Photo by Rob Norris
LAUREN JO BLACK • Sounds Like Nashville
This week, Dan + Shay are celebrating another milestone in their successful career as their latest hit, “From The Ground Up,” is No. 1 on both the Mediabase and Billboard Country Charts.
The song is very special to the duo, which makes the news even more meaningful to Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney.
“This song is very personal, very emotional,” Smyers told Sounds Like Nashville over the phone on Monday. He then recalled the day he and Mooney co-wrote the song with Chris DeStefano.
“We wrote it about our grandparents. I was riding back from my grandfather’s funeral that day,” he shared. “We were recording vocals for another song when I got back to Nashville, so we weren’t even planning on writing. We just started sharing stories about our grandparents and how they were both married for over 65 years, which is just unbelievable. That was inspiring to us. Literally, after sharing stories for like an hour and a half the song kind of wrote itself.”
They knew then and there that they had something really special.
“It was one of those moments that just we sort of struck some lightening and hit some magic. To put it out there to the world was kind of nerve racking because the song was so personal. We just hoped that people would like it, and thankfully they did, and country radio supported it. That was really awesome, and got it elevated to number one.”
The song marks the duo’s second consecutive chart-topping single, and their first from their sophomore album, Obsessed. Next up, the guys will hit Country radio with “How Not To,” written by Adam Hambrick, Paul DiGiovanni, and Kevin Bard.
“That’s the first song that we recorded that we didn’t actually write,” Smyers explained. “We have so much respect for the Nashville song writing community. That’s the reason we moved to Nashville in the first place is to write songs and to be a part of that. We’re in a position now where we are so lucky and so honored that song writers in town would let us record their songs, let us put their songs on an album.”
Dan + Shay got ahold of the song while in they were already in the studio recording songs for Obsessed. “We’d written a hundred songs for the album,” he recalled. “There was this one song I wasn’t totally sure about. I texted a buddy at like 7:30 in the morning. I was like, ‘Hey man, you got anything awesome? Change my mind. Blow us away.’ He sent me four songs, and ‘How Not To’ was one of them. I was like, ‘We’ve got to record this. Can we record it?’ Luckily, they were all excited about it and they said yes.”
While the duo have become known for their love songs, “From The Ground Up” being one of them, Smyers says they’re looking forward to putting out their first heartbreak song to Country radio.
“Whether you’ve been there or not, everybody knows that feeling. Everybody’s seen somebody go through that feeling,” he explained. “We’ve had a lot of people come up to us and go, ‘This is my song.’ That’s an anthem for them. To put out the first heartbreak song that we’ve every put out to country radio as a single…that’s going to be cool. A lot of our other stuff has been really positive and uplifting and stories about love, but this is a cool spin on the other side, and that’s life. Life is ups and downs. Everybody is going to have highs and lows in their life. That’s just one of those songs that reflects on that time.”
Fans will have a chance to hear “How Not To,” “From The Ground Up,” and more from the duo’s impressive catalogue when they embark on their headlining Obsessed Tour this fall with special guest Walker Hayes.
Dan + Shay’s 2016 Obsessed Tour:
Nov. 10 – Ogden Theatre, Denver, Colorado
Nov. 11 – The Depot, Salt Lake City, Utah
Nov. 12 – Prochnow Auditorium, Flagstaff, Arizona
Nov. 15 – The Novo, Los Angeles, California
Nov. 18 – The Republik, Honolulu, Hawaii*
Dec. 1 – Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Dec. 2 – The Blue Note, Columbia, Missouri
Dec. 4 – House of Blues, Dallas, Texas
Dec. 9 – Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio
Dec. 10 – London Music Hall, London, Ontario
Dec. 11 – Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, Ontario
Dec. 13 – Upstate Concert Hall, Clifton Park, New York
Dec. 15 – Rams Head Live, Baltimore, Maryland
Dec. 16 – Playstation Theater, New York, New York
Dec. 17 – House of Blues, Boston, Massachusetts
* Special guest Walker Hayes will not play this date.