The singer-songwriter appeared at the High Court this morning (March 7) for the start of a three-week legal battle over the copyright of his hit single ‘Shape Of You’.
Sheeran is involved in a dispute with two musicians who claim his 2017 track borrows parts of their song ‘Oh Why’, which was released in March 2015.
Sami Chokri (who performs under Sami Switch) and Ross O’Donoghue claim Sheeran’s song is similar to “particular lines and phrases” of their own song. Sheeran has denied the claims.
During court proceedings this morning, Sheeran faced a number of questions about the creation of ‘Shape Of You’ as well as his songwriting process as a whole.
At one point he told the court that he had written 25 songs in the space of a week with Aaron Dessner of The National,” according to BBC News reporter Mark Savage. No further information on the songs was shared.
— Mark Savage (@mrdiscopop) March 7, 2022
In addition to his work as part of The National, Dessner is also responsible for co-producing Taylor Swift‘s latest albums, ‘Folklore’ and ‘Evermore’. He also co-produced multiple of the bonus “From the Vault” tracks that appear on Swift’s re-recorded versions of ‘Fearless’ and ‘Red’ that arrived last year.
Elsewhere during this morning’s court proceedings, Sheeran was accused of being a “magpie” who “borrows” ideas from other artists.
Andrew Sutcliffe QC, for Chokri and O’Donoghue, asked “how does Ed Sheeran write his music?”
He went on to ask whether he “makes things up as he goes along” during songwriting sessions…Or is his songwriting process in truth more nuanced and less spontaneous…involving the collection and development of ideas over time which reference and interpolate other artists. This is the defendants’ case” (via The Guardian).
He continued: “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” adding that it “depends on who you are and whether he thinks he can get away with it”.
In the High Court previously, Sheeran’s legal team said the musician and his co-writers have no recollection of having heard ‘Oh Why’ before the legal battle. They all “vehemently deny” allegations of copying.
Speaking about the song earning over three billion streams last year, Sheeran said he couldn’t be more “chuffed” about the news, calling it, “absolutely insane”, before discussing the origin of the song.
“[‘Shape Of You’] wasn’t really meant to make the album,” he explained, “but when I finished making the song, Ben Cook, from my label, said it had to be a single – but I wanted ‘Castle On The Hill’ to be the single. We put both songs out at once and… I was wrong. Here we are with ‘Shape of You’ at three billion.”