Dan + Shay walked away from the 2019 ACM Awards with three trophies, for Duo of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year, the latter two for their mega-hit, "Tequila." The duo, made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney, beat out plenty of great tunes in Song of the Year, including Chris Stapleton's "Broken Halos," which is, perhaps to Dan + Shay, the biggest honor of all.
"Honestly, we don't feel worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as Chris Stapleton," Mooney shared with PopCulture.com and other media backstage at the ACM Awards. "He's just such a legend. One of the most talented singers of all time ... [To be] even mentioned in the same sentence as Chris Stapleton is surreal for us, so we will take that and run with it."
It's been five years since Dan + Shay released their freshman Where It All Began album. Even though they had big goals and lofty aspirations for their joint career, in hindsight they admit their dreams weren't quite big enough.
"The fact that we were nominated for these awards – just to get invited to the show," Mooney reflected. "We always say it. and it's just the truth: 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," he continued. "We're so thankful for all the people, everybody in the industry, our team, everybody who works hard for us every day, everybody who's believed in us through all the years ... But this year we got a few awards and it's just surreal. It has been such a cool moment and we're just, honestly, so thankful."
The triple trophies mark Dan + Shay's first big ACM Award wins, but they're just part of a whirlwind year that also included their first Grammy win, as well as another big hit with "Speechless." Still, the guys insist the success, even at such a rapid level, will only keep them more humble.
"Honestly Dan and I, we're just the same people, the same goofy clowns that we always were," Mooney maintained. "It's funny because 365 days ago, one year ago today, we were here doing the acoustic performance of 'Tequila.' We did an abbreviated version of it, first chorus of the song and thanks to so many people that has completely changed our lives but we are so in and we work so hard every day.
"There are a lot of people working very, very hard for us, with us, alongside us," he continued. You kind of don't realize what's happening in the moment, and then you get here and people are like, 'You've accomplished this, you've done this, you've got this stat to your name.' When it's happening, you don't realize it's happening, you're so focused on what's going on in the moment."
"A lot of our peers in that category; they've won this before and I think that celebration should be a celebration heard around the country music world and all of us," Smyers said. "I think it's just the fact the we're here, we're all trying to make great music and not all artists are doing that, so we're just very thankful that tonight was our night. We're just so thankful for that, but we love all those guys and we want everyone to win."
Photo Credit: Getty/Jeff Kravitz