Dan + Shay Say Marriage, Family Lives Are ‘Definitely’ Affecting Their Songs
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, who make up the duo Dan + Shay, have both seen substantial changes in their personal lives in the past year: Smyers tied the knot with his fiancee Abby Law in May, while Mooney and his wife Hannah Billingsley not only got married in October, but also welcomed their first child, Asher James Mooney, in January of 2017. Given all of this personal development, what can fans expect to change about the duo's songwriting style? The Boot caught up with Smyers and Mooney at a recent press conference to find out.
"Dan and I both definitely went through a lot of life changes," Mooney explains. "We both got married. I have a kid now. That definitely goes into your music."
Of course, the duo also draws inspiration for songwriting outside of topics that fit Mooney and Smyers' personal situations in the moment.
"Right now, we're not going through heartbreak, but we've been through all that, so we remember," Mooney continues. "It was cool to be able to pull stories from not just what we're going through right now, but what we've gone through in the past. It's been fun to play the storyteller."
Adds Smyers, "And we pull stuff from experiences other writers are having."
While the singers will continue to focus on the topics that made them country stars to begin with -- different aspects of relationships -- they have also mined married life for songwriting material, too.
"We sat down one day when Shay was about to have his kid; there were four guys, and we were all super emotional," Smyers recalls. "The other two guys had recently become dads. Shay was sharing his emotions, and we were talking, and we wound up writing a song called "When I Pray for You," and that song wound up being on the soundtrack to the movie The Shack. When Asher grows up, he can listen to that song, or Shay can play it for him and tell him, 'You were in your mom's belly and you inspired this.'"
Mooney interjects, "They say they can recognize your voice in the belly. I remember when I played that song for Hannah for the first time, Asher kicked the biggest kick."
Having families affects the duo's songwriting process from a practical standpoint, too: "It's funny how people will ask if the personal stuff is taking over, if I'm just writing about my wife and kid," Mooney says with a laugh. "The main pressure is that we have families to take care of, so we have to write really good songs! I think the best way to write really good songs is to pull from every possible experience."
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