When Alabama native Tiera Kennedy took the leap to pursue a career in Country music, she always dreamed of making it big.
The singer/songwriter started creating unique, relatable songs from an early age, with her debut single “Found It In You” arriving in October of 2020. Co-written by Kennedy alongside Cameron Bedell, the song details her loving relationship with her husband creative director Kamren Kennedy and shot to the top of the streaming charts almost immediately after its release.
A short time thereafter, Kennedy found her dreams quickly becoming a reality when she became the flagship artist on Nicolle Galyon‘s groundbreaking Song & Daughters Publishing and one of the many signed to The Valory Music Co, which is home to artists like Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Sheryl Crow and Conner Smith. Her songs — which blend sounds from her Southern roots and love for R&B and soul — are literally the forefront of the genre’s progression, and CMT is recognizing Tiera for her hard work at the 2023 CMT Music Awards in Austin, Texas on April 2nd.
Earlier this month, CMT shared that the Birmingham, Alabama native’s music video for “Found It In You” is one of the six stunning visuals nominated for “Breakthrough Female Video of the Year” at the big show, which — according to the network — is the best video from a female artist’s major breakthrough album.
Noting that she’s still “trying to process” the big news, Tiera tells Celeb Secrets that moments like these are the confidence booster she really needs to keep putting herself out there to make more music and become the star she is meant to be.
“Our label head Scott Borchetta broke the news to me and I was in shock,” Kennedy tells Celeb Secrets Country reporter Juliet Schroder merely 24 hours after the big announcement. “It’s something that you dream of happening and I didn’t think that it would happen now.”
Opening up about being “hard on herself” when it comes to her career, the bona fide songstress says that the nomination makes the exciting yet difficult journey of being a star worth all of the risks and sacrifices she’s made over the years.
“This nomination was just a confidence booster for me. I feel like it’s a little wink from God telling me ‘you’ve got this; you’re doing great,” she shares. “It makes the good days and the bad days worth it… I have to be doing something right if I am nominated for an award.”
With only a few weeks left until show day, Kennedy says that she’s excited to walk the red carpet as a first-time nominee with her husband Kamren by her side, who she says has also been prepping his outfit for his wife’s big moment.
“I don’t really know how to properly pose yet, so I’ve been practicing every day in the mirror,” she says with a smile. “I’ve got a couple of dress options at the house waiting for me, so we’ll see what I end up wearing.”
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But before making her way to the Moody Center, Tiera will be performing songs like “Found It In You” along with some new tracks on the road with fellow country singer Danielle Bradbery, as she’s direct support for the former The Voice winner’s A Special Place Tour.
“It’s so fun touring with [Danielle], Tiera says. “Sometimes people think that there can be like a catty situation since we’re all girls, but Danielle and Mackenzie [Carpenter] are so great and we’ve been having a lot of fun just hanging out with each other.”
Playing songs from her self-titled EP, Kennedy says that fans can also expect a fun Beyoncé and JoJo mashup before hearing some of her new material off a new project that’s expected to come out later this year.
“The stories in these songs are really personal to me and I feel like when people listen to them, hopefully they’ll get to know me a little bit better,” she says.
Teasing that the new project will feature a lot of love songs about her relationship with her husband Kamren, Tiera shares that there will also be breakup songs sprinkled in about a former flame from her high school days.
“Besides my husband, I’ve only had one boyfriend in high school,” she jokes. “So whenever we write breakup songs, we dig up all of the emotions from my teenage years.”
But out of all the tracks slated for her new body of work, Tiera says that her favorite is a song called “I Ain’t A Cowgirl,” as it shows a bit more of her vulnerable side.
“I got to write this project with my friends, so it was a little bit easier to get in the room and be more vulnerable. I’ve definitely had some crying sessions in the writers’ room,” she recalls.
“That song was kind of my first time really just digging into that and settling into that and putting it all in a song. It was scary for sure, but I know that there are so many people that have been through what I’m singing about. I posted a snippet of it on Instagram and the amount of people that commented saying that they felt the same way and that listening to the songs helped them encourages me to put out more music like that.”
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Hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown, the 2023 CMT Music Awards air LIVE from the Moody Center in Austin, TX on Sunday, April 2nd @ 8/7c on CBS.
You can watch the music video for “Found It In You” below: