Derry songwriter John McDaid was left speechless when fiancee Courteney Cox organised a surprise tribute video to be played as he received a special gong for Outstanding Contribution to the Irish Music Industry at the weekend.
The Snow Patrol musician, who writes songs for some of the top names in the world, was visibly humbled by the showreel, which was broadcast at the Irish Post’s 40th annual awards ceremonies at Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane.
The short film included interviews with Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams, Alicia Keys, Gary Lightbody, Pink, Foy Vance and Kodaline – all of whom were fulsome in their praise for the former St Columb’s College pupil.
Robbie Williams, who co-wrote and produced his recent anthem ‘I Love My Life’ with McDaid, described the ‘devastatingly handsome’ Derryman as a ‘musical therapist’.
“He got me to be the most vulnerable I have been on any song ever,” said Williams. “He is a master of his craft”.
Pink, who worked with McDaid on the chart-busting hit ‘What About Us’ said he was a ‘very giving’ songwriting partner.
“I just say these terrible things and he turns them into pure poetry,” she declared.
Ed Sheeran, who works regularly with McDaid – the two collaborated on seven tracks together on Sheeran’s last album, including the phenomenally successful hit ‘Shape of You’ – said he was very lucky to know him.
“Everyone he comes in contact with, he betters as a musician,” said Sheeran.
Gary Lightbody commented: “He is kind, authentic, talented and an inspiration.”
John McDaid who now divides his time between London and Los Angeles where Courteney Cox lives, was presented with his Outstanding Contribution award by the Irish Ambassador to Britain, Adrian O’Neill.
“I’m going to need a Kleenex after that,” he told Master of Ceremonies Eamonn Holmes.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the amazing messages, I’m amazed by Courteney going to that effort – thank you darling.”
And the songster, who as a child took guitar lessons from Undertone John O’Neill at the Nerve Centre, couldn’t have been prouder of his Derry roots in his acceptance speech.
“When I was a kid growing up in Derry, music to me was the way forward,” he said.
“It was the way to say we can express this part of us here, our hearts, and do it in a way that allows others to express theirs.
“My mum is here tonight she is from the Bogside in Derry, as is my dad. They spoke their hearts to me and I found music, first of all as a guitar sitting in guitar in corner of my living room, now I find it in front of all these people.
“Everything that you have seen here tonight is about community, we are all of us a community, we are people from Ireland who left and came here to England to make more of our life. We are community – what drives me is exactly that – its community.”
McDaid’s mother, Pauline – who taught art at both St Joseph’s and St Cecilia’s, joined her son and Courteney Cox at the London event. McDaid’s siblings were also in the 1000-strong audience.
In March of this year, five of Britain’s top 11 albums featured songs written by McDaid. His song with Sheeran ‘The Shape of You’ spent 14 weeks at No1 in the UK, 12 weeks in the US, and is currently four-times platinum in both countries. It is currently the most streamed song on Spotify having been streamed more than 1.3 billion times, while video views are in excess of two billion.
The Irish Post award ceremonies were being broadcast live by TG4.
Read the article at derrynow.com.