Entertainment Music

24 Minutes with Dan & Shay

By Joe Leary

Dan & Shay. (Handout)

Dan & Shay. (Handout)

They are the hottest rising stars in country music and on their most recent swing through Vancouver, Joe Leary spent 24 Minutes with Dan & Shay.

Great hair guys - have you ever been tempted to don the hat?

Shay: I feel like if you’ve got the hair, you’ve got to show it sometimes. We do like ball caps; every once in a while you don’t want to fix your hair so you just slip on a ball cap. I used to have a lot of cowboy hats back in the day when I was working on a farm. It’s more for function as it actually keeps the sun out of your eyes but these days I just like to let the hair flow up to the heavens.

I met you guys in 2014 on the Blake Shelton tour. How’s Vancouver?

Dan: I think this is our third time here and it’s great – Vancouver is an incredible city. I wish I could live here, but it’s probably too expensive. It’s crazy but beautiful, man. It’s good to be back. I went for a little run today and went down to the water and the food here is incredible! We’ve been so jam-packed today that we haven’t really had too much time to get out and do stuff, but hopefully after the show we can see what we can get into.

You’re relatively new in the game but just outside the venue today you’ve got a serious lineup of people waiting to get in and see your show. Think back to when you first started this project, just to get anybody in the room would have been a thrill.

Shay: It really is because we couldn’t pay a bartender or a bouncer to come to our shows before and it’s amazing to come to another country and have people lining up outside to come into our shows and sing us back the words. It really is the ultimate thing for us as songwriters and artists – it’s the ultimate to have people come out to your shows and support your career. It really is incredible to watch the crowd out there. It’s pretty incredible!

You guys met and connected immediately.

Dan: Yeah man, we met at a party at my house actually. We both were doing music separately for a long time; grinding it out and like Shay said, we couldn’t pay a bartender to come out to a show but we were doing our thing and we knew that we wanted to write country music so we moved to Nashville and just by chance Shay came over to my house with a buddy and it was like the worst house ever with no heat; no A/C; the doors didn’t lock. As bad as I describe it – it was even worse, but Shay came over there one night and we started singing together and the next day we were like, 'Hey, we should write a song' and the first song we wrote together got put on hold by Rascal Flatts’ for one of their albums and we were like, 'This could work.' We never stopped writing and boom, here we are. It’s just crazy! It’s just one of those things that was meant to be.

What do you like more as an artist: is it the songwriting process, the recording process or the playing live?

Shay: I would say it’s a combination of all of those things. It’s hard to pick. All of those things collectively make your career. We love to sit down in the room and write songs and tell stories. It depends on what we start with. Sometimes it’ll start with a beat, but most of the time, its storytelling and we’ll be telling each other about stories from our past and things that have happened to us recently and things that we’re going through in our life. That’s really the amazing part of it and it kind of all goes together. It starts with the songwriting process and then you get the song recorded and it’s all produced up and then you get it on the radio and on an album and then you play shows and hear people sing back the words. It’s all an incredible thing and collectively that’s your career, so it’s hard to pick one thing. But songwriting is definitely our first passion and it’s really cool to be able to tell stores through music and that’s what we love about country music – it’s all about storytelling.