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In Conversation with Dan + Shay

It was great as always to catch up with the awesome Dan + Shay on their latest trip to London

On the UK

Oh man it’s beautiful. We’re sitting here looking out of the window of the Warner office and we’re just kind of soaking it in. This is the probably the first time we’ve been here in the summer time so the weather is unbelievable so we’re kind of enjoying that right now. It’s usually been cold when we’ve been here so this is a nice side of London that we’ve haven’t got to see yet.

On That KOKO Gig!

That’s honestly one of the coolest feelings. We talk about it, you know we – especially that show in Koko that was one of our favourites of the entire tour, the crowd was incredible and what a beautiful venue by the way, it’s unbelievable.

You know you write these songs and when you sing them on stage you kind of trace the steps back to writing the song, just in somebody’s house on an acoustic guitar, a piano whatever it may be and you only dream that someone will like the song, but to be able to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and have you know 1500 people sing the words back to you is like the coolest thing in the world. It almost feels surreal, like someone’s playing a prank on us, or like you’re going to wake up from a dream. But you know we try to soak those moments in, that’s one of the cool parts about being in a duo you know we get to experience these things together as best friends and we get to experience the coolest cities. Like we’re sitting in London right now because we wrote some songs in Nashville and that’s awesome you know, never in our wildest dreams would we have thought we’d have been able to make it to London writing country music, but we’re here and we’re thankful to have folks like you who take the time to talk to us and fans who are willing to support us, listen to our music, and come out to our shows and give us a reason to come back. So we’re the luckiest guys in the world because of that.

On Friendship

Yes we talk about that all the time, how cool that is to be able to share the moments. As I say the lows are lower and the highs are even higher because you get to – you know whenever you’re by yourself you don’t want to…you know it would be awesome to be in London like you said but this is a cooler way to do with your friends.

On Fanbase

it’s awesome and gratifying sometimes that at meets and greets we have families come up or a mother come up to the meeting room with her daughter and say ‘This has been a really cool experience for us, it’s like a bonding moment’ you know for them to come to the show together and spend an hour and a half, hopefully off of their cell phones or away from a TV, or whatever it may be, just enjoying music together and spending time together, and spreading – the worlds kind of a crazy place right now, there’s a lot of hate and lot of evil but people can get together at concerts and spread love and share love for music and for like an hour and a half escape from the scary realities. So the fact that our music is touching people of all ages is really cool you know. It’s unifying and we’re proud to be the guys up on stage singing the songs that can bring some people together. Even if it’s only for that short hour and a half, bring someone some happiness, and maybe change their life.

The New Album (Which I love)

Yes first of all thank you so much for saying that, that is very sweet.

We’ve been working on this album for about two years now, we haven’t stopped writing since the first time Dan and I started writing together but we have so many songs we’ve written so when we got to this third album you know we knew that the importance of this album, you know we kind of – we’ve been doing this for a couple of years and I think we’ve grown as people and as artists and we know that this is a pivotal point in our career. We have an audience now, we have fans who have grown to love our first two albums and so there was a little bit of pressure there you know but we felt that this was the best time, especially after we had the music and kind of put that together.

We figured this would be the best time to do a self-titled album because putting our stamp on something is – that’s a big moment in an artist’s career, doing a self-titled album. So we just felt with the music and where we were with our lives, it was just the perfect time to do that, so we’re just so proud of every single song in this album. And it took a lot of time with every aspect of the record, to the writing of it, to the recording of it, to the finding songs and it’s just been really cool to kind of see this – the fruits of our labour, labour if you will and Dan has worked so hard on the production of this and it’s been cool to see how much he’s grown as a producer and it’s just cool. This is a – I feel like this album is where Dan and Shay has been heading towards and where we are in our lives. So let’s just say we’re so proud of it and can’t wait for fans to hear the body as a whole, so we’re pretty popped.

On Their Involvement

We’re thankful to be with Warner Music Nashville and just the Warner Music Company in general we feel like they foster creativity in a big way. They let us kind of carve our own path for better or for worse. We’re an artist, we know what we want to do, we know who we want to sound like and we tell other artists in Nashville that are shopping for record deals, we just say like “Look if you what you want to be, if you know what you want to sound like, Warner is a great place for you but if you want to be told what to do, you might want to search elsewhere” because they definitely do let us make those decisions and figure it out for ourselves.

We picked the order of the roll out of the songs, based on a few different factors, you know how we wanted to deliver the project to the fans, and show diversity on the record but also – it’s a tough plan to show diversity, showing the spectrum but also showing consistency within the songs and common themes and common tones. I feel like we did a good job of that so far. I think just judging from the social media reaction with the roll up and the first five tunes they released.

