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Artist Duo of the Week of 2/2/20: Dan & Shay


Technically, this was not posted on a Sunday. Regardless, welcome to the official debut of a new blog category on ThunderStorm Radio’s online blog called Artist/Group/Duo of the Week, where each week I will be recognizing certain artists whom I really like. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Dan & Shay

This week, I am starting off with a country duo I found out about not too long ago, around sometime last year. Ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about the wonderfully talented Dan and Shay. Per Country Fancast, Dan and Shay have been a successful country music songwriting and singing duo since December of 2012 when they first met.

About the Artists

Daniel Smyers was born on August 16, 1987, and raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania. Smyers went to North Allegheny Senior High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania. He studied finance in Carnegie Mellon University before pursuing a music career. He received his first guitar while in sixth grade, and played in a few pop-rock bands, including Transition – a local Pittsburgh band – and Bonaventure.

Dan grew up playing different sports, from baseball to basketball to football, but always had an affinity for music. He eventually moved to Nashville where he became a Country Music artist. After dating for more than three years, Smyers proposed to his current wife Abby Law back in November 2016. They married in May the following year.

James Shay Mooney was born on December 27, 1991, and raised in Natural Dam, Arkansas. Mooney attended Union Christian Academy in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Van Buren High School in Van Buren, Arkansas. After high school, he attended Valley Forge Christian College for one year before pursuing his music career. He started as a solo artist in the Nappy Boy Entertainment label which was founded and owned by celebrity artist T-Pain.

Mooney was in a relationship with country singer Veronica Ballestrini from January 2012 to March 2013. The couple released songs together on YouTube. Three years later in August 2016, Shay announced his engagement to longtime girlfriend and former Miss Arkansas Hannah Billingsley. The couple were married in October 2017 in Arkansas. Earlier that year, Mooney and Billingsley gave birth to their son Asher.

Albums & Success

Dan and Shay released their debut album, Where It All Began, on April 1, 2014. They were the first new country duo to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Albums Chart with their Gold-certified first album and featured the No. 1 single “Nothin’ Like You” and the Platinum-certified “19 You + Me”. They opened for other country artists such as Hunter Hayes, Blake Shelton, and completed a small tour of their own.

They released Obsessed in 2016, which produced two more No. 1 hits in “How Not To” and “From The Ground Up”. The songs earned them several appearances on National television, as well as performances with some of country music’s biggest superstars, like Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Keith Urban and Chris Young.

Dan + Shay, their self-titled album, was released in 2018. The album produced two singles, “Tequila” and “Speechless”, that topped charts and were heavily played on the radio. “Tequila” and “Speechless” were two of the top five most-streamed country songs released in 2018. They would be performed on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. In 2019, “Tequila” was nominated for two GRAMMY Awards for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Country Song”. They would pick up their first GRAMMY Award for “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” with their single.

My Thoughts

I usually don’t listen to country all that much. The most I’d been exposed to in that genre was Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, and Taylor Swift (back when she was country). More recently, it was Sam Hunt and Maren Marris. So, not a whole lot of country.

The first time I listened to “Tequila” and “Speechless” on the local radio, I was instantly in love. Listening to the harmony of their voices along with the melody, I wanted so badly to learn the lyrics just so I could sing along. At some point, I plan on doing covers for both songs. In the end, Dan and Shay are absolutely phenomenal artists that I highly recommend especially if you’re looking to give Country a shot.

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