Tiera Kennedy found a unique angle for her first radio single: she ran it through a Cameron lens.
Kennedy co-wrote “Found It in You” with songwriter and producer Cameron Bedell, who is currently on the road co-writing Jimmie Allen’s “Down Home.” But “Found It” also draws heavily on another Cameron, Kamren Kennedy, whom she married on October 2nd. The pair became an item in 2014 when she posted a photo on social media of a camera she was planning to buy. Kamren sent her a direct message and offered to train her in photography, and he became both her creative director and her husband.
He was also the subject when she first wrote with Bedell at Liz Rose Music on January 28, 2019. “I started talking about my husband — he was just my boyfriend at the time,” she recalls. “But I started talking about all the things I love about him. We just started listing them and putting them into a song.”
The subject may be rooted in her personal life, but the song’s name was on Bedell’s cell phone. “I had that title in my notes – ‘Found It in You,'” he recalls. “I wanted to write this song to be like, you know, ‘All I’ve been looking for is over – the search is over. I found it.’ She immediately says, ‘Oh my god, I love this. We have to do this.’ So it happened naturally.”
Bedell formed a progression composed mostly of major chords, providing a cheerful backdrop for her upbeat message and intended blend of genres.
“She grew up listening to mostly country music – you know, she loves Dolly [Parton]’ says Bedell. “But by nature, she has a pretty strong R&B feel to her music and singing. It’s a perfect mix of country and some of that old school R&B. This is exactly where I thrive.”
They began listing the positive qualities of Tiera’s future husband on line one, emphasizing his willingness to listen, patience, and encouragement. And the last line of the first verse – the structure of the chorus – might be the most important in the song, as it acknowledges that “truly good love is hard to find”.
The chorus then switched gears with two ascending groups of three notes – “III, found in…” – leading to “you,” the man she’s celebrating. The chorus presents him as the piece of the puzzle that completes them: a source of confidence, happiness, and security.
Remarkably, very little of “Found It in You” focuses on the physical. There’s no real reference to sex, no description of her visual essence — other than an appreciation that he loves her, whether she’s “dressed real smart or has all my hair down.”
“At the end of the day, he’s my best friend, so it’s really not just about the physical stuff for both of us,” says Kennedy. “I mean we really love being together and I feel like we bring out the best in each other. I really just wanted to show that in the song.”
But avoiding tactile intimacy allows Found It in You to serve a more universal purpose. “I’m obviously talking about a significant other, but my hope with this song was that people could listen to it and it could be about a friend or someone in their life,” she says. “I feel like everyone has that person in their life that changed their world. And so I hope people will think of that when they hear it.”
The song took another step when they recorded the beginnings of a demo at the end of their writing deadline. The chorus was nine lines and repeated the title three times, but during one of the takes she lengthened it further and sang “I found it in you” three more times at the end of the verse.
“As I worked on freeing her up a bit with her vocals, I thought, ‘You’re so good I don’t want you to be tense. I know this is the first time we’re meeting, but you’ve got it girl and you’re so good. So just do your thing Even if it’s too much,’” Bedell recalls. “So after she sang the first chorus, she just started singing it. It was kind of a mistake that turned into a nice little piece of gold.”
After the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2020, they packed “Found It in You” with several other songs for recording. Bedell sent them to other musicians, who added Kennedy’s vocals to their parts one at a time and returned the tracks digitally. She independently released this version in October 2020, and she helped draw attention around her.
Valory announced Kennedy’s signing on August 5, 2021, and the team decided to re-record several of her songs, including “Found It in You,” with producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Kane Brown). They hosted a tracking session with a five-piece band – guitarists Ilya Toshinsky and Derek Wells, bassist Craig Young, drummer Aaron Sterling and keyboardist Charlie Judge – at the Sound Stage in Nashville in September. The sound quality itself was brighter, the group dynamics generated more energy, and they switched the spiky rhythm guitar from acoustic on the demo to electric on the master, adding a touch more brawn. But the changes were minor.
“The idea with something like this is not to throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater,” says Huff. “When they get to that point in their conversations with a label, they love something [the artist is] do. So it would be stupid to change it directly. That’s not really the drill; it is to increase it.”
Paul Franklin layered a steel guitar on top for the country part of the balance, though he also nodded to Kennedy’s R&B roots with a backing line in the second verse that — after Huff did some EQ work — sounded like gangsta rap sounded synthesizer line from a Dr. Dre production from the early 90’s.
Kennedy revised her vocals at Huff’s home studio and worked with Bedell on backing vocals, although Melissa Fuller later added an additional vocal. Huff also overdubbed mandolin and some additional guitar parts, including a double guitar passage in the fading moments. He insisted that Bedell get the first credit in their co-production deal.
“He’s a multifaceted guy,” says Huff. “He and Tiera have a serious connection. She trusts that. You are frivolous in these relationships.”
Valory released “Found It in You” on July 18 to country radio via PlayMPE. And Kennedy hopes it brings a little optimism into the world, as much as it reflects the positivity she receives from her two Camerons: her producer/co-writer and her husband/creative director.
“I always think about who I wrote the song about, even when I’m performing it live,” she says. “I want people to feel the happiness I felt through this song.”