This Week’s Featured Host: Dan + Shay
About Dan + Shay:
The music blaring from the second-floor stereo speakers was so loud it rattled the third floor windows, setting off a late-night alarm. It happened often enough – at least 30 times in two months – that everyone working after hours at the Warner Music Nashville building collectively knew, “It’s just Dan + Shay.”
The duo – Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney – literally obsessed over the song selection for their latest album.
Even after finishing their debut album, Where It All Began, which landed them their debut Platinum-Certified “19 You + Me” and first No. 1 hit, “Nothin’ Like You,” that is Gold-certified by the RIAA, the pair continued writing songs almost daily. By the time they seriously thought about their second album, they had a collection of more than 80 songs already demoed. “At the end of the night we would get the board rocking, turn it up and just sit there and listen,” said Smyers. Mooney added, “We just want it to be Dan + Shay. Whenever you make your own lane and you’re not trying to chase anything else, that’s when you can truly create.”
One of the more personal and perhaps most enduring songs the two have written is their first single from Obsessed, “From the Ground Up,” that hit No. 1 and is Gold-certified by the RIAA.
Smyers, who believes a great song starts with powerful lyrics, had just returned to Nashville following a heartbreaking trip to home for his grandfather’s funeral. Mooney, who recalled it being “a real emotional time,” also lost his grandfather a short time later.
“That song is so personal to us, and the message is so close to our hearts,” Smyers said, “which made it a vulnerable moment when we put it out there. Everybody has been supportive and we’ve received so many messages on social media from people who connected to the song.”
Mooney has been bound and determined to make his mark as a songwriter in Nashville ever since his father brought him to town when he was eight, and again when he was 12 years old, but it wasn’t until meeting Smyers that he found someone who he naturally felt comfortable with when it came to songwriting, singing harmonies, recording and eventually performing live.
Whether it’s another late night with their acoustics jamming for close friends, or on stage for thousands of fans on tour, Dan + Shay enjoy what they’ve been able to create together. Their layered voices – Mooney brings a gospel and R&B flavor, while Smyers is influenced by the harmonies of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles – give each of their songs, especially a song like “Obsessed,” a lively feel that stretches the boundaries and creates its own unique place – the soundscape that is contemporary country music.
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