Who Are Dan + Shay?

Country duo Dan + Shay caught the genre by storm in late 2013 with their debut single “19 You + Me.” The track eventually became the lead single off their debut album Where it All Began, which was released in April of last year and has sold over a hundred thousand copies. As the duo, comprised of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney make their way across the country on their first headlining tour they’re showing fans just what their brand of country is all about.

Dan and Shay didn’t have your typical storybook Nashville meeting, unless you consider meeting in a tent typical. Dan Smyers was throwing a house party in late 2012 when Shay Mooney showed up. The only problem is when you’re starting out as an artist in Nashville, it’s challenging to throw parties that are anything more than basic. Smyers’ party was especially basic, so much in fact that it included a makeshift tent in the middle of the living room for warmth. Sometimes your instruments are more important than heat, that was definitely the case for Smyers who had been cutting his teeth in the music business for a couple of years.

Courtesy: Warner Music Nashville

For Mooney he’d had some success on his own, but nothing that compares the amount he’d have in the coming year. He’d worked with fellow up and coming country artist and girlfriend at the time Veronica Ballestrini on covers and original songs which they would then post to YouTube. A few of the tracks went viral of sorts, reaching over a hundred thousand views. Similar to his now partner, Mooney dreamed of bigger things.

That living room tent became the birthplace of the duo known to country fans as Dan + Shay. The duo made quick work of their debut album, having a hand in the writing of all twelve tracks. Lead single “19 You + Me” has been downloaded over 750,000 times and their second single “Show You Off” charted just outside the top 20. But for these singer, songwriters it’s about more than commercial success. They’re bringing a new form of music to a genre that at times can sound all too similar. Their smooth harmonies form the backbone of songs ranging from love to partying and all the way back to heartbreak. They aren’t heavily tattooed like another popular duo, and they certainly won’t be caught smoking before a show. It’s no wonder they often have young kids at their meet and greets. They bring a cleaner, kid and family-friendly, image.

They’ll release their third radio single next week. “Nothin Like You” offers a sound similar to “19 You + Me” meaning it’ll likely have no problem climbing the charts. Fans are always looking for a sound unlike anything else in rotation and that’s what the duo delivers here. Take a listen:

Editor’s Note: Given the slow pace of news and stories in the genre recently we’re going to be profiling some of the younger artists in country. This is the first of the series.