Five Questions With Dan + Shay

Written by SLN Staff Writer
Five Questions With Dan + Shay

Dan and Shay

Hot new duo Dan + Shay are taking the country music world by storm. Their debut smash, “19 You + Me,” has already reached the Top 20 at country radio and is quickly becoming a fan (including Keith Urban!) favorite.

Made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, the new duo has already earned a handful coveted tour spots, hitting the road with Blake Shelton and The Band Perry this summer and playing in the first-ever iHeartRadio Country Music Festival this spring. In addition, Dan + Shay made history when “19 You and Me” set the record for the biggest first week by a new duo in Country Aircheck history upon its release to radio last fall.

CountryMusicIsLove recently caught up with the duo, who was included on CMIL’s “Ones to Watch” list for 2014, to chat about their exploding career, the story behind “19 You + Me,” and more. See what they had to say below.

CMIL: Congrats on your success! Can you tell us a little more about the story behind “19 You + Me?”

Shay: Thanks – We’ve just been having so much fun. As far as the story behind the single, we wrote it with our friend Danny Orton, who is a big writer. He wrote “Stand” for Rascal Flatts and some other awesome songs. We’re huge fans and we got together with him and started writing. This was before we had really become a duo. We were just writing songs, period. We wrote “19 You + Me” and we got there, I guess it was nine in the morning, and we started writing the song and we had everything, but the title. We had written everything and we were just like, “What in the world are we going to call this song?” We knew what we wanted to say, but we were trying to figure it out. I just happened to say, “What about 19 You + Me?” and I really wasn’t trying to be clever. It was something I thought was going to be stupid and Dan was like, “That’s it.” So Dan took what I thought was going to be crap and he verified that it was kind of cool in some way by accident.

CMIL: Obviously a lot of people can relate to the song, but can the two of you? Is there any truth to the story?

Dan: It’s all from real experiences. I grew up going to Myrtle Beach. I’m from Pittsburgh so everybody either went to Myrtle Beach or Ocean City, Maryland. Those were the two close beaches. Danny [Orton] and his wife planned their honeymoon there, or shortly after they got married they went there, and he had been going there ever since. There are true stories there. It’s just that nostalgia. Whether you met someone there, or you went there with somebody…That summer love song that everybody can look back on and feel. There’s imagery there that hopefully takes you back to that summer. When we released it, it was in the fall, but everybody said it was perfect timing.

Shay: It was sort of a collective thing because we all have had that experience, not necessarily specifically throughout the whole song, but as a whole it was all true. Each of our stories were kind of put in there. I think everyone related to it and I think that’s why people have really reacted because a lot of people spent time in Myrtle Beach. If not Myrtle Beach, you’ve felt that nostalgia before. We figured everyone would relate to it.

CMIL: Tell us about the first time you heard “19 You + Me” on the radio…That must have been a special moment!

Dan: I remember coming back to Nashville after our radio tour and we knew that the Nashville station had added it. I honestly got in my car and drove around in circles until I heard it. And then it was like “This is Randy Houser and coming up next we’ve got” and then they played a few songs and ours was one of them and I was like, “Oh my gosh this is crazy.” Every time I hear it I film my radio and send it to Shay.

CMIL: On the way here, I heard the iHeartRadio Festival promo that mentioned Dan + Shay alongside superstars like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, etc. How does that feel to be included with them?

Dan + Shay: It’s cool ‘cause we are such fans of the format. We got into country music because we fell in love with it; the songwriting aspect for us especially. We wrote all of our songs. We’re just such huge fans of the songwriters here. Living in Nashville, you really get to be involved and you’re really there among other songwriters. We’re just such fans of the format and it’s so cool getting to get writing sessions with these people that written some of our favorite songs. It’s funny sometimes we’re more kind of starstruck for meeting a big songwriter, even more so than artists, that we’ve been such a big fan of our whole lives. It’s been really cool. We’ve had some artists come up to us and tell us that they love the single and that’s been a huge honor for us. We’re having a lot of fun.

CMIL: What are you looking forward to most about hitting the road?

Dan + Shay: It’s going to be awesome to play the songs. We’ve recorded the songs and written the songs, but it’s going to be awesome to live them in front of people and have people react to them once our album is out and having people singing the words. There’s no better feeling in the world than when we play “19 You + Me” live and people are singing the words back to us.

Click HERE to purchase “19 You + Me” on iTunes. Fans can keep up with Dan + Shay on Facebook, Twitter, and their official website.