UNITED KINGDOM – Before representing the UK at the song contest, where James came last, Newman co-wrote Rudimental and Ella Eyre’s 2013 number one hit Waiting All Night. It won the best British single at the Brit Awards the following year. Kelly-Marie Smith claimed the track was copied from a song she wrote in 2006. But a judge has dismissed her claim.
One half of The Voice UK duo Nu-Tarna, who appeared on the TV talent show in 2013, Smith sued Newman along with co-writer Jonny Harris and three members of Rudimental – Kesi Dryden, Piers Aggett, and Amir Izadkhah. But by the end of the High Court trial, judge Mr. Justice Zacaroli said “the allegation of copying was pursued against Mr. Newman alone”.
He concluded, with the help of musicologists, that while there were some limited similarities between the choruses of Waiting All Night and Smith’s track Can You Tell Me, there were also important differences. Any similarities in the lyrics, he said, could be down to the fact they contained “commonplace expressions”.
The suggestion that Smith’s little-known and commercially unreleased song had filtered through to Newman was based on “tenuous connections”, he added.
Smith’s legal team argued there were too many similarities between the songs to be explained away by “mounting coincidence”. But Newman’s barrister, Tom Weisselberg QC, said her case was a “concocted claim that should never have been brought”. He said Newman had conceived his song in 2012 when he was working night shifts in a restaurant while trying to make it as a songwriter.
Newman, now a performer in his own right, finished last at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest after being awarded zero points for another song, Embers.