Dan + Shay Challenged Themselves With New Album: ‘This Feels Like Us’
Many artists avoid putting pressure on themselves when making an album, but Dan +Shay did the opposite on their self-titled project.
Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney saw their first two albums top the chart and celebrated three consecutive No. 1 singles, but they're not relying on their past success to carry them through. They're using this new project as a way to challenge themselves musically. Dan + Shay follows Where it All Began and Obsessed, and Smyers admits that he and Mooney embraced the pressure of trying to outdo their prior work in order to create the best music.
"It's tough to not compare yourself to other people, but you always got to compare yourself to yourself," Smyers explains. "We've put out these two records and had a certain amount of success with those, and it definitely put a lot more pressure on us. When we were writing and in the studio, it's like, ‘Is this idea better than everything we've ever put out to this day?' and if it wasn't, let's keep digging."
Fans were wildly positive about the album's first single, “Tequila," which Smyers says is representative of the rest of the album.
“Having 'Tequila' come out and do really well for us also put a lot of pressure on us because this is the standard for this new project," he explains. "The music that we have coming after it we feel like is even more elevated.”
Though fans have a taste of Dan + Shay through “Tequila” and the sentimental “All to Myself” and “Speechless,” the duo haven't shown all of their cards yet. Smyers promises fresh elements in their new music — fans will get a true sense of who they are as artists.
"We've got a cool few little Easter eggs on the record, some things that we've never done. Expect some surprises on there," he says. “I feel like this is the first time we really nailed it telling our story, saying what we want to say and putting the songs out that sound like we want to sound and how we want to be perceived. It feels really special, the whole body of work."
The "From the Ground Up" singers will continue to push themselves when making future projects and hold themselves to a high standard so they're constantly evolving.
"It's going to be more of the same as we continue to write music. You got to beat what you had in the past. If we keep holding ourselves to that standard, I feel like [it will] continue to grow our career and mature as musicians. I think ultimately that's what it's about, just pushing yourself to get better,” he says. "We feel like this is our third record, we know what Dan + Shay is. This feels like us."
Dan + Shay is out June 22.
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