ACM Awards: Backstage and Upfront with Dan + Shay

Reigning Duo of the Year Talks Chris Stapleton Comparison, Nashville Family and the Year of “Tequila”

Dan + Shay’s excellent adventure continued when they visited the backstage press conferences at Sunday’s (April 7) 54th annual ACM Awards.

Still on a high after their victorious sweep and first ACM wins, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers revealed that the miracle of DVR allowed them to watch their moment in the spotlight on instant replay before they performed with Kelly Clarkson.

“What Reba said, that was like the coolest thing that’s ever happened,” Mooney said with a laugh. “We were on our bus, getting ready for the performance, and we rewound it six times.”

Reba McEntire, the night’s host, waited in the wings and watched Dan + Shay as they took questions from the press. The night also marked the first time the “Tequila” songwriters, Smyers, Nicolle Galyon and Jordan Reynolds, got to celebrate their stellar year with the Grammy-winning song together.

Here’s more from Dan + Shay’s backstage interview.

On whether their moment feels like Chris Stapleton’s 2016 sweep … Myers: “Honestly, we don’t feel worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Chris Stapleton. He’s just such a legend, one of the most talented singers of all time. We’re just fans of country music … We moved to Nashville in 2010 because we wanted to write country music. We never imagined this would happen. This is so surreal.”

On if the past year’s achievements with “Tequila” changes the way they dream of what’s next … Myers: “When it’s happening, you don’t realize that it’s happening. You’re just so focused on what’s going on in the moment, and we got to sing a song called ‘Keeping Score’ tonight with Kelly Clarkson, which is a song that we wrote that was inspired about comparison and not comparing yourself to others. This era that we live in is crazy in the era of social media. Everything is so quantifiable. We always look at what’s on the other side of the fence. We look at what everyone else is doing instead of just appreciating [what we have].”

On the brotherly love Brothers Osborne and Florida Georgia Line are throwing them right now … Mooney: “Well, I think it has a lot to do with just the nature of Nashville. You come up, you move to Nashville, and you play in bars, and you get in every writing room you possibly can, and you try to write the best music you possibly can. It’s not, ‘Man I want to beat this other duo.’ It’s, ‘Those are my friends, and we all put a lot of work to get where we are right now.’ And I think there’s room for every success for every single artist. I think there’s room for all of us. And instead of trying to kick each other on the way up the ladder, I think we need to help each other out … No matter what category you fit in the country music family, I think we need to lift each other up because we all know how it was to get here.”

Denise Truscello/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM
Denise Truscello/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM)
Jeff Kravitz/ACMA2019/FilmMagic for ACM
John Shearer/ACMA2019/Getty Images for ACM
Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.