Ed Sheeran Defends Songwriting Process In Court, Says He Recently Wrote 25 Songs With Aaron Dessner
Right now, Ed Sheeran is in the midst of a copyright trial over his monster hit “Shape Of You,” which was the biggest-selling single around the world in 2017. The songwriter Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue claim that they sent Sheeran their 2015 track “Oh I,” which Chokri recorded under the name Sami Switch, and they believe that “Shape Of You” borrows significant elements of “Shape Of You” from “Oh I.” Yesterday, testifying in front of a High Court in London, Sheeran disputed Chokri and O’Donoghue’s claims, and he also discussed his collaborative songwriting process. Along the way, he dropped a bit of a news bomb.
According to the BBC reporter Mark Savage, Sheeran told the court that he’s recently teamed up with the National’s Aaron Dessner to write 25 songs in one week. Sheeran and Taylor Swift are old friends collaborators, and Swift recently appeared on Sheeran’s “The Joker And The Queen” remix. Judging by what Sheeran told the Court, it sure sounds like he’s trying to pull a folklore.
That revelation about Aaron Dessner presumably came up because Sheeran was discussing his whole process. Sheeran appeared in court with his two “Shape Of You” co-writers, Steve Mac and Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid. (Sheeran also gave “Shape Of You” songwriting credit to the writers of TLC’s hit “No Scrubs.”) Andrew Sutcliffe, the lawyer for Chokri and O’Donoghue, had said this: “Chokri and O’Donoghue: “Mr. Sheeran is undoubtedly very talented, he is a genius. But he is also a magpie. He borrows ideas and throws them into his songs, sometimes he will acknowledge it but sometimes he won’t… depends on who you are and whether he thinks he can get away with it.” In his testimony, Sheeran disputed that claim.
According to the BBC, Sheeran told the court that he often works with co-writers and that the part of “Shape Of You” that sounds similar to “Oh I” is “very short” and “entirely commonplace.” He went on:
Even so, if I had heard “Oh Why” at the time and had referenced it, I would have taken steps to clear it…
I have always tried to be completely fair in crediting anyone who makes any contribution to any song I write. I do refer to other works on occasion when I write, as do many songwriters. If there is a reference to another work, I notify my team so that steps can be taken to obtain clearance. I have been as scrupulous as I possibly can and have even given credits to people who I believe may have been no more than a mere influence for a songwriting element. This is because I want to treat other songwriters fairly.
Check out both songs for yourself below.