In the lawsuit – filed on 4 March to the Los Angeles federal court – songwriters Jordan Vincent, Rosco Banlaoi, and Christopher Miranda claim the singing duo’s collaboration contains copied elements from a 2017 song of the same name uploaded on Vincent’s YouTube and Spotify accounts.
The complaint, originally obtained by Rolling Stone, reads: “The hook/chorus in both songs – the most significant part and artistic aspect of these works – contains the lyrics ‘dancing with a stranger’ being sung over a nearly identical melody and musical composition.”
It is additionally alleged that both tracks’ music videos include a “girl performing interpretive dance along in a minimalist studio, interspersed with shots of the male vocalist”.
The suit says: “A girl dancing alone is not an obvious visual theme for a music video titled ‘Dancing with a Stranger’, tending to dispel any notion that this similarity is a coincidence… When the extraordinary musical similarity between the songs is also factored in, it becomes even more apparent that it is impossible that the infringing composition and sound recording were independently created.”
It further states that Smith, Normani, and their teams had access to the 2017 song through Thrive Records, a label that is claimed to have originally been “extremely interested in using plaintiff’s song for another artist”.
Smith and Normani’s song has been streamed over three billion times and is certified platinum in more than 10 countries.
The lawsuit adds: “As a result of defendants’ exploitation of plaintiff’s song without permission, they obtained a massive international hit single which generated significant revenue and profits.”
The Independent has reached out to both Normani and Smith’s representatives for comment.
When released, “Dancing with a Stranger” landed at the top of the US Radio Songs Charts, marking’s Smith’s second and Normani’s first chart-topper on the list.