainment Show" album.

In 2017, McDaid had his first hit with his co-write of Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You' (co-written with Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac). The song went to number 1 in the UK and US and remained number 1 in the UK for four weeks.[17] The song had 240,000 downloads in the first week of its release,[18] with 12.71 million streams on Spotify in the first 48 hours [19] He also developed a lot of Ed's third album.

In 2017, McDaid co-wrote the single What about us by Pink. [20] On October 6, 2017, country music duo Tim McGraw and Faith Hill released the single “Rest Of Our Life”, written by McDaid, Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, and Steve Mac.[21]

Personal life[edit]

McDaid began dating actress Courteney Cox in late 2013.[22] The couple announced their engagement on 26 June 2014.[23] 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.[24]

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.[25][26]

Songwriting and production credits[edit]

Title Year Artist(s) Album Credits Written with Produced with
"Say Nothing" 2012 Example The Evolution of Man Co-writer Elliot Gleave, Dragan Roganovic -
"Don't Panic" Lena Stardust Lena Meyer-Landrut, James Flannigan -
(featuring Fieldwork)
Paul van Dyk Evolution Paul van Dyk -
"Speed the Fire" 2013 Bo Bruce Before I Sleep Catherine Brudenell-Bruce, Tommy Ashby, James Flannigan, Gita Langley -
"Lightkeeper" Catherine Brudenell-Bruce -
"The Fall" Catherine Brudenell-Bruce, Ingrid Michaelson -
"How We're Made" Co-writer/producer Catherine Brudenell-Bruce -
"Nina" 2014 Ed Sheeran X Co-writer Ed Sheeran -
"Photograph" Ed Sheeran, Martin Harrington, Thomas Leonard -
"Bloodstream" Ed Sheeran, Gary Lightbody, Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett, Leon Rolle -
"Tenerife Sea" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance -
"Afire Love" Co-writer/producer Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance -
"Take It Back" Co-writer Ed Sheeran -
"All of The Stars" Co-writer/producer Ed Sheeran -
"English Rose" Ed Sheeran -
(with Ed Sheeran)
2015 Rudimental We the Generation Co-writer Ed Sheeran, Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett, Leon Rolle, Gary Lightbody -
"Never Let You Go"
(featuring Foy Vance)
Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett, Leon Rolle, Foy Vance -
"Love Will Set You Free" Kodaline Coming Up for Air Stephen Garrigan, Mark Prendergast, Vincent May Jr. -
"Love My Life" 2016 Robbie Williams The Heavy Entertainment Show Co-writer/producer Robbie Williams, Gary Go Gary Go, Jonny Coffer
"Wild Horses" Birdy Beautiful Lies Co-writer Jasmine van den Bogaerde -
"Sorry" 2017 Aquilo Silhouettes Co-writer/producer Tom Higham, Ben Fletcher Aquilo
"Don't Let Me Be Yours" Zara Larsson So Good Co-writer Zara Larsson, Steve McCutcheon, Ed Sheeran -
"Eraser" Ed Sheeran ÷ Co-writer/producer Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran
"Shape of You" Co-writer Ed Sheeran, Steve McCutcheon, Tameka Cottle, Kevin Briggs, Kandi Burruss -
"Galway Girl" Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Damian McKee, Eamon Murray, Liam Bradley, Niamh Dunne, Sean Graham, Foy Vance -
"Hearts Don't Break Around Here" Co-writer/producer Ed Sheeran Ed Sheeran
"What Do I Know?" Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance Ed Sheeran
"Supermarket Flowers" Ed Sheeran, Benjamin Levin Benny Blanco, Ed Sheeran
"Make Me Better" James Blunt The Afterlove Co-writer James Blunt, Ed Sheeran -
"What About Us" P!nk Beautiful Trauma Alecia Moore, Steve MeCutcheon -
"A Different Way"
(featuring Lauv)
DJ Snake Non-album single William Grigachine, Ilsey Juber, Steve McCutcheon, Lindy Robbins, Ed Sheeran -
"The Rest of Our Life"
(with Faith Hill)
Tim McGraw The Rest Of Our Life Ed Sheeran, Steve McCutcheon, Amy Wadge -
"Bloodstream" Tokio Myers Our Generation Gary Lightbody, Ed Sheeran, Kesi Dryden, Piers Agget, Amir Amor -
"All on My Mind" Anderson East non-album single Anderson East, Ed Sheeran, Aaron Raitiere -
"Fallin' All in You" 2018 Shawn Mendes Shawn Mendes Fred Again, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris -
"Head Held High" 2018 Kodaline Politics of Living Co-writer Stephen Garrigan, Mark Prendergast, Jonny Coffer, Jason Boland, Vincent May Jr., Liam O'Donnell -
"Broken & Beautiful" 2019 Kelly Clarkson UglyDolls Co-writer Christopher Comstock, Steve Mac, Alecia Moore
"Underdog" 2020 Alicia Keys Alicia Co-writer, Producer Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Jonny Coffer, Foy Vance
"Authors Of Forever" Alicia Keys, Jonny Coffer


  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".
  6. ^ "Robbie Williams - Love My Life". Discogs.
  7. ^ "Ellipsis - Biffy Clyro - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  8. ^ "Rudimental - Never Let You Go Lyrics - Musixmatch". musiXmatch.
  9. ^ a b "Ed Sheeran & Rudimental - Bloodstream". Discogs.
  10. ^ "Love Will Set You Free - Kodaline - Song Info - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  11. ^ "Snow Patrol – Facebook". 14 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Example UK Official Chart Entries". Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Example: 'Say Nothing' – Single review". Digital Spy. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Sons And Daughters". Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Ed Sheeran Answers Questions". 1051 The Buzz. 9 April 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Ed Sheeran & Johnny McDaid". Instagram.
  17. ^ "Ed Sheeran Debated Giving Rihanna His New Song 'Shape of You'". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Ed Sheeran Debuts Atop Hot 100 With 'Shape of You' & in Top 10 With 'Castle on the Hill'". Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  19. ^ "Ed Sheeran storms to global Spotify No.1 AND No.2 with 23m streams in 48 hours - Music Business Worldwide". 8 January 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Pink's 'What About Us' Songwriter Explains the 'Alchemy' Behind Her Bold New Single".
  21. ^ "Faith Hill & Tim McGraw Announce First Duet Album 'The Rest of Our Life'".
  22. ^ "Courtney Cox dating Snow Patrol rocker Johnny McDaid as couple look loved-up on Christmas date". The Mirror. UK. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  23. ^ Cox, Courteney [@CourteneyCox] (26 June 2014). "I'm engaged to him!" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2 July 2014 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ "Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid joins Institute of Irish Studies". The Irish World. 7 November 2017. Archived from the original on 22 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Interview With Foy Vance". Groundsounds. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
  26. ^ "Interview With Foy Vance & Ed Sheeran". The Independent. UK. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 9 August 2013.


External links[edit]