Dan + Shay fans have been waiting on Christmas music from this duo for years, and this year, 2020 of all years, they finally gave it to us!
The duo has so far released two original Christmas songs titled ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas’ and ‘Take Me Home For Christmas.’ Both of which will make you feel like you are sitting by a fireplace in festive pj’s, sipping hot cocoa, and wrapping presents as cliche Christmas movies play in the background, all while the snow falls delicately outside your window – in other words, the ultimate Christmas dream!
In a recent At Home With series interview with Zane Lowe over at Apple Music, the guys got to chat about their new songs, their collaborations with Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Adele, and so much more! Here are just a few highlights from the chat!
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About Their Christmas Original ‘Take Me Home For Christmas’
Dan: It’s tough to write a Christmas song, an original Christmas… I feel like for all the years Christmas has existed, all the good ideas are taken. You get in there, it’s like, “Let’s write an original Christmas song.” … But you see these articles like Mariah Carey returns to number one on the hot 100. Mariah Carey banks 65 million dollars in royalties. You’re like, “Yeah, we got to do that.” But then you’re like, “Dude, what do we write about?” There’s only so many things you can say about Christmas. Man, we had that hook. It’s a title called “Take Me Home For Christmas.” It’s got a good ring to it. We thought it had a cool cadence. We started singing it, didn’t really fully hash out the direction right at first, but it sang well. We came up with a cool melody structure for it and the chorus, and then it was like that phrase could be out of context, like it’s taken in a sort of provocative way, which is good. It invokes a little bit of intrigue.
Shay: I feel like we kind of approached writing Christmas music kind of like we would writing just a love song or a story kind of as we normally would. Especially right now, with all the craziness that’s going on, I feel like it was pretty therapeutic for us to sit down and think of a better time. Christmas is like the only thing that can save 2020 at this point, so it was kind of cool to be able to get ourselves and reminisce and put ourselves in a happy place, which is Christmas for everybody; I think everyone has memories tied to Christmas. It was really cool to kind of pull from that and to be able to think about the ones that we love and the people that we love in our life and just kind of a happier time, and I hope that that does that for people. This song does that for me, and I know, Dan, it’s kind of… We need that right now. We need a lot of positivity in our lives. This song kind of has that. It’s really a love song. It’s talking about taking somebody home for Christmas and learning all about their traditions and things that they grew up doing. It makes me happy whenever I listen to it, and I know that it’s going to do that for our fans.
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About Their Song ‘Christmas Isn’t Christmas’
Dan: It’s one of those … You’re always trying to come up with that good, catchy, one-liner, like Tequila, you know what I mean? It’s, “Oh, Dan + Shay putting out a record called Tequila, what’s that going to be about?” It’s a little bit clickbait off the top. Christmas Isn’t Christmas, it’s like, “Okay, these guys are going there-” The entire song. Our manager here in Nashville, Lisa Ray, she’s from North Carolina, her family’s like tremendously Southern. What did her mom say? She was … You know, because of COVID, obviously, people are not traveling home to see their families as much this year, but they say that, “Christmas isn’t Christmas if it’s not with y’all.” Like she didn’t even know the song existed and she said that, and it was like, “All right, we think this one’s going to connect with people.” We’re doing it man. We’re printing greeting cards. Like, you know what I mean? You send it to your friend, “Christmas isn’t Christmas … Oh, if it’s not with you.” Oh, and it just warms your heart, right?
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About The Evolution of Justin Bieber
Shay: For us, it’s good to be able to watch people who have been doing it longer than you. Justin is a seasoned veteran. He’s been doing this since he was really, really young. He’s been at the top, not just like been doing it, like we’ve been doing it our entire lives, but not on that level … and obviously there’s challenges that come along with that just in your persona life. The struggles that he’s had to go through, just being that famous that young comes with its own challenges. It’s been awesome to watch his career, and not just musically, but also just him as a person, see how he’s evolved and handled the challenges and things that’s come with all that. Yeah, we’ve definitely taken a lot of things that we’ve watched, some people that we really respect over their careers, and tried to apply that to what we’re doing.
Dan: And, I think Justin also, like he’s had so much success, he’s pivoted; he’s evolved throughout his whole career. Sonically, he’s always kind of one step ahead of the trend. When he did that record with Skrillex and Diplo, it brought a lot of electronic records to mainstream radio, and that was super cool. Bloodpop produced a lot of that stuff, Skrillex produced a lot. It had a sonic theme. Then, it was like cool, he pivoted to the R&B thing, and now he’s doing this thing. When we did the record with Justin, that was kind of his earlier sound where he was making records in Atlanta and LA and Nashville, where it was like a lot of acoustic guitars, country songwriter driven with 808 drums. That was kind of where we went on that, and it was kind of a pivot for him, but it also, I think, reminded his fans of why they fell in love with Justin in the first place. He’s always kind of just evolving and one step ahead of the curve. I think that’s been really big for him throughout his career.
Dan Tells Apple Music About Harry Styles’ Artistry
Dan: Harry’s artistry is just insane. I mean, we got to see him live at Madison Square Garden. We had a day off in the middle of our album promo for the last album. It’s just like he’s got it. He’s always had it since he’s been in One Direction. The solo thing, it’s just like so elevated. It’s so credible. The music is like… I don’t know. What he’s doing is just iconic, man. He looks so awesome doing it, too. Everything is so stylized. His band was bad a–. Everything is just incredible. This new record is just-We always chat amongst our friends. We’re like, “What do you think this person is doing at this very moment?” It’s crazy to think about that with your heroes and your idols. Like, we’re all on the same spinning satellite in outer space at the same time, and it’s like, “What do you think Harry Styles is doing right now?” We’ll look, be like, “Okay, it’s like,” wherever he is, it may be evening. “He’s like sitting. He’s like maybe having some tea.”
