News of Ed Sheeran’s lawsuit over his 2017 smash hit Shape of You has been dominating the headlines over the past few days, with the singer denying all allegations that he stole the single from Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue.
With live evidence for the trial having ended on Thursday (10 March), many fans have been curious as to how the two songs compare.
This is everything you need to know.
Who is Sami Chokri?
Sami Chokri is a British grime artist from Caversham who developed an interest in music from an early age.
Speaking to The Reading Chronicle in 2012, he said: “When I was younger in primary school, my parents were very into poetry so I think I started writing poetry then.
“When I started secondary school [Highdown in Caversham] there were a lot of people who were very into grime music, and I started seeing that I could take it further, take it seriously, and then I started actually making songs.
“I was 16 when I met Twan Pemberton through a friend and he gave me the opportunity to get into a real, professional studio instead of just a corner of the bedroom, and get it out there properly.”
Throughout his career, Chokri has released four singles: Temperature and Victoria in 2021, Isolation in 2020 and Stay Steady in 2016. He also has two albums - Trouble which was released in 2016, and Solace in 2015.
Why is he suing Ed Sheeran?
Chokri, alongside fellow songwriter Ross O’Donoghue, are suing Sheeran over the similarities between his song Shape of You and their song 2015 Oh Why.
Legal proceedings were launched by Sheeran and his co-writers in May 2018, with them asking the High Court to declare they had not infringed Chokri and O’Donoghue’s copyright.
In July 2018, Mr Chokri and Mr O’Donoghue issued their own claim for “copyright infringement, damages and an account of profits in relation to the alleged infringement”.
During a second day of facing cross-examination in the trial, Sheeran said: “These proceedings are here so I can clear my name.
“We have an action against us which me, Johnny and Steve all say is false.”
Sheeran is referring here to his two Shape of You co-writers, Steven McCutcheon and John McDaid.
How does Oh Why compare to Shape of You?
Oh Why was released in 2015, under Chokri’s stage name Sami Switch.
Chokri and O’Donoghue claim that an “Oh I” hook in Shape Of You is “strikingly similar” to an “Oh Why” refrain in their own composition.
Andrew Sutcliffe QC, representing Chokri and O’Donoghue, said that the songs “sound almost identical” when they were played in court for judge Antony Zacaroli.
In the witness stand, Sheeran frequently burst into song and hummed musical scales and melodies as he was questioned over how Shape Of You was written.
In his written evidence, the singer, who admitted in court he “can’t read music”, said the use of “minor pentatonic pattern” was “very common” and used in his song I See Fire and by Nina Simone.
He sang a snippet of I See Fire, Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, as well as Shape Of You, to the courtroom.
“If you put them all in the same key, they sound the same,” he said.
Have a listen for yourself and see what you think.
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