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Dan + Shay

Dan + Shay

Specializing in country-pop so smooth it would also sound at home on adult contemporary radio, Dan + Shay served as a corrective counterpoint to the swaggering bro-country that dominated mainstream country in the early 2010s. Never shying away from their inherently sweet chemistry, the duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney carved out their place as country-pop crooners with a series of Billboard Country Airplay number one singles that started with 2015's "Nothin' Like You." Over the next five years, Dan + Shay stayed at the top of the charts with "From the Ground Up," "How Not To," "Speechless," "All to Myself," and "Tequila," the latter winning them a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance in 2019. The long track record of success gave the duo the freedom to start expanding their musical horizons, starting with the Justin Bieber duet "10,000 Hours," which became their first genuine crossover pop hit in 2019. "10,000 Hours" indicated the colorful, style-bending direction they pursued on 2021's subsequent Good Things and backed away from on 2023's Bigger Houses and its accompanying hit ballad "Save Me the Trouble."

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney hail from different corners of the United States -- Smyers came from Wexford, Pennsylvania, Mooney from Natural Dam, Arkansas -- but they met in Nashville in December 2012. Prior to that, each of the musicians spent his adolescence playing music, learning how to write his own songs along the way. They didn't limit themselves to country music. Smyers played in a few pop-punk bands, including Transition and Bonaventure, while Mooney had a deal with T-Pain's label, Nappy Boy. The duo teamed up after a chance meeting in Nashville and almost immediately began collaborating. Their songs quickly circulated around the Music City, gaining the attention of Rascal Flatts and, in turn, several publishing houses. The pair signed with Warner Chappell, and a record deal with Warner Nashville soon followed.

"19 You + Me," the first single by the duo now christened Dan + Shay, appeared in October 2013, climbing its way to number 11 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. Their full-length debut, Where It All Began, followed in April 2014. "Show You Off," the album's second single, didn't go further than 21 on the Country Airplay chart, but "Nothin' Like You" reached the number one position in December 2015. Its success provided the platform to launch Obsessed, Dan + Shay's second album. Arriving in June 2016, the record debuted at eight on the Billboard charts thanks to the number one Country Airplay single "From the Ground Up," which was quickly followed by a second chart-topper, "How Not To." "Road Trippin'," a single released to radio in July 2017 (it peaked at 42), kept the duo on the charts while they prepared their third album.

"Tequila," the first single from that record, was released in January 2018, peaking at number one on the Country Airplay chart and just outside the Top 20 on the Billboard 200. A second number one single, "Speechless," was issued prior to the June release of Dan + Shay. The album debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and topped the country chart. The following year, the pair took home a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Tequila," an award they'd win again in 2020 for "Speechless." Early in 2019, "All to Myself" became the third Country Airplay number one pulled from their eponymous album.

Late in 2019, Dan + Shay collaborated with Justin Bieber on "10,000 Hours," a slow jam that became the duo's first crossover pop hit, debuting at four on Billboard's Hot 100 while also reaching the top of the Billboard Country Airplay charts. In July 2020, Dan + Shay released "I Should Probably Go to Bed" as a way of announcing the release of their fourth full-length album, Good Things. Boasting a comparatively adventurous production featuring pop and R&B inflections, the album also featured the subsequent hits "Glad You Exist" and "You." The duo launched the cycle for their 2023 album Bigger Houses with the release of the stirring ballad "Save Me the Trouble" in July, with the full album arriving in September. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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