Shay Mooney is a new, and healthier, man. The one-half of the award-winning Dan + Shay duo with Dan Smyers, Mooney is now opening up about his decision to focus on his health, which for him meant becoming sober, and losing more than 50 pounds.
“I kind of set out on this journey in a place where I was like, ‘Man, I’m tired of feeling horrible all the time,'” Mooney admits to People. “I was too tired and rundown mentally to play with my kids when I got off the road, or really just ever. It was all the time. I knew that that was because of my unhealthy eating habits and drinking too much.”
It wasn’t a magic formula for Mooney, or an elaborate plan. For him, it was just changing his habits, habits he had held onto for years, which set him on the path to becoming the best version of himself that he can be.
“I started eating super clean, whole foods and fasting, and I cut out alcohol and I haven’t looked back,” the “Tequila” singer says. “That was a year ago now,”
It was when Mooney should have been on an all-time high — his wife, Hannah, had just given birth to their second son, Ames, and Dan + Shay were about to launch their headlining The (Arena) Tour in 2020 — when he felt like he was at an all-time low instead.
“I was having panic attacks, and I’d never had a panic attack before and I didn’t know what was going on,” Mooney says. “And after getting healthy and I stopped drinking, I haven’t had a single moment of panic.”
Both Mooney and Smyers have been painstakingly honest about their four-month separation, and their newfound energy and eagerness for their new chapter of music and friendship. Their time apart, followed by some very honest, heartfelt conversations, might not have been able to happen if Mooney hadn’t already been working on getting healthier.
“It was just kind of the perfect timing,” Mooney says. “Dan and I were both working on ourselves and preparing for this moment. And just looking back on it, it really feels like a divine thing where it was meant to happen in the way that it was meant to happen. We needed to learn those lessons.”
“When people ask me, ‘Do you wish that you would’ve done it sooner? You wish that you guys would’ve fixed this a long time ago?’ My answer every time would be no,” he adds. “I’ve been sober for about a year now. I don’t know that I’ll ever look back. I just know that my life is better when alcohol is not in it. This personal journey that I went on, that’s not for everybody, but it changed my life.”
Dan + Shay just released their Bigger Houses album, and announced their headlining The Heartbreak On The Map Tour. For the first time, at least in a long time, Mooney is exicted and eager to embrace this next season.
“I feel better, is the main thing, because my mental health was suffering,” he explains. “Your gut and your brain and your mind are so connected. And I never really realized that.”
All of Dan + Shay’s music and tour dates can be found at DanandShay.com.