2019 GRAMMY AWARDS
Dan + Shay win, but no honors for Mac Miller
Pittsburgh artists went 1 for 10 at the Grammys Sunday night in Los Angeles, the one winner being Dan + Shay, the Nashville pop-country duo that features Pittsburgh native Dan Smyers.
They won their first Grammy on their first nomination: best country duo/group performance for “Tequila,” a single from their third, self-titled album that they also performed during the prime-time show.
The posthumous Grammy honor for Mac Miller, nominated for the first time, didn’t pan out as his fans hoped, as best rap album went to chart-topping Bronx sensation Cardi B.
Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra swept their two Grammy categories last year but did not repeat on Sunday. The PSO was nominated for best orchestral performance and best engineered album, classical, for “Beethoven: Symphony No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1.” Those awards went to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its engineers for “Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11.”
Two former Pittsburgh-area artists were nominated for best theater album: four-time Grammy winner Renee Fleming (for “Carousel”) and Dormont composer Stephen Flaherty (for “Once on This Island”). The award went to “The Band’s Visit,” a musical about an Egyptian police orchestra that inadvertently ends up in a remote Israeli town. Ms. Fleming was also nominated for best opera recording (“Der Rosenkavalier”), which went to The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and soloists for “Bates: The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.”
Former Pittsburgher Christina Aguilera’s “Like I Do” (with Goldlink) lost to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” a heavy favorite, in the best rap/sung performance category. In best pop duo/ group performance, her “Fall in Line” duet with Demi Lovato was outmatched by the Lady Gaga-Bradley Cooper
juggernaut “Shallow,” from “A Star Is Born.”
Dan + Shay were the lone winners with local ties. Mr. Smyers, a North Allegheny High School and Carnegie Mellon University grad, fronted the Christian poppunk band Transition as a teenager, traveling the country, sleeping on floors and couches.
After graduating from North Allegheny High School, he put the music career on hold for three years to earn a degree in finance at CMU.
He put that aside in 2010 to take his shot in Tennessee, where he met Shay Mooney at a keg party and formed the duo.
“I loved my country my whole life but was just playing what my friends were playing,” he told the PG in 2015. “I loved all kinds of music and still do, whether it’s hip-hop, punk rock, rock. I always wrote [country], but I never really put it out. I guess it wasn’t good enough.”
They hit the country chart with their first single, “19 You + Me,” in 2013 and have topped the country album charts twice. The duo came to Pittsburgh in November to perform a benefit for the Tree of Life fund at the Byham and will be on the bill with Florida Georgia Line at KeyBank Pavilion on Aug. 2. The other award for which they were nominated, best country song, went to Kacey Musgraves for “Space Cowboy.”
Dan Smyers, left, and Shay Mooney of musical duo Dan + Shay with their award for best country duo/group performance in the press room during the 61st Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.
Offset, left, and Cardi B arrive at the 61st annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday in Los Angeles. Cardi B won a grammy for best rap album.