With ‘Tequila,’ Dan + Shay Become Larger Than Life
Dan + Shay already had three No. 1 hits under their belt before "Tequila" came along. But none of those songs made an impact quite as significant as the career-defining one that's catapulted the duo into fame outside of the lines of country music.
Sitting down with the media ahead of their free block party concert on Nashville's Music Row Tuesday (Aug. 14), Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney reflect on how the song's impacted both their loyal fanbase and momentum-building career.
"I still get that giddy feeling when I drive down Music Row and see all the banners and plaques," Smyers says, reflecting on his early days in Nashville driving down the famed area where countless country classics have been created.
He knew that one day, Music Row could welcome them. "That could someday be us, if we work hard enough and keep our heads down and do it," he recalls thinking.
While the duo had their share of successes with three consecutive chart-toppers "Nothin' Like You," "From the Ground Up" and "How Not To"; "Road Trippin'" stalled out at No. 42 on the Country Airplay chart. After a relatively quiet 2017, the pair put their heads down and dug deep to find "Tequila" with co-writers Nicolle Galyon and Jordan Reynolds.
Their conscientious work paid off, as "Tequila" has amassed more than 150 million streams, landing inside the list of top five most-streamed songs in 2018. Videos show crowds of people in cities across the country, standing shoulder-to-shoulder singing the lyrics loud enough to give anyone chills.
Fans have a strong reaction to many of the cuts off their 2018 self-titled album, but "Tequila" is "next level," Mooney describes.
"We'd start playing it and we felt cool because we'd start that first chord and they'd lose their minds," he says, recalling when they realized the song had taken on a life of its own.
"We put a lot of work into this point...and try to put out good material for our fans," he adds. "I feel like it was all leading to this moment where we really needed a song to remind our fans why they started to like us in the first place and also give them something a little bit different."
The singers are now beginning to see cross-over success, with "Tequila" reaching No. 21 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100—their highest peak on that chart—and making their first appearance on the Adult Top 40 chart. Fans hear "Tequila" in the pre-show playlist during Taylor Swift's Reputation Stadium Tour, and their second single "Speechless" caught the attention of Demi Lovato. Shawn Mendes also gave them a shout-out on Twitter that led to an in-person meeting.
"This record as a whole I feel is much bigger for our fans. It felt elevated from our fans' reactions to it," Mooney says of Dan + Shay, which has scored more than 263 million streams after its June release. "This is the best record that we could've made, and we're very, very proud of it."
"With a crossover hit, I feel like it's a really cool opportunity for us to spread country music to people who may not have listened to it before," says Smyers. "Hopefully we can grow the format a little bit."
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