Story Behind the Song: Dan + Shay, ‘Tequila’
In January of 2018, Dan + Shay debuted a brand-new single, "Tequila," a surprising twist on what listeners might expect from a song named after a kind of liquor. Instead of a classic, uptempo drinking song, the pair responsible for hits such as "How Not To" and "From the Ground Up" start with the imagery of a drink of tequila and build upon that metaphor into an evocative ballad dealing with a lost love.
"Tequila" is the first single from Dan + Shay's as-yet-unnamed third studio album, due out sometime in 2018. Below, Dan Smyers shares with The Boot what went into creating the song.
We wrote that song with our buddy Jordan [Reynolds] and Nicolle [Galyon]. Jordan knows we drink tequila -- he knows that's our go-to -- so he was like, "What if we wrote a song called "Tequila?"" That's how a lot of our writing sessions start.
In typical Nashville songwriter fashion, we made it as confusing as possible for the listener: Instead of writing a feel-good, uptempo kind of thing, we were like, "Let's go to the Dan + Shay wheelhouse: nostalgia zone!" We used the idea of tequila as a trigger to go back to a relationship and get really specific with the details, really tell a story.
We thought there was something really special about having just the piano and vocals, and when we went to cut the track, we wanted to preserve the integrity of why people had fallen in love with the demo in the first place. The track builds up by the end of the song, but I think just having the piano and Shay [Mooney] singing at the beginning really makes people want to stop and listen.
It was the unanimous choice for the single. It feels like Dan + Shay 3.0. It feels like we're doing what we do best. Not to mention that Shay sang the heck out of that song.