Dan + Shay: What 'From the Ground Up' Reveals About the Duo - Rolling Stone
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Dan + Shay: Five Things ‘From the Ground Up’ Reveals About the Duo

With their romantic ballad topping the country songs chart, Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers shares the hidden meaning behind the song

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Dan + Shay scored their second Number One single with "From the Ground Up."

Fred Lee/Disney ABC Television Group

With “From the Ground Up,” a modern-day country ballad about a timeless romance, velvet-voiced duo Dan + Shay scored the second Number One single of their career this week (and second in a row), topping both the Mediabase and Billboard country songs charts. But the song is more than just a career milestone to the team of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney.

Co-written by the duo with Chris DeStefano, “From the Ground Up” was penned in honor of the long-lasting love both singers’ grandparents enjoyed – more than half a century for each marriage. Smyers had just lost his grandfather and Mooney’s was in the hospital, and both were reflecting on their families. They also hoped that they too could build relationships strong enough to stand the test of time, making “From the Ground Up” their most personal release to date. (For Mooney, it worked: he recently got engaged to onetime Miss Arkansas Hannah Billingsley.)

In fact, Smyers believes the track – the leadoff single from their second album, Obsessed – reveals so much about who they are and hope to be that it’s worth spelling out point-by-point. In his own words, Smyers explains the five biggest takeaways that “From the Ground Up” reveals about Dan + Shay – and the people who have most influenced their lives.

1. “Right off the bat, we mention our grandparents, who were actually both married for over 65 years. This song began with a discussion as I was just returning from my grandpa’s funeral in Ohio. We shared stories about the true love of our grandparents, and the song basically wrote itself.”

2. “We are both in committed long-term relationships. The lyrics of the chorus are representative of where we are in our lives right now. The content of our sophomore album [Obsessed] reflects how we’ve matured through our 20s, and ‘From the Ground Up’ is a prime example.”

3. “To make a great relationship work, you need to work at it. There will be ups and downs, and one thing that is slightly lost on our generation is the commitment to stick with it. Our grandparents were married for over 65 years, and they made it work no matter what came their way. The second verse discusses this in the lyric, ‘The clouds are gonna roll, the earth’s gonna shake, but I’ll be your shelter through the wind and the rain.'”

4. “The third verse starts off with ‘Someday we’ll wake up with thousands of pictures.’ Growing up, I vividly remember flipping through photo albums of my grandparents and wishing to someday have a love-filled, long-lasting relationship of my own. We are very active on social media, and take a lot of photos whether we are on the road or at home. This is our generation’s way of documenting those special moments, just like our grandparents did in their photo albums. It will be something nice to look back on in 65 years.”

5. “Family matters. Our favorite lyric from the song is ‘I’ll be the man your dad hoped that I’d be’ – if you follow us on social media, you’ll also know that we are suckers for father-daughter songs.”

Along with the personal touch of “From the Ground Up,” Dan + Shay fans will also be able to get up-close with the duo on their upcoming Obsessed Tour. Kicking off November 10th in Denver, and finishing up December 17th in Boston, the run spans 15 cities and includes special guest Walker Hayes.

In This Article: Dan + Shay


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