ON December 7 2012, two singer-songwriters coincidently met at run down house in Nashville.
With both of them having moved to the capital of Tennessee to pursue their musical dreams, unknowingly to them this random meeting was to spark the beginning of country music duo, Dan + Shay.
“There was a guitar and we started singing together and we drank and partied and hung out until like four in the morning,” explained Shay Mooney, 24.
“We just hit it off that night and we decided to write a song the very next day.”
It was this certain song that the duo wrote which got put on hold for Rascal Flatt’s – Dan + Shay’s ‘favourite band ever’ – and at this point they thought they’d made it.
Mooney added: “We knew that there was something special there and some sort of chemistry so we just kept writing.
“We both never really had a plan to do a duo but it happened very naturally because of the way our voices blended and people were like ‘you guys this really works’.”
By 2016, Dan + Shay have now released two very successful studio albums, ‘Where It All Began’ and most recently ‘Obsessed’ and have travelled half way around the world to play their music at sold out venues for their UK fans.
The pair have over 42 million views on YouTube where they share acoustic covers, official songs and music videos.
“Wow I didn’t know that we had that many views that’s crazy, awesome!” admitted Dan Smyers, 29.
“Well we’re very in touch with our social media, it’s one of our favourite things to do and our fans are so good to us and so supportive.”
This week just keeps getting better! Our entire UK tour is SOLD OUT! Can't wait to rock with y'all…?? pic.twitter.com/Ry7qTqY2F8
— Dan + Shay (@DanAndShay) August 24, 2016
Smyers added: “And that’s one of the main reasons we came to the UK as we saw a lot of fans saying ‘you’ve got to come here,’ so we hopped on a plane with one guitar and it is just incredible how social media can bring the world together.”
Shay said that the duo prefer to sing their own material in comparison to doing covers on YouTube.
He admitted: “There’s just something special about writing your own music and being able to perform that and having people sing back the words that you’ve written is a crazy thing.”
One of Dan + Shay’s biggest achievements was the success of their debut single ’19 You + Me’ which became RIAA Platinum certified in the US.
“That felt unbelievable and that’s a shout out to our fans and everybody who supported that song and spread the word as a lot of people connected to it,” Smyers exclaimed.
“And that’s how it sold over one million downloads and that was great because it’s harder to sell music these days with all of the outlets for streaming and to get a platinum record for our walls was really cool.”
The duo’s debut album ‘Where It All Began’ was released in 2014 and made them the first new country duo in SoundScan recorded history to peak at number one on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart.
In comparison to their latest album ‘Obsessed’ released this year (2016), Mooney said: “I think that we’ve matured as songwriters, we’ve lived a little bit more and the first one was kind of by accident and thrown together quickly but this album we had a lot more time”.
He added: “It’s Dan + Shay 2.0 and it’s definitely the same Dan + Shay sound but it’s a little bit more polished and we knew what we were doing this time around.”
— Dan + Shay (@DanAndShay) August 21, 2016
As songwriters, Dan + Shay said the process for writing their songs is to just “take inspiration from life.”
“Sometimes somebody will have a title, an idea or a melody and we’re just like ‘okay let’s chase that’,” Smyers told Quays News.
When asking what both Dan + Shay’s favourite songs are from their latest album ‘Obsessed’, Mooney replied: “Oh man that’s a hard one!”
After careful deliberation he chose their single ‘From The Ground Up’ which became RIAA Gold Certified and number one on US Country Airplay.
“I think this is definitely one of our favourites because we wrote that about our grandparents and it’s definitely a very special song,” Mooney confessed.
Smyers said: “Obsessed is one of my favourites too, the title track, it’s really cool and Shay does some insane vocal stuff.”
The pair told me that they like to get very involved in each stage of their music from the process of writing their songs to the making of their music videos.
“Our first number one video ‘Nothin Like You’ had dogs in it and we’re huge animal rescue advocates so to be able to bring attention to that through our music video was a very cool thing,” Mooney admitted.
When first booking their UK tour, Smyers said he was kind of nervous: “I mean we’ve never been here before and if nobody showed up and we flew all the way here that’s a long flight!
“But the UK fans are unbelievable, so supportive and they sold out very quickly.”
Mooney admitted that the guys are making the most out of their trip.
“When you’re on a tour, sometimes you don’t really get to see the city very much but we’ve got to see all of the places here and checked out the scenes.”
Smyers revealed: “We got a little crazy in Manchester in the Northern Quarter – that was fun!”
Dan + Shay couldn’t give me too many details but they said that they’ll definitely be making a return to the UK soon and hopefully jump into some bigger venues and bring their band along.
By Phoebe Jobling