Story // JoAnn Zhang
Photos // Daniel Chaney
Shuttling between Wyoming and Los Angeles, singer Tanner Adell’s sound is halfway between rodeos and Manhattan Beach, but in the conscious gist of her repertoire, she chooses the rodeo, the twangy sounds of country. Her latest releases, including the song “Trailer Park Barbie” and album BUCKLE BUNNY nod at first, to cartoons of middle America: the sepia, grungy trailer park, and the term “buckle bunny,” which has its roots in slutshaming. Says Urban Dictionary, “A buckle bunny is a slutty man or woman that actively seeks out cowboys.” But Tanner is turning the moniker into a title of pride, embracing the sexuality and making herself— the buckle bunny— the empowering subject of a formerly objectifying narrative. She’s Beyoncé with a lasso, and her snakeskin rattles. Who better than her to bring the glamourous sound of LA to the sinfonia of midwestern small towns?
What was the inspiration for Trailer Park Barbie?
It’s probably easy to guess that I’m a real Barbie fan when it comes to sisterhood and the color pink, lots of fashion, and a big old head of blonde hair. I wanted to bring Barbie to the countryside because that pretty much sums me up! A Trailerpark Barbie.
Do you think there is a “way” women are supposed to act in Nashville and how are you trying to change that?
I think women are definitely expected to act a certain way in country music. It’s no secret that women haven’t always been the most included in country music, but I think a lot of female country artists are changing that right now, not just me.
What’s your sign?… and how does that effect you as an artist and performer?
I’m a cancer and I think that makes me extremely passionate and dedicated to what I do. I have no shortage of feelings and emotions and I think that’s why has made me such an expressive writer!!
When are you releasing your mixed tape?
You’ve got quite a following on Tik Tok, why do you think folks respond to you?
I think everybody’s just craving being themselves. It’s so hard sometimes with the pressures of social media and especially being a girl, so many different products and things you have to wear being thrown at you and you’re just expected to keep up. Something about me is that I absolutely don’t keep up. HAHA. I wear what I want and I use the products that I want mostly things that I’ve used for a really long time. I thrift 75% of my clothes and the rest is gifted I think collectively we’re all getting better at sniffing out bullshit on social media, but there’s no bullshit to sniff out about me. I’m just being myself and I think people can see that.
I understand you grew up in Wyoming and Southern California tell us more about that?
I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. My school year was spent in Manhattan Beach California but as soon as school was out, I was up in Wyoming with my cousins and my family. I’ve always been more of a free spirit and concrete and big buildings have never really been for me. Although I for sure, took on the glam and theatrics of Los Angeles, I get my love for country music, and the appreciation of Wide Open Spaces from Wyoming. In Los Angeles, I felt like I was trying to fit into a box that I would just never fit into, but in Wyoming I was just whoever I wanted to be.
Who is Tanner Adell?
To be honest, Tanner Adell, is who you see on stage. Tanner Adell is the face of all the emotions and stories that came from just Tanner. I always say I’m just Tanner, but the girl that goes out and gets shit done, that’s Tanner Adell.
What is a Buckle Bunny?
Buckle bunny used to be an unsavory name for a girl hanging around the cowboys at a rodeo, but now buckle bunny is a woman who is absolutely sure of herself and you know what she’s not settling for anything less than first place.
Growing up bi-racial how do you think that has effected your music, your outlook and your role in Nashville?
I think being bi-racial has allowed me to really create genuine, pop country fusion. I was listening to Dolly Parton and Josh turner, but cranking up Destiny’s Child, and Nat King Cole. I was taught to appreciate Both sides of me and now I’m just putting them together. Obviously growing up back-and-forth between Los Angeles, and Wyoming also gave me a very unique perspective on music.
What is your dream collaboration?
Beyoncé. She dipped a toe into the country genre but I need her back for a bop.
Is your dream to be a country star, or can we expect Taylor Swift pop moves from you in days ahead?
My dream is to be the first genuinely Country Pop star. I’ll always have country roots and that’s just always gonna stay in my music no matter how pop leaning it is.
What are you most excited about with your upcoming EP, and what is your favorite song on that EP?
Saying buckle bunny might be a copout, but I’ve spent nights crying over this song. I spent days literally just laying on the couch, completely defeated, feeling like the people who are supposed to be rooting for me the most were absolutely against me. This song has taught me patience, I thought I was patient before, no I am patient NOW. Not only is this a special song for me, but there are hundreds of thousands of people of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and colors waiting on this song to come out and that’s the most special part of it all.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Get ready for the holidays because I’m still gonna be dropping Christmas bangers you better believe.
Finish the sentence… Tanner Adell is
a crybaby, so be cautious when you’re showing her videos of cute animals!
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