Dan + Shay Reveal They Almost Broke Up, Didn’t Speak for Four Months [Watch]
Dan + Shay are opening up about a difficult period in their personal and professional lives that nearly ended the band for good.
Bandmates Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney reflected on that chapter while driving together through a scenic wooded area, capturing their conversation for fans in a video uploaded to their social media. In the clip, Smyers and Mooney turn back the clock to December 2021, when their (Arena) Tour wrapped and they were struggling with burnout and pent-up frustration.
"I was in, like, 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,'" Smyers remembers.
"I could feel the separation, and I think there was little things between you and I that we never talked about," Mooney adds. "It was affecting everything. Not just our band. Like, my marriage, everything. I was in a really dark place."
After their tour wrapped, the bandmates — who'd known each other for nearly a decade at that point — didn't speak for the next four months. Finally, in March 2022, they met in order to discuss the future of the band, and both of them knew that calling it quits was a real possibility.
"Whether we break up and we hug it out and say 'Man, this has been the best 10 years of my life,' or we say, 'Man, this is a launching-off point, this is a new beginning, this is a chance for a whole new outlook on life,'" Smyers says, describing the crossroads they were experiencing at the time.
Mooney also points out out that after the COVID-19 pandemic, they hit the ground running, never taking a pause to appreciate their success. Dan + Shay had recently hit several new milestones and won big awards, including a Grammy trophy. They were throwing all their weight behind pounding the pavement and moving on to the next big career move, and other aspects of their lives, including their respective marriages to their wives, were suffering.
"I completely burnt myself out. Entirely burnt myself out," Smyers admits.
Mooney agrees, adding that he put all his focus on the group's career responsibilities — and the end result was feeling unhappy. He'd walk off stage on the (Arena) Tour, "and even when it was successful, I got to that show, and then we would leave mad about something stupid," he says. "It was because we put so much weight on that moment, when it was over, what a downer.
"Especially at that point, I was drinking a lot," Mooney goes on to say. "So those highs became really high, and the lows became really, really low."
When they finally came together to discuss their issues, they had a conversation that "changed it all," recommitting to their love for the band and creating a path to foster healthy, positive communication.
"The thing that filled my cup the most was being in a room with you, making music together. One of the most important things that's ever happened in my life was Dan + Shay," Smyers relates. "... If we're gonna keep going forever, let's get ourselves right. Let's have a gut check."
Their healing journey revolved around the same bonding experience that brought them together back when they first started 10 years ago: Writing and playing music. "We wanted to hang out, and it was like, writing a song was just our hanging out," Mooney adds.
Fans will soon get to hear the musical results of Dan + Shay's reconnection: They've been teasing new music coming soon, and over the weekend, the duo shared a pre-save link for music set to arrive on Friday (July 14).
"I can feel the closeness of our relationship and our friendship when I listen back to the music," Smyers explains. "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."
The duo ended their video by saying they loved each other, and communicating once again how exciting they are for the chapter ahead. In addition to their upcoming new music, Dan + Shay are joining The Voice as the reality show's first-ever coaching duo in 2024.