Childhood & Early Life
Johnny McDaid was born on July 24, 1976, in Derry, Northern Ireland, to John and Pauline McDaid. He was one of his parents’ six children.
McDaid studied at ‘St. Brigid's Primary School,’ Carnhill, and later attended ‘St. Columb's College.’ He started playing with bands at age 11 and later resolved to devote his life to music instead of attending college. This made him relocate to London at age 17.
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McDaid and Simon Walker formed ‘Vega4’ in London in 1999. The band included Bruce Gainsford and Bryan McLellan. Walker later left the four-piece alternative rock band. Bassist Gavin Fox replaced him. McDaid contributed as the lead vocalist and songwriter of ‘Vega 4.’ The band later signed with ‘Columbia Records’ in the UK and ‘Epic Records’ in the US.
‘Vega 4’ released two albums, ‘Satellites’ (2002), produced by Ron Aniello and John Cornfield, and ‘You and Others’ (2006), produced by Jacknife Lee. The single ‘Life Is Beautiful’ (2006) from ‘You and Others’ was featured in the American TV series ‘Grey's Anatomy’ and ‘One Tree Hill’ and in the trailers of ‘My Sister's Keeper’ and ‘Disneynature's ‘African Cats.’ The song also appeared in the hit film ‘StreetDance 3D.’
McDaid worked with Paul Van Dyk as part of ‘Vega 4’ in the No. 1 club chart single ‘Time of Our Lives’ from the ‘Grammy Award’-nominated fourth studio album of the latter, titled ‘Reflections’ (2003). ‘Vega 4’ disbanded in 2008. McDaid again worked with Paul Van Dyk, writing and performing the latter’s No. 1 club chart hit ‘Home.’ He also performed with Paul van Dyk at a few shows.
In 2009, McDaid became the first person to sign with ‘Polar Patrol Publishing,’ the publishing company of ‘Snow Patrol.’
McDaid contributed as a guest musician and songwriter for the 2011-released sixth studio album of the rock band ‘Snow Patrol,’ ‘Fallen Empires.’ McDaid officially joined the band after a tour. He now contributes as a keyboardist, guitarist, and backing vocalist. The internationally renowned band rose to prominence during the early 2000s, as part of the post-Britpop movement, with albums such as ‘Final Straw’ and ‘Eyes Open.’
Meanwhile, McDaid developed himself as a skilled songwriter and collaborated with several artists of different genres. He co-wrote the song ‘Say Nothing’ along with Dirty South and Example. It released in the UK on September 16, 2012, as the lead single of Example’s fourth studio album, ‘The Evolution of Man.’ McDaid also contributed to the backing vocals of the song. The track debuted at No. 2 on the ‘UK Singles Chart.’
He relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, with English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran in early 2013 and later to Los Angeles to work on Sheeran’s second studio album, ‘x’ (pronounced "multiply"). The album released in June 2014 and became a commercial success, clinching the top spot in 15 countries, while acing both the ‘UK Albums Chart’ and the ‘US Billboard 200.’
McDaid contributed as a co-writer of seven songs of ‘x,’ which included ‘Photograph,’ the ‘BMI Pop Award’-winning “platinum” track, and ‘Bloodstream, ’ which earned an ‘Ivor Novello Award’ nomination for the ‘Best Song Musically and Lyrically’ in 2016. His contributions led McDaid to earn ‘Grammy’ and ‘BRIT Award’ nominations. He also worked with Ed Sheeran in the latter’s 2017-released third studio album, ‘÷’ (pronounced “divide”), contributing as a co-writer and co-writer/producer of various tracks.
He co-wrote and produced the track ‘Love My Life’ that released on November 20, 2016, as the second single of British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams’s 11th studio album, ‘Heavy Entertainment Show’ (2016). The song topped the charts in Slovakia and Slovenia and garnered “platinum” certification in Italy. He has also co-written and produced tracks for artists such as Birdy, Rosi Golan, ‘Biffy Clyro,’ ‘Rudimental,’ Gary Go, Harry Styles, Ingrid Michaelson, and Carina Round.
He has written and produced records for ‘Universal Music Group,’ ‘Sony BMG,’ ‘Capitol Records,’ ‘Mushroom Records,’ ‘PIAS Recordings,’ and ‘EMI.’ McDaid’s music has appeared in feature films such as ‘Sex Drive,’ ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,’ and ‘Into the Blue.’ His songs have also appeared on TV shows such as ‘Defying Gravity,’ ‘Pushing Daisies,’ ‘The Hills,’ and ‘One Tree Hill.’ He has also contributed to advertising campaigns for ‘Land Rover,’ ‘RTÉ,’ and ‘Jeep.’