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Tanner Adell’s Explains How Beyonce Collaboration Came To Be

Tanner Adell's Explains How Beyonce Collaboration Came To Be

One little blackbird, Tanner Adell, wanted to be on Beyoncé’s new country album. Now, she is.

Adell, who has been making country music for two years, is featured on “Cowboy Carter” cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Paul McCartney said in 2018 he wrote the song to inspire Black women during the Civil Rights movement.

Tanner is one of four Black women on the track, in addition to Beyoncé, that also includes Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer and Reyna Roberts, fellow rising stars in country.

“It’s absolutely seismic. The butterfly effect from this album will span probably the rest of our lives,” Tanner told TODAY producer Nia Phillips of the impact of working with Beyoncé. Newcomers saw their Spotify listens more than double, per data shared by Spotify with the Hollywood Reporter.

Below, she expands on how the collaboration came to be.

The making of a ‘Cowboy Carter’ collaboration

Beyoncé announced “Cowboy Carter” during the 2024 Super Bowl on Feb. 11, dropping two singles that gave a preview of the album’s country flavor.

That same day, Adell posted a bold message on X pitching herself as a collaborator.

“As one of the only Black girls in country music scene, I hope Bey decides to sprinkle me with a dash of her magic for a collab,” she wrote.

It was a huge leap of faith given thesevere social anxiety and performance anxiety she once battled, she told her alma mater in 2022.

“When she dropped those two songs, I was just fingers crossed, you know, ‘Oh, maybe this could be an opportunity for me to work with Beyoncé,’” Adell recalled.

Adell already had a body of work under her belt. She released album “Buckle Bunny” last year and song “Love You A Little Bit” has more than 31 million listens on Spotify. Plus, she’s performing at Broccoli Fest in Washington, D.C. in July and at country music festival Stagecoach in California at the end of April.

Adell said working with Beyoncé was a goal her “whole life.”

“In my song, ‘Buckle Bunny,’ I say, ‘Looking like Beyoncé with a lasso.’ I have loved her for so long and it was really just my hope. Here we are today and I have a little bit of a voice on this album,” she said.

She described attending Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour stop in Los Angeles on the singer’s 42nd birthday, Sept. 4, 2023, as a turning point. 

“I feel like her music raised me and I’ve watched her through her eras and watched her creativity,” she said. “It was life-changing to watch her live. It was my first Beyoncé concert. It was very special for me. She is absolutely undeniable and one of the voices on this album along with so many other incredible voices, incredibly strong voices is absolutely just an honor.”

After the album came out, she posted a video of herself emotional at the “Renaissance” concert, then crying the day of “Cowboy Carter’s” release.

“You can expect a long sappy post tomorrow, but for tonight I just wanna say thank you to Beyoncé,” she wrote.

Adell’s path to country stardom

Her road into the genre is similar to what nearly every country song sings about — a winding back road remaining as the sun rises and sets.

In a 2022 profile with her alma mater, Utah Valley University, Adell said she was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and adopted. Her parents brought her back to their home in Manhattan Beach, California, where she met their two other adopted children, and later an additional two kids that they also adopted.

“My family are my best friends. They have always believed in me and always pushed me to pursue my interests,” she said.

Adell told the outlet she was interested in singing and music from an early age, but was shy and battled anxiety. 

“If a family member walked in on me playing the guitar or singing, I would clam up, fall silent, and stare at them until they left my room,” she said.

But she did advance to recording music for her local church and received her first guitar during a mission trip as a teenager. She created a mixtape of about 12 songs.

Later, Adell said her mom encouraged her to consider UVU’s commercial music program. In college, Adell said she “was still terrified of performing.”

“In the commercial music program, there is a class where every week you prepare a song and perform it in front of the class — it was my worst nightmare,” she said. “My performance anxiety didn’t magically disappear; it was a long road before I got to where I am now.”

She said joining a band helped her “severe anxiety.” With each performance, her confidence increased. “Eventually, my anxiety just faded away,” she said.

After graduating, a university connection set Adell up to work with some industry professionals in Nashville.

What does Tanner Adell sound like?

Adell describes herself as a pop country artist. Her new song, “Whiskey Blues,” releases April 12.

“My music is a conglomerate of my summers in Wyoming and the life I had in Manhattan Beach — a beachy-country mix,” she told her alma mater.

During her TODAY interview, Adell said her “secret formula” for her songs is her honesty.

“There are so many artists who are so good at putting their emotions and their feelings and their experiences into music and I’m no different,” she said. “When I go into the studio, I’m just writing exactly what I think, exactly what I feel, which sometimes can be polarizing.”

For example, she said her song “Buckle Bunny” came from an experience in her teen years, when a bully used the term to describe her. She decided to reclaim the phrase, a derogatory term for women who date cowboys. The song has its own original dances thanks to becoming a TikTok trend.

“I really like that word and it’s really cute. And I know people think it’s not the nicest word, but I want to make it into something that’s empowering. That’s what Beyoncé does. She takes culture and shifts it. We’re seeing a seismic shift in culture right now, and especially country culture. And I am just grateful to be a part of that.”

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