Before the duo’s foundation, Mooney was a solo artist on T-Pain’s Nappy Boy Entertainment label and Smyers was a member of a group called Bonaventure as well as a previous member of the band Transition on Floodgate Records. The two met in Nashville, Tennessee, on December 7, 2012, and started writing the day after they met. The first song they ever wrote together got put on hold for Rascal Flatts. Within two months, the duo had multiple publishing offers and signed with Warner/Chappell Music.
On October 14, 2013, the debut single, “19 You + Me”, was released to country radio. Dan + Shay wrote the song with Danny Orton. The song received a positive review at Taste of Country which praised the “warm details” and “emotion.” Their debut album, Where It All Began, was released on April 1, 2014, which Orton produced with Scott Hendricks. The album’s second single, “Show You Off”, was released to country radio on May 12, 2014. They performed on The Ellen Show, performing “19 You + Me” in 2014. They made their Grand Ole Opry debut on February 1, 2014. They also received a 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards Vocal Duo of the Year nomination. The album’s third single, “Nothin’ Like You”, was released to country radio on February 23, 2015. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in December 2015.
Dan + Shay was the opening act for Hunter Hayes on his We’re Not Invisible Tour, which began in March 2014. Dan + Shay opened up for Blake Shelton on the 2014 leg of his Ten Times Crazier Tour. The tour began in June 2014 and ended in October 2014. Following the end of the Ten Times Crazier Tour, Dan + Shay embarked on their own 10-date headlining tour, entitled the “Where It All Began Tour.” The tour began on October 9, 2014, in Minneapolis and concluded in Columbus, Ohio, on October 26, 2014. After the conclusion of the “Where It All Began Tour,” Dan + Shay set out on the road once more with Hunter Hayes on his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour.
In August 2015, the duo announced the Just the Right Kind of Crazy Tour across the Midwest and eastern United States. Their sophomore album’s first single, “From the Ground Up”, was released to country radio in February 2016. The album’s second single, “How Not To”, was released to country radio on September 26, 2016. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in July 2017. The album’s third single, “Road Trippin'”, was released to country radio on July 17, 2017.