On Tuesday (Jan. 30), Dan + Shay celebrated their two singles, “From The Ground Up” and “How Not To” that went to No. 1 on the country radio charts. “From The Ground Up” was written by Shay Mooney, Dan Smyers, and Chris DeStefano, and is DeStefano’s 14th No. 1. “How Not To” was written by Kevin Bard, Paul DiGiovanni, and Adam Hambrick and marks their No. 1 debut. Both singles were produced by Scott Hendricks.
ASCAP’s Beth Brinker gave the opening remarks to a crowded lobby of friends and family. “We are celebrating today two amazing songs, songwriters, and an amazing duo that continues to know how to write and cut songs that keeps them on the top of the charts,” said Brinker. “Since ‘From The Ground Up’ was written and hit No. 1, these guys have gone on to really build it from the ground up. They have went on to get married and have babies. This is a lot more special now then it would have been when it first hit the top of the charts.”
“’From The Ground Up’ is a special song,” said Smyers. “I was on my way home from my grandfather’s funeral and we went to cut a vocal on another song. We got to talking about our grandparents who were married for 65 years. Thank you [DeStefano] for helping bring that one out of us. It takes on a whole new meaning now with my wife and being married.”
DeStefano remarked, “Thank you Dan + Shay for letting me be in the room with you that day and taking this journey together. It was a special day of writing. We were digging deep right from the get-go. The song wrote itself, but it was from a real genuine and personal place.”
Brinker honored Bard, DiGiovanni and Hambrick on their first No. 1, gifting them with an ASCAP Yeti cooler. BMI’s Bradley Collins gave a nod to Hendricks for his 68th and 69th No. 1 songs, and Mooney’s third No. 1. BJ Hill and Warner Chappell made a donation to Pencils of Promise.
“From The Ground Up” hit No. 1 in August 2016 and “How Not To” in June 2017. Both songs have a combined 215 million streams and 2.8 billion radio impressions.
“We almost didn’t write ‘How Not To,'” DiGiovanni said. “It was the last write of the year, but we did. We wrote the song in about 2 hours and it was the best feeling ever. These are some of my best friends right here.”
Bard, a Los Angeles-based writer added, “It is surreal to be up here. Every call I got I was, ‘Are you sure you have the right number?’”
Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson honored the songwriters with plaques. Jeremy Stover from Red Creative congratulated Hambrick and Dan + Shay, while John Ozier from ole awarded them iPads. Kent Earls of UMPG also offered trophies while Brandi Simms of the Country Music Association, offered No. 1 medallions for the country radio success.
“I got to go on the bus and watch [Dan + Shay] do what they do for a day,” Hambrick said. “It blew me away. You were ones that set a trajectory in our careers and were the first to believe in something we did. I write songs because my mom has written songs for as long as I can remember. I thought when you sing, that’s what you do, write songs. This is the only job I think I can do in the world worthwhile.”
Smyers commented “Rohan [Kohli] was not quite working at Warner Brothers Nashville yet, but I send him an email saying, ‘We need something to beat that last song.’ He sends us ‘How Not To,’ formerly ‘Not To.’ I had no clue who wrote it, but I sent it to Shay and Scott. After one verse and one chorus Scott said it was a smash and we need to cut that song.”
In addition to honoring their No. 1s, John Esposito of Warner Music Nashville surprised Dan + Shay with a RIAA Gold record for their album, Where It All Began.
Esposito recalled having the duo, formerly named Ragtop Red, in to his office, where locked the door and said, “You are not leaving until you are Warner Brothers artists.” What was scheduled to be a one-hour meeting turned to three and a half hours. “Nobody was getting Dan + Shay,” said Esposito. “You guys make me so proud and this ride has just started.”
“We came to this town and have been to a lot of No. 1 parties,” said Mooney. “We have had a couple ourselves, but I am still blown away every time we get to stand on this stage. I want to thank God for country music. I can’t believe we get to do this for a living. This community is a family and country music is a family.”
Brinker closed the event with thanks to the teams, songwriters, friends and family, and First Tennessee Bank for their support.
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