Dan + Shay have been very public about the challenges of the last couple of years, and how precariously close they came to ending not only their musical partnership but perhaps their friendship as well.
The duo, made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney endured a four-month separation before they fortunately reconnected and decided they had a lot more they wanted to accomplish. The decision to reunite is thanks in part to Kenny Chesney and the timing of his massive Here and Now 2022 Tour, which featured Dan + Shay as an opening act, along with Old Dominion and Carly Pearce.
“We started having this conversation and getting emotional and vulnerable with each other,” Smyers recalls to Nashville Lifestyles. “It was like whether we decide to go our separate ways or whether we decide to do this the rest of our lives, there’s no denying that this band has meant so much to us. It has meant so much to us and our families. It has meant a lot to a lot of other people, as well.
“We still had this Kenny Chesney tour that we were doing after we had that conversation, and we didn’t want to go into that holding any grudges,” he continues. “If we were going to break up and it was going to be our last tour, hell, let’s ride into the sunset playing football stadiums with all of our idols, or let’s figure out how to get ourselves right and use this as a stepping stone for the best chapter yet. And luckily that’s what happened.”
When touring came to a screeching halt, due to the pandemic, Dan + Shay had just kicked off their first headlining arena tour, appropriately called The (Arena) Tour when they suddenly had to come off of the road, taking them from complete elation to devastation in a short amount of time.
“As an artist, that’s your dream as a little kid. ‘I wanna be able to headline an arena someday,'” Smyers says. “That’s the pinnacle. And COVID pulled the rug out from under us. We got three shows under our belt, so we got our first taste of it, and boom — it was gone. And we didn’t know if it was ever gonna come back.”
The disappointment because of COVID, combined with not being forced to spend time together while not touring, led to Smyers and Mooney going months without speaking, for the first time since they became friends.
“We were in a low, kind of sad place because we let life get in the way and we weren’t as close as we had been early on,” says Smyers. “You get busy, you’re going a million miles an hour, you’re doing 200 shows a year, you come home. If you’re not going out of your way to nurture that relationship, it’s going to fall apart. It was nothing specific, it was just that we weren’t spending enough time kindling that relationship.”
Fortunately for Dan + Shay — and their fans — the two realized that they weren’t ready for their season as a duo to come to an end. Smyers and Mooney began writing that night, penning “Always Gonna Be” from their forthcoming new Bigger Houses album, out on September 25.
“We talked about how whether we break up or we stay together, Dan + Shay — our music—is always going to be a tattoo on somebody’s arm. It’s always going to be a first dance in somebody’s wedding,” Smyers says. “Even if we never had a hit again, our music has mattered to people. There’s no taking that away no matter what. And that really hit us.”
Dan + Shay are currently enjoying a Top 20 hit with their current single, “Save Me The Trouble.” They have also released “We Should Get Married” ahead of the record’s release.
Find music and tour dates, and pre-order Bigger Houses, at DanandShay.com.