How Beyoncé collaborator Tanner Adell manifested working on Cowboy Carter

Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards 2024 and Tanner Adell in a cow girl top.

Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter might feature music legends like Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus and Willie Nelson, but it’s the collaborations with lesser-known names that are some of the most important.

On track two of the sprawling, genre-melding, 27-track record, “Texas Hold ‘Em” hitmaker Beyoncé covers The Beatles’ 1968 track “Blackbird”, stylised as “Blackbiird”.

Yet on Beyoncé’s version, she’s joined by a number of little-known, upcoming Black American women who are beginning to make waves in country music.

There’s Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, and Tiera Kennedy; all of whom have only started to release country music in the past few years.

In a beautiful full-circle moment, Tanner Adell, who gained notoriety for covering supergroup The Highwomen’s track “Crowded Table” in 2021, appears to have manifested her appearance on the album just over six weeks before it was released.

Posting on X/Twitter back in February, following the release of “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages”, the young country singer reached out to Beyoncé for a collaboration.

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

Less than two months later, and she’s there, on track two of a Beyoncé album.

Adell has since posted photos of herself crying when she saw the Cowboy Carter tracklist, as well as an emotional video of her weeping at the Renaissance Tour last year.

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

Tanner Adell only released her debut single “Honky Tonk Heaven” in 2021, while her debut record Buckle Bunny came out last July.

Similarly, Brittney Spencer has only been releasing music since 2019, and Tiera Kennedy only dropped her first single in 2020. Reyna Roberts released her debut record Bad Girl Bible, Vol. 1 last year.

“I’ve typed and deleted at least 10 captions. I don’t have anything clever or curated to say. I’m on a Beyoncé record. The album is a masterpiece,” Spencer wrote on Instagram.

“I’M ON BEYONCÉ’S ALBUM,” Roberts shared on her Instagram. “My first feature ever is with Beyoncé, Thank you God. And thank you to everyone who tagged her in my videos and comments yall made this happen. This is literally a dream come true. I will remember this day forever!”

Members of the Beyoncé fandom – the BeyHive – have begun reflecting on why she decided to platform the little-known singers, and why it matters so much.

“‘Blackbiird’ passing the torch to the black girls in country, tho? My heavens I was tearing up,” wrote one fan.

The lyrics to the song include the verse: “Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise,” which fans are connecting to the fact Beyoncé has given four Black country singers their dream collaboration.

While the star has stated that Cowboy Carter is a “Beyoncé album” rather than a country album, it remains grounded in country music – a genre and industry that has historically marginalised Black artists.

Sharing the album cover earlier this month, Beyoncé said the record was “born out of an experience that [she] had years ago where [she] did not feel welcomed” – an experience fans believe is her appearance at the Country Music Awards in 2016, as her performance with The Chicks at the ceremony led to intense vitriol from conservative country music fans online.

Yet, as Cowboy Carter tops the charts worldwide on its first day of release, it appears that Beyoncé will have the last laugh – as will Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, Tiera Kennedy, and all other Black country artists who may now, finally, be treated with respect in the music industry.

Cowboy Carter is out now.