We’ve been so thankful you know, everybody out there, music fans, country music fans, have just embraced the songs and… It was kind of our idea you know, we always said the marketing plan is great music and instead of just hyping out the album link and the date and promoting the fact that we had an album coming out our idea was to get people hooked and to get people locked into the music, those specific songs and let the songs do the marketing for us. So we put out those songs and let them each have their own video, some of them even have two videos, for fans to just really think they’re achieving something and after five songs we feel like we’ve got a pretty good commitment from our fans out there who were excited about hearing the rest of the body of work and yes, we definitely hand selected those songs, and hand selected the order of the album, that’s a very tough thing to do.

It’s tough to narrow down what songs you want to put on the album first of all, but once you do that then putting them in the right order you know, the sequence of the record and building a flow and the ups and downs. You’re considering things like the themes of the songs, whether it’s a positive song or a heartbreak song, or the tempo of the song, it’s very tough to do. But after days, days, weeks, months, whatever it was, like you know thinking about it, pondering about the order, we finally think we nailed it. And I can’t wait for fans to hear it sequence, from front to back.

On Their Favourite Track

Yes it’s hard to pick, cause they are all kind of like your babies. Yes we actually, we released this already but Speechless is a special one to us, we kind of wrote that song about the first time we got to see our wives in their wedding dress and that whole moment you know and see how we were able to use our actual wedding footage for that video and combine those and those are really special things. Not only for our fans to kind of get a taste of how special it was on that day but you know for us to be able to relive that. It’s living on the internet now forever so…

On winning a CMT ward 

Thank you very much, that was a big moment for us. We’ve been nominated for awards for a few years now and it’s a hard category, there was a lot of talented duos out there and we always say we’re honoured to be even nominated, and winning itself is just – to be invited to an award show but to take home a victory was really special and the fact that we got to celebrate it with our fans, it was a fan voted award, that was really meaningful for us, you know.

Our fans have been in our corner and backed us in a big way since the very beginning. So to win our first award as a fan voted award was really cool and something we’ll never forget. We definitely celebrated that night and you know, we’re still riding high from that. It was exciting.

On working with Kelly Clarkson 

First of all she is one of the best singers on the planet. She is so talented and we’ve always been huge fans of hers and recently we’ve got to hang out with her a little bit more after recording her and just her personality and just everything about her, she’s just such an incredible woman and so to be able to work with her…Dan actually got to fly to LA and got to record her so that was a pretty cool moment I think for everybody, to hear her, I mean she is just – I mean when you hear her live the power of her voice is pretty mind blowing. So hopefully one of these days we’ll get to sing that with her live and it will be a cool moment, not only for the fans, but especially for Dan and I. It will be really cool thing to happen.

On Shay’s Voice (One of THE best male voices in Country Music)

Yes I’m honoured, that’s very humbling. I’m just a – we’re both just blessed to be able to sign country music and to be able to be in this realm and just to be invited to things like the CMT awards. We’re honoured to be a part of that category and it’s a huge honour, thank you for saying that, that’s…that makes me feel really good. So thank you.

On having their own Bar!

I would call it Tequila for sure, based on the song.

Yes, it’s pretty obvious but yes I think that would be the move, and it would be a tequila bar. We love tequila, we call ourselves tequila connoisseurs I guess but I would say it would be all tequila and mescal and it would be a really cool theme, a cool vibe and that songs taken us to new places, so it would be only appropriate to open a tequila bar down on Broadway but we’ve got to start saving up our pennies, I think real estate is pretty expensive in downtown Nashville right now.

What makes Dan + Shay THINK COUNTRY

Country music to us, you know is storytelling. We grew up listening to people like Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, and the common theme of every country song is it tells a story. It brings out emotions. I feel like whatever someone is going through, a breakup or something really hard I think the first thing that they go to is they listen to a sad song, they listen to a breakup song because it’s very healing, for whatever reason you know. Us as humans, I don’t know if it’s the old mind set of misery loves company but it somehow kind of helps you move on from those things and country music has stories for the good times and the bad times. So it’s pretty incredible to be able to kind of have that community of people in country music and to know that someone else is maybe going through or has gone through exactly what you’re going through at the moment so…music is so powerful and country music more than anything else is the best at storytelling so that’s to me, that’s country music and that’s how why we fell in love with it and that’s why we love doing what we do.


Annette Gibbons
Hi, I’m Annette, I have been a huge country music fan since the early 90s those were the days we were lucky enough to have CMT in the UK. I enjoy nothing more than listening to country music whilst having a cold beer (or a moonshine) with friends. I try to as many gigs as I can here in the UK and in the USA; I think of Nashville as my second home and I am lucky to have made some amazing friends in Tennessee. Think Country is something I am very proud of, I just want to share my love and passion of all things country music related with you all.
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