Dan + Shay have rebuilt their friendship, rebuilt their working relationship and have gone on to build what they consider to be one of their greatest albums thus far.
The two members of the beloved country duo — Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney — spoke with ET’s Cassie DiLaura over the weekend in Las Vegas at the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation’s third annual fundraising gala, benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of America.
The pair were all smiles as they opened up about their renewed bond, and how they are feeling having worked through their issues.
“I’m feeling good as ever,” Mooney shared with a smile.
“No, for sure,” Smyers added. “It’s rocking we’re in a great place right now.”
Back in July, the pair revealed in a YouTube video that, in 2021, after winning a GRAMMY Award, wrapping up their successful tour and generally being at the top of their game, neither of them felt very happy about their careers.
The pair admitted that they didn’t speak for four months and nearly ended their band as they took the time to “step back and just assess” where things stood, Smyers said in the video.
Speaking with ET, Smyers explained that the separation between them was largely due to the nature of performing as a duo.
“I think life just happens. We’ve been doing this for 10 years and being in a duo is the toughest configuration of being an artist,” Smyers shared. “In a group you’ve got a tiebreaker, as a solo artist it’s just you, you’re out there on your own. In a band with more people, it’s chaos. But, you know, in a duo it is 50-50.”
“And if you’re not communicating and being open and working together on stuff, things can fall apart,” he added. “And it’s not like anything specific ever got in the way. It’s just we weren’t going out of our way to nurture that relationship like we did early on.”
However, after reassessing their friendship and the road they were on, both musicians decided to put in the effort to make things right.
“We got back to the basics. We sat down we talked it all out. And now I feel like we made the best album of our career so far,” said Smyers of their new album, Bigger Houses, available now. “I’m really proud of it.”
In the video the pair shared back in July, Mooney explained that he felt their massive success made them too busy to enjoy the moment.
“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,” Mooney said at the time. “I think about all those things that we did and all the decisions that I made, and of course I wish I would’ve been more present. I wish I would’ve hung out with you more. 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 during our arena tour. We built this thing up in our head and I was hanging so much of my happiness on the success of that arena tour. And even when it was successful, I got to that show and we would leave mad about something stupid,” he continued.
The duo eventually had a conversation in March 2022 that changed everything.
“We just weren’t working on it. We let things get in the way. We let things fly out the window,” Smyers said in the YouTube video. “That moment when we sat down and just talked it out, I feel like was so healthy. That night changed it all.”
“Changed everything,” Mooney agreed. “I feel like that was such a big turning point. It was us saying to each other, ‘Look, I’m willing to fight for this.'”
The band’s new album, Bigger Houses, is out now.
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