For ten years now, our hearts have been captured by the beautiful ballads – such as “Tequila,” “Speechless,” and “10,000 Hours” with Justin Bieber – released by pop-country duo Dan + Shay. Amazingly, from 2019 to 2021, they won three consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. However, following their string of successes, the duo recently revealed that they nearly broke up in 2022.
On July 10, 2023, bandmates Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney showed a sneak peek of their partnership in a YouTube video called “The Drive.” As they drove together through a scenic wooded area, the duo opened a difficult period of their lives – personally and professionally – in which they revealed almost ended their band for good.
The video began with the duo taking fans down memory lane. It began in December 2021 when they both struggled with burnout and pent-up frustration as they wrapped their The (Arena) Tour.
Sadly, none of them were happy, even if they were at the pinnacles of their careers. Smyers even described it as the “lowest low” of his entire life, saying he was starting to hate music and getting ready to quit.
“I could feel the separation, and I think there was little things between you and I that we never talked about,” Mooney narrated, who also said that he felt like he was “in a really dark place” at the time. Sadly, their depths of despair started affecting everything around them – their band and their marriages.
Smyers is married to his longtime sweetheart, Abby Law, while Mooney is married to Hannah Billingsley.
The Conversation That Changed Everything
After not speaking to each other for four months, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney sat down for a discussion in March 2022.
For the first time after The (Arena) Tour, the pair took the time to “step back and just assess” where things stood. At that moment, they realized how things were happening so fast they didn’t even have the time to appreciate winning a Grammy and that they just let things get in the way.
Country pop music duo Dan + Shay first graced the music scene in 2013 with the debut single “19 You + Me,” released to country radio. Since then, the duo has been racking up hits with their inherent sweetness serving as another side of the fence to the swaggering bro-country dominating the mainstream country during the mid-2010s.
Thankfully, that March 2022 conversation – after having a “gut check” with one another – brought their relationship back to a more positive place. Smyers and Mooney agreed they have once again “found that joy” that they started their band with – at a “very genuine place,” wherein writing a song was just seemingly like the two of them hanging out together with acoustic guitars.
Toward the end of the clip, Smyers and Mooney reflected on their personal and artistic bond and the lessons they learned through their music journey, which changed their lives. They then expressed their love and pride for one another.
“We love this band. This has been our life. It matters, and it matters to people. We had a responsibility,” Mooney said, with Smyers adding, “We owed it to them.”
As of the writing of this article, Dan + Shay has been teasing fans for the release of their new album in two years called Bigger Houses, which will be out on September 15. We’re pretty sure fans all over the world are now very much excited.
Dan + Shay