Dan + Shay ‘Really Pushed Ourselves to the Limits’ on Their Self-Titled Album
Dan + Shay's self-titled third studio album launched the country duo to a new level of stardom, with hits including "Tequila" and "Speechless" quickly becoming career-defining songs. The band's Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are well aware of the magnitude of their last project, and frankly, they're still figuring out how they're going to top it.
"Oh my goodness, man, it's a lot of pressure," Smyers admitted with a laugh backstage at the 2019 CMA Awards, where they'd just won the trophy for Vocal Duo of the Year. "We put out the self-titled album, and now we gotta figure out what to do next. We're still wracking our brains."
Despite any nerves the duo may have about following Dan + Shay, they agree that they're very proud of how the project helped them hone their versatility and chops as entertainers. "We really pushed ourselves to the limits on that one," Smyers says.
"We owe that to you guys, we owe that to country radio, we owe that to our fans, to always strive to out-do what we've done in the past," he adds. "On the third record, we really did that. Man, there was no stone unturned on that record. So that's our bar now, and we've gotta exceed it."
Dan + Shay are well on their way toward accomplishing that goal: They've already got a new hit in "10,000 Hours," a collaboration with pop superstar Justin Bieber. Especially with the help of their latest record's popularity, Dan + Shay have cultivated friends and fans outside of country music. The duo has explained that while they love collaborating and hearing from artists in different genres, especially since it gives them a different perspective on their home format, they're not interested in leaving country music behind.
"Dan and I are not trying to chase anything," Mooney explains. "We're trying to write great Dan + Shay music, and trying to tell a story with our music ... The more people that can hear it, that's fantastic to us."
After all, they initially fell in love with country music for its storytelling power. Now that they have fans beyond the genre, Dan + Shay love introducing that tradition of telling great stories to a new set of listeners.
"It's amazing to us to have people come up to us in meet and greets and say, 'Man, we've never listened to country music before, but we've started listening to you guys and we've discovered other country acts because of that,'" Mooney points out. "That's really amazing, and it's such an honor for us to have people say that."