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Country music has never sounded so smooth or “dare say” metropolitan than with the charismatic duo Dan + Shay. If it weren’t for the singers occasional country twang vocalizations, one could almost believe they were listening to a top 10 pop song performed by Imagine Dragons or Maroon 5.
Though Dan Smyers (born 16 August 1987) and James Shay Mooney (born 27 December 1991) did not start performing together until 2012 both members had pursued other music related projects in the past. Smyers a native of Wexford, Pennsylvania, US and an alumni of Carnegie Mellon University initially acted as a solo artist on T-Pain’s label Nappy Boy Entertainment. He later went on to join Bonaventure as well as the pop punk group Transition.
Around this time Shay (four years younger than Dan) was still in high school. After graduation he briefly attended Valley Forge Christian College in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, but dropped out to follow his dream of being a musician. Some of Shay’s earliest works were his performances with fellow country artist, Veronica Ballestrini. The two picked up a strong youtube following and consistently posted videos online of cover songs and originals.
Dan and Shay met at the close of 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee, US and the very next day started writing songs together. The duo showed a strong sense of chemistry from the very get go. The 1st song they wrote was a contending track for the Rascal Flats to use. This undoubtedly set off a storm of hype and landed the group several offers for a record deal. They eventually signed on to Warner/Chappell Music and on 14 October 2013 issued their debut single “19 You + Me”. The track was positively received, praised for it’s warm sentimental tone. This song as well as their hit single “Show You Off” were featured on their 1st studio album “Where It All Began”. The album was released on April Fools 2014, but this release was no joke. It saw the band skyrocket to success, playing at the Grand Ole Opry, making highly publicized appearances such as on the Ellen Show and even scoring a nomination at the Academy of Country Music Awards for “Vocal Duo of the Year”.
Additionally the duo has made quite a stir on the road. Dan + Shay embarked on a tour in promotion for their debut album and opened for big name country acts such as Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton. Later that year the duo gained enough prominence to head off on a 12 date headlining tour.