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music Why Adele Is The “Greatest Living Vocalist of Our Time”
Shay: First of all, obsessed with Adele. I think her voice, like you already mentioned, probably the greatest living vocalist of our time. There’s people that come around not often, once every 20 years or so. Freddie Mercury would be one for me. Adele is another. It’s absolutely incredible to watch her, to listen to her. She’s one of those people who could sing anything, I think… and it makes it that much more impressive when you pair that amazing song with an amazing vocalist. It just blows me away every time. If I step away and don’t listen to her music for a while, and then she comes back in my life, and I’m just like, “How in the world are you so good, still?” Still as blown away as I was the first time I heard her.
Dan: Speaking more to her voice, she is one of the most talented singers. So much body, so much power in her voice, but there’s also a tremendous vulnerability, which I think makes her voice so special. On that record, When We Were Young really showcases it. I love that record sonically.
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About Taylor Swift’s Collaboration With Bon Iver on ‘exile’
Dan: Justin Vernon, man. His voice is one of the most unique voices in modern music, one of the most unique voices I’ve ever heard in my entire life. His production, how innovative he is, everything he does is incredible. The recording is so warm, and their voices together, that song gave me chills when I heard it. I didn’t know anything about the record. I don’t think anybody really did, or at least we weren’t privy to the information. But I saw that Taylor Swift is doing a record with Justin from Bon Iver and it’s like, “That’s an interesting pairing.” But when I heard it, I was like, “This is such a special song.” I listened to that one so much.
Shay: It’s so impressive to me, as a listener and as a fan. We’ve loved Taylor for a long time, but to be able to be a pop star, people put people in these groups. Now you have the mega pop stars, and you have the cred artists, is what I would say, people who are really making these amazing records.
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About Luke Combs’ Unapologetic Authenticity
Dan: Dude, we’ve known Luke since before ‘Hurricane’ really hit. I remember we heard that song, I think he was doing it at a writers’ round or something out in Vegas for the ACMs, and obviously, he’s got an undeniable voice. He started to pick up a bit of traction, a bit of a following, maybe on Vine or on Instagram, Snapchat, one of the social media platforms, and he was really doing his thing. I think what makes Luke Combs so special is he is unapologetically authentic. He is Luke Combs. Like the guy you see on stage is the exact guy. We hang out off stage, outside of business, we’re friends, like genuine friends, go over there for a bonfire hanging out. He’s got a keg of beer; we’ll drink Miller Lites until the sun comes up like he is just … He is Luke Combs. I think people really connect with that. Especially in these times, man, people really react to authenticity, man, and he’s an authentic guy who has been gifted with one of the most powerful voices in country music history, and it’s reacting on such a crazy level, man. And the fans, the fan base is passionate, diehard, and he’s got a tremendous connection with them, and he doesn’t compromise who he is. You know what I mean? He stays true to his sound, keeps on keeping on. I mean, his records, just the numbers alone, are just out of control, man. But you watch social media. It’s like, he is that guy. It’s like, he’s not trying to put on an act. When he gets on stage during accepting an award or to do a TV performance, he’s the same guy he was when he was at home by the bonfire.
Dan + Shay Tell Apple Music About Appreciating The Stillness of 2020
Dan: Man, it has been a crazy year. Luckily, we’ve been working, we’ve been doing a lot of press, a lot of performances where we get tested almost every day, which I’m not super worried about ourselves. We’re, knock on wood, in good health, but it’s just, if I had it or I was carrying it, I wouldn’t want to endanger somebody else who may be compromised. It’s nice to have that. Obviously, wearing a mask everywhere we go. And I don’t know, we’re taking it very seriously as everybody should. But this holiday season, man, is going to be a little bit different. I think this whole thing has caused us to slow down a little bit and appreciate the good things that we have, or did have. I mean, even for us this year, we were going so hard the last seven, eight years, just grind and grind and grind and shows, shows, shows, record, record, awards show. You start winning a few awards, but you’re never pausing to really, other than the 25 tequila shots and the hangover the next morning, but you’re never really emotionally processing the whole thing. But this year, it all stopped. The rug got swept out from under us, and it was like, dude, we’re so lucky to do what we do. That we get to, not this year but last year and every year before it, to stand on stage in front of fans who bought a ticket to our show because they like our music or it makes them feel a certain way. That’s a special thing. This whole year caused us to reflect. And I think when things get back to normal, I mean, we’re going to be just emotional wrecks, and appreciate every single moment.
“There’s only so many things you can say about Christmas, but we landed on it.”@DanAndShay discuss writing original music for the holidays and select a custom playlist with @zanelowe. #AtHomeWithAppleMusic
— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) December 9, 2020
To watch or listen to the full interview for yourself, click here! It’s 1000% worth the watch! We love these guys, and we wish them nothing but the best moving forward in their careers! We’ll be here supporting them through all of their future endeavors!
Which of Dan + Shay’s Christmas songs do you love the most? Did you love their interview with Zane Lowe as much as we did? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
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Featured Image Source: Dan + Shay via Instagram