Country News

Featured Artist of the Weekend – Dan & Shay

Hello everyone, and welcome back. We are finally getting back to creating new Featured Artist of the Weekend articles. I had a lot of fun and put a lot of effort into the Military Month project, and I love the way it turned out. I would also like to thank everyone that was involved in helping it come together. I don’t know who all was involved, so I won’t say names, but I will say thank you to Greg Martell, Ran Janson, Joe Wilson, Mark Henish, Jason Church and Dennis Denk for allowing me to interview you. Now that we are back to making new articles, why don’t we give away something new as well? This week, if you answer my question correctly, you will be put in a drawing for a pair of tickets to the Milwaukee Zoo. Now let’s get started shall we?




Last week I wrote a blog that highlighted upcoming album releases, and a duo was on the list that I hadn’t listened to before, Dan + Shay. So I went on YouTube, and listened to them. They remind me a lot of Rascal Flatts. Not only do they sound very good together, but a lot of the little vocal inflections they do, and the lines the do mimic Rascal Flatts, but definitely aren’t a rip off. It turns out I had heard one of their songs before, but I thought it was Rascal Flatts. Now I’m not bashing on them for sounding like Rascal Flatts, on the contrary, I’m using it as a compliment. Let’s go back as see what brought Dan Smyers and James Shay Mooney together.

There isn’t a lot of information out there about these two other that their professional careers, but here is what I found. Dan Smyers was born on August 16th, 1987, and was raised in Wexford, Pennsylvania. He attended North Allegheny Senior High School, and Carnegie Mellon University where He studied finance. Before joining up with Shay, Dan was a member of a group that called themselves Bonaventure, and a band called Transition.

James Shay Mooney was born on December 27th, 1991, and was raised in Natural Dam, Arkansas. He attended Union Christian Academy in Fort Smith, Arkansas. After high school, he spent some time at Valley Forge Christian College before pursuing a career in music. During his relationship with country singer Veronica Ballestrini (2011-2013), they would post covers and original songs on YouTube. They duo reached around 150,000 views, which for those of you that aren’t familiar with YouTube is pretty good for a singer just starting up. Shay also contributed to Bellestrini’s professional career, writing a song for her sophomore album, “Flip Side” entitled “Lonely Alone”. Shay did have a short stint as a solo artist as a part of rapper T-Pain’s label, Nappy Boy Entertainment.

On December 7th, 2012, Dan and Shay met for the first time. The immediately clicked, and began writing songs that day. Remember how I said they sounded like Rascal Flatts, well the first song they wrote together was given to Rascal Flatts. Within two months, the duo signed with Warner/Chappell Music. Less than a year later on October 14th, 2013, the duo released their first single, “19 You + Me”. The critics loved it. Taste of Country praised the track’s “warm details” and “emotion”. The track also reached number seven on the US Country chart. Their debut album “Where It All Began” was released in April 2014, and reached number one on the Top Country Albums chart, and number six on the Billboard 200 chart. The album was home to two more singles entitled “Nothin Like You” and “Show You Off”. “Nothin Like You” breached the top five in three categories. It reached number five on the US Country chart, number four on the Canadian Country chart, and number one on the US Airplay chart. “Show You Off” wasn’t quite as successful, but for being part of a debut album, it still did pretty well. It reached number 29 on the US Country chart and number 21 on the US Country Airplay chart.

2014 was a big year for the duo. They released their debut album, they performed on The Ellen Show, they made their Grand Ole Opry debut, and they were nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. They also opened for Hunter Hayes on his “We’re Not Invisible Tour” in March 2014, Blake Shelton on a leg of his “Ten Times Crazier Tour”, and finally headlined their own tour. The “Where It All Began Tour” started on October 9th, 2014 in Minneapolis MN, and concluded on October 26th, 2014 in Columbus Ohio. They didn’t stay off the road long though. The immediately rejoined Hunter Hayes on his “Tattoo (Your Name) Tour”.

A couple months ago, the duo released the first taste of their new album with the single “From the Ground Up”. The track has (at the time of writing this article) reached number 19 on the US Country chart, and number 21 on the US Country Airplay Chart.Their new album is set to be released on June 3rd, 2016.

The last couple of years has been filled with excitement for Dan + Shay. I believe they have a very good chance at becoming very very big. Now I haven’t listened to every song on the album, but the 4 or 5 I did listen to were all mellow. There is nothing wrong with mellow, but if they want to get even bigger, they will have to show their range. Ask any song writer and they will tell you that love songs are the easiest to write. Yes they get the girls attention, but if you want to make it in the music business, you need to have range. So look for that in upcoming Dan + Shay albums.




Ready to answer the question? Who did I compare Dan + Shay too, in regards to their sound? To answer, email me at You will have until Sunday night at 11:59 pm to answer. On Monday, I will randomly select a winner out of everyone that gets the answer correct. Make sure the subject line says “Featured artist question of the week” so I can easily spot it. In the email also include your name and a phone number. Good luck!


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