Euro pop flop in copycat row: James Newman and three members of the band Rudimental are sued over chart-topping 2013 hit Waiting All Night ‘that sounds the same as a song from 2006’ by a contestant on The Voice UK
He suffered a crushing defeat at the Eurovision Song Contest, scoring the dreaded ‘nul points’ for the UK.
Now James Newman is bracing for fresh turmoil – as he finds himself at the centre of a court battle over a chart-topping hit he co-wrote.
The 35-year-old, along with three members of the band Rudimental, is being sued by former Voice UK hopeful Kelly Marie Smith over the origins of 2013 hit Waiting All Night.
The track – which features vocals from Ella Eyre – topped the UK Singles Chart and won British Single of the Year at the 2014 Brit Awards.
But Miss Smith is suing for copyright infringement, claiming the hit song ‘substantially reproduces’ her track Can You Tell Me? which she wrote in 2006.
Miss Smith, who reached the Battle Rounds of the BBC talent show eight years ago, is also suing the song’s producers and distributors as well as its co-author Jonny Harris.
She has claimed that the songs share distinctive similarities but Rudimental’s lawyers branded her case ‘untenable’, adding that a ‘forensic musicologist’ had not found any significant crossovers.
James Newman is bracing for fresh turmoil – as he finds himself at the centre of a court battle over a chart-topping hit he co-wrote
Newman, who has co-written and provided vocals on a range of Rudimental tracks, is fighting her claim alongside Rudimental band members Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett and Amir Izadkhah (pictured)
Tom Weisselberg, the band’s QC, told a remote pre-trial hearing that the two songs were ‘performed in different musical styles, at vastly different tempos or speeds, in different musical keys and with different instrumentation’.
Any ‘apparent similarities’ could be picked up only after ‘an extreme form of manipulation’, he added.
Mr Weisselberg also rejected Miss Smith’s claim that some of the lyrics on the two tracks crossed over, saying they were ‘commonly used lyrics, musical phrases and rhythms, which are not themselves original’.
He told the court: ‘To take just one example, it will come as no surprise to the court that the lyric ‘tell me that you need me’ has been used in compositions that long predate either Waiting All Night or Can You Tell Me?’
Newman, who has co-written and provided vocals on a range of Rudimental tracks, is fighting her claim alongside Rudimental band members Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett and Amir Izadkhah.
The 35-year-old, along with three members of the band Rudimental, is being sued by former Voice UK hopeful Kelly Marie Smith (pictured) over the origins of 2013 hit Waiting All Night
Mr Weisselberg added that Miss Smith’s case is partly based on ‘an alleged studio session’ between herself and Izadkhah.
A six-day trial is scheduled for later this year.
The claim comes weeks after Newman’s defeat at this year’s Eurovision with his song Embers.
He was the only hopeful to score zero points from the jury vote and from the public vote, finishing bottom of the leaderboard after the final in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Italian band Maneskin rocked to victory with their song Zitti E Buoni, scoring a mammoth 524 points.
France’s Barbara Pravi finished in second place followed by Switzerland’s Gjon’s Tears.
Newman’s case is not the first in which an artist has faced legal action over claims they have plagiarised their music.
Ed Sheeran’s 2014 song Thinking Out Loud was claimed to have copied Marvin Gaye’s 1973 hit Let’s Get It On.
One claim, brought by the family of Let’s Get It On’s co-writer, alleged Sheeran had ripped off the ‘melody, harmony and rhythm compositions’.
He was later sued again over similar claims his song had copied the Gaye track.