John "Johnny" McDaid (born 24 July 1976), is a Northern Irish songwriter, musician, producer, engineer and recording artist from Derry. The son of John (died 2011) and Pauline McDaid, he attended St Bridget's Primary School, Carnhill, and St Columb's College. He plays piano, guitar and sings backing vocals in the alternative rock band Snow Patrol.
McDaid was formerly the singer and songwriter of the band Vega4, whose second album You and Others was produced by Jacknife Lee. Their first single release "Life Is Beautiful" was featured on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Radio Charts Top 40 for 12 weeks in 2007, and was the song used for the theatrical trailer of My Sister's Keeper. In 2009, McDaid was the first person to sign to Snow Patrol's publishing company, Polar Patrol Publishing.
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, 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.
McDaid's songs have been featured on many television shows, including Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, The Hills, Pushing Daisies, Defying Gravity, and has been used for many HBO network season campaigns, among others. His songs have also been used on various advertising campaigns including: Land Rover, Jeep, RTÉ, and in feature films, including Into the Blue, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sex Drive. 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.
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. 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."
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. 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 sophomore record. 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.
McDaid began dating former Friends actress Courteney Cox in late 2013. The couple announced their engagement on Twitter on 26 June 2014.
He has a tattoo on his left arm which says "Nuair is gá dom filleadh abaile, is tú mo réalt eolais" (When I need to return home, you are my guiding light), an Irish translation of a song "Guiding Light" by fellow Northern Irishman Foy Vance. Ed Sheeran and Vance both have the same tattoo. The song was written for Johnny's late father, John McDaid, Sr., who died in July 2011. "Guiding Light" was recorded with Sheeran featuring on vocals, and McDaid on vocals and piano.
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