Already have an account?
Get back to the

Tiera Kennedy Details ‘Cowboy Carter’ Collab With Beyonce: ‘Once in a Lifetime’ (Exclusive)

Tiera Kennedy Talks Working With Beyonce
Tiera KennedyHubert Vestil/Getty Images

Tiera Kennedy took her broken wings and learned to fly.

The young country star has been enjoying a new surge in fame and fortune following her appearance on Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter. Kennedy — along with Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts and Tanner Adell — helped Beyoncé deliver a transformative rendition of The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” turning the song into what Paul McCartney envisioned it to be when he wrote it in 1968. Kennedy’s lead vocals close out “Blackbird,” and she also sings along with Beyoncé on “Tyrant.”

“I feel like with every album she just keeps raising the bar, and I don’t think anybody’s ever going to top Beyoncé,” Kennedy told Us Weekly exclusively ahead of the release of “I Ain’t a Cowgirl,” her new single. “She’s a living legend, and working with her is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe that I get to say that I’ve gotten to work with her. I look up to her so much as an artist and respect her so much, and to get to work with my favorite artist in the world, it’s super cool.”

Kennedy added that her Beyoncé collaboration has helped introduce her music to tons of new listeners.

Stars React to Beyonce Country Music Album

Related: Lainey Wilson and More Stars Are Embracing Beyonce’s Country Music

“It’s been really awesome that this is happening at this moment and all of these new fans that have found my music,” Kennedy said. “Gosh, it’s been such a God thing, the way this has all panned out.”

Though Kennedy wasn’t able to divulge too many details about how she got involved in Cowboy Carter, she did tell Us that the opportunity to sing on the project came at a low point in her life. Kennedy had been dropped from her record deal and left at a crossroads of her career.

“Part of me was relieved because now I get to put out music that is truly me, and I get to fully say what I want to say,” she told Us. “But also, it is losing a record deal, so it’s kind of scary.”


“In that moment I was like, ‘God, I have no idea what you have planned, but I am along for the ride.’ And I just trusted that he was doing everything for a reason,” she continued. “And then a few months later [Cowboy Carter] happened, and it truly was like a … I don’t know, I feel like now, with everything that happens, there’s always going to be those lows. But with the way this came about, I’m just like, ‘God, I know that even if I’m in my lowest of lows, there’s a reason for it.’”

In one of those “lowest of low” periods, Kennedy wrote her new song, “I Ain’t a Cowgirl.” Released on Friday, April 26, the song depicts Kennedy facing her fears as she pursues her dream. “Gonna wrangle fear, cry my last tear / And stare tomorrow right in the face / There ain’t a damn thing that’s gonna stop me / Gonna grab life by the reins,” she sings. In the chorus, she adds, “I ain’t a cowgirl but I’m gonna be one today.”

“I felt like my career just wasn’t going the way I wanted it to go, and I felt like I wasn’t fully able to be the artist I wanted to be,” Kennedy explained of her new song. “And it was really tough. Music is my entire life, and it wasn’t going right. So, that just bled into the rest of my life, and I was the most depressed I’ve ever been, truly. And that song I wrote from both a place of brokenness and hopefulness that someday it would get better. I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when, but I had faith that it would, and I knew that I had to trust in God, and I had to trust in myself to be able to get through that.”

Tiera Kennedy Talks Working With Beyonce 3
Tiera Kennedy Kamren Kennedy

Kennedy also said that “I Ain’t a Cowgirl” was the first time she leaned into raw, emotional songwriting. “I usually write more happy, upbeat songs,” she said. “But I was just really feeling it, and I needed to get it out in that song.”

She told Us that it’s been cathartic to share that more intimate side of herself with the world. “It’s special and scary all at the same time because it is such a vulnerable song,” she said. “But every time I go to sing, it hits me the same, and I think that that’s the goal with music: to get people through whatever they’re going through.”

Post Malone and More Stars Share Their Love for Beyonce’s ‘Cowboy Carter’

Related: Post Malone and More Stars Share Their Love for Beyonce’s ‘Cowboy Carter’

With the recent debate about who can and cannot be country, “I Ain’t a Cowgirl” inadvertently took on a second meaning. “There’s so many layers,” she remarked. “It’s both meanings. … It’s like, ‘For so long I haven’t stood up for myself, but today I am.’ And then there’s also the literal meaning of, ‘I ain’t a cowgirl, but I’m going to be one today.’”

“Because that is true, who gets to decide who is or isn’t a real cowgirl?” she continued. “For me, I look at those cowgirls and cowboys that are out there really doing the thing and really doing the job, rain or sunshine. And for me, I look up to that. That’s what I aspire to be in my own lane: out there, rain or sunshine, living life and working hard, and striving for what I want at the end of the day.”

Tiera Kennedy Talks Working With Beyonce 2
Beyoncé Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Kennedy noted that the new song’s release “kept getting delayed,” but it now feels like it’s coming out in “the perfect moment” — and she doesn’t plan to waste that good timing. She told Us that her debut album is coming in the fall after she revamped it, adding the vulnerable and angry songs that weren’t there before.

What Is the Best Song on Beyonce’s ‘Cowboy Carter’?

“I feel like I’m able to show up as such a more authentic artist,” she explained. “Because no one is just happy all the time. You feel all the emotions, and I really wanted that to come across with my music too.”

Related: Beyonce’s ‘Cowboy Carter’: All the Cameos, Samples and More

“The past few weeks have been absolutely insane, and we have been working from morning till night getting stuff done, but I love it,” she added. “To be able to come up with an idea, and just do it, and not have to answer to anybody is the best feeling. Also, seeing how people connect with that has been really cool. It’s fun to talk to people one-on-one and have real conversations with people I’ve never met who love my music. It is the best feeling.”

Now, thanks to her involvement in Cowboy Carter, more people have been introduced to Kennedy. As for which song on Beyoncé’s new album is her favorite (barring the ones she sings on), Kennedy has to think. “I love every song on the album,” she says. “It kind of depends on the day, which one is my favorite. ‘Tyrant’ is always a top fave, and I am on that song, so I’m biased — I’m sorry. But today, if I had to choose my favorite song, it’d probably be ‘Ya Ya.’ It’s a jam.

“I can’t even put my finger on what it is about that song; it’s so different,” she added. “It’s so different, and the whole song is just a vibe. And I can’t dance, but it makes me want to get up and dance.”

I Ain’t a Cowgirl” is out now.

In this article

Got a Tip form close button
Got a tip for US?
We're All Ears for Celebrity Buzz!