WATCH: Dan + Shay Get Candid About The Struggles That Nearly Put An End To The Duo

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney hold nothing back during this candid conversation.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

July 10, 2023


11:22 am

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Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Dan + Shay hold nothing back as they give fans an honest look into what’s really been happening in their lives over the past few years, including a low point that almost led to the demise of the duo.

Taking to social media, the country music singer/songwriters opened up in a heartwarming video titled, “The Drive,” which uncovers an incredibly vulnerable truth. Throughout nearly four minutes of footage, band members Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney unpack their recent struggles with mental health, work/life balance, and keeping afloat amid their hectic lifestyles. 

As the pair drove down a scenic route, they found themselves thinking back to December 2021, when they had just wrapped up their Arena Tour and began to feel a major shift in their careers. 

A Vulnerable Conversation

Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy YouTube
Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy YouTube

Smyers was first to speak as he admitted, “I was in the lowest low of my entire life, came off the road and I was like, man, I f**king hate music. I’m ready to quit.”

Mooney responded by saying that he could “feel the separation” and also noted their lack of communication at the time. 

“I think there was little things between you and I that we never talked about, and it was affecting everything. Not just our band, like a marriage, everything. I was just in a really dark place,” Mooney added. 


YouTube video

After a silent pause, the video revealed that once off the road, the bandmates had gone four full months without speaking to each other. Then, in March 2022, they met up to discuss what the future would hold for their band. Smyers explained that at this point, they knew they were either going to say goodbye to the award-winning duo and go their separate ways or figure out a way to embrace a new beginning and continue their 10-year partnership. 

“I feel like this was kind of the first time after the arena tour, after Covid that we were able to step back and just assess,” Smyers said before Mooney added, “For me, we didn’t ever take time to be able to appreciate winning a Grammy or all these things because it was just happening so fast.”

Along with their struggles with communication, they shared that the lack of balance in their lives was another driving force that led them to feel burnt out.

Burn Out

Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy Facebook
Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy Facebook

“I think about all those things though that we did and all the decisions that I made,” Mooney said. “Of course, I wish that I would’ve been more present in the moment. Wish I would’ve hung out with you more. I mean I was just in this very feeling sorry for myself place and not wanting to take responsibility for anything. I think that’s a lot of the reason why I was unhappy.”

He went on to describe the amount of stress that was placed on their shoulders surrounding this tour. It turns out that their level of happiness was determined by the success of how they did on stage and the number of people that bought tickets to see them perform. 

“Especially at that point, I was drinking a lot, so those highs became really high and the lows became just really, really low,” Mooney added. 

A Turning Point

Once the bandmates took the time to be honest with each other about the fact that they couldn’t continue on the same path, they found a new sense of peace, one that wasn’t impacted by their success. This was the night that they said, “changed it all.” It was a turning point, a chance to rediscover why they started Dan + Shay in the first place and rekindle their love for music.

Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy Facebook
Dan + Shay; Photo Courtesy Facebook

“The thing that filled my cup the most was being in a room with you, making music together, and one of the most important things that’s ever happened in my life is Dan & Shay,” Smyers admitted. 

Mooney added, “We love this band. This has been our life. It matters and it matters to people, and we had a responsibility and we owed it to them.”

Taking a step back, they were reminded of the start of their journey together, when their jobs didn’t feel like work, but instead just two friends hanging out and sharing a genuine interest in music. Now that they’ve had the chance to embark on a journey of healing, Dan + Shay have come out even better on the other side and can honestly say they are “the closest” they’ve ever been. 

“I can feel the closeness of our relationship and our friendship when I listen back to the music. We are by far a million times the closest we’ve ever been for so many reasons, but because we worked at it, that makes what we’re doing now infinitely sustainable. I could do this the rest of my life with you,” said Smyers. 

While they aren’t sure what the “destination” is in front of them, or the path it will take to get them there, Dan + Shay have found that it’s the “lessons we learned along the way” that serve as “the drive.”

New Music

In conclusion, Mooney prefaced the next chapter of Dan + Shay by teasing new music, which is set to drop on Friday, July 14. 

“I just think that the accumulation of this journey has really taken us to this point because it’s changed our lives. I mean, honestly, the process of this album completely changed our lives,” he admitted before gushing over Smyers as he said, “I love you. This is it, man. Proud of you.”

Along with their soon-to-be-released collection, Dan + Shay have been tapped to join the coaching panel for Season 25 of NBC’s The Voice.

The country music duo will be stepping into “The Double Chair,” a brand-new element that was announced via social media on Wednesday, June 21. They will join the star-studded panel of coaches that includes John Legend, Chance the Rapper, and Reba McEntire. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.