Irish music is enjoying a global resurgence, says Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid
IVOR Novello nominee Johnny McDaid has hailed a “resurgence” in Irish music across the globe.
The Irish musician and Snow Patrol member is part of the songwriting team behind Ed Sheeran’s Bloodstream, which has been nominated in the best song musically and lyrically category.
Other nominees from his home country include David Holmes, Conor O’Brien, and McDaid’s band mate Gary Lightbody. Last year saw a win for Take Me To Church singer Hozier.
“I think that Ireland is having a real renaissance in art generally at the moment, if you look at the world of film and the representation at the Oscars this year from Ireland, it just seems to be having a real resurgence in artistic output,” he said.
The Irish film industry gained recognition at the Oscars earlier this year, as Lenny Abrahamson’s Room and John Crowley’s Brooklyn were both nominated for best picture, and actress Saoirse Ronan was nominated for best actress.
The 39-year-old added: “It’s not really surprising to me that there’s so many Irish voices or Irish representatives there, because it’s just a place that’s full of art, and a place where art is encouraged and art is something that’s beautiful there. The artists in Ireland have always been the kings.
“And I think that that’s now coming back again, where art is something that we get to do and be respected for, rather than something we do because we don’t know how to do anything else.”
The increasingly global nature of the music industry means that Irish artists can reach more people than ever, he explained.
He said: “If you look at the charts and the globalisation of charts, people are really scared of that idea but actually now what it does is it gives people access to music from everywhere, and people vote with their feet – and if you look at someone like Hozier who has just come from relative obscurity into massive acclaim across the world, I love seeing that.
“I love it when an artist gets to do that and for me it’s particularly special when they’re from Ireland because we’re such a small country. We only have a few million people, and yet the reach artistically is so huge.”
His collaboration with Sheeran has a long history, as the two have been firm friends and have written songs together for years.
The rocker, who is rumoured to be back together with his one-time fiancee and Friends star Courteney Cox, said: “One of the unique and amazing things about making this record with Ed for me was that a lot of it was done away from studios, we wrote most of the record in hotel rooms, on tour, and then we got a house in Nashville together and we built a little studio in the house in Nashville while he was on tour with Taylor (Swift).
“We wrote 80 songs together… 80 songs. So it was just a constant process of writing and writing and writing.”
Bloodstream’s nomination at the Ivor Novello awards is particularly special because the entries are judged by fellow songwriters, he said.
“I think it’s the most special musical award for a songwriter, to be recognised by your peers and other people that make music,” he said.
“Such an amazing thing, this isn’t voted for by a committee of people who aren’t involved in music. This is voted for by a committee of people who actually do this too.
“So it’s really such an amazing honour to even have the name Ivor Novello mentioned beside yours.”
From the awards in London, he will head to Manchester for the Coppafeel Ball on Saturday, where his Snow Patrol band mates will join him for a performance.
The charity, which urges women to check their breasts for signs of cancer, is a cause close to McDaid’s heart, as his sister was diagnosed two years ago. She is now in remission.
He said: “We’re going to go and do an acoustic performance, and the rest of the band are coming along, and we are hoping that it’s going to be a great night.”
The musician added: “We should be open to talking about it, these are subjects that really shouldn’t be an elephant in the room, they should be something that we just openly discuss and we discuss freely and passionately, and humorously too.
“That’s one of the lovely things about Coppafeel is that they take a kind of light-hearted and humorous approach to a really heavy topic.”