- BBC News World
To describe Miley Cyrus (Tennessee, 1992) journalists and music critics often agree on the same word: chameleonic.
At 30, the actress has also gone through physical, musical and personal changes so significant which is compared to stars like David Bowie and Madonna.
Like them, the interpreter of Party in the USA he has managed to maintain his musical quality over the years, even when not all his albums have been a success.
He has gone from being a child and youth star to a polarizing figure in show business, starring in scandals that involved criticism for cultural appropriation and hypersexualization.
In addition to pop, he explored genres such as hip hop and countryand more recently, with his album Plastic Heartestablished himself as a rock prodigy.
In recent weeks Miley has returned to the music charts, with her single Flowerswhich topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, nearly a decade after its acclaimed hit Wrecking Ball.
In this joyous hymn, with echoes of I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, sings: I can dance with myself / I can hold my own hand / Yes, I can love myself better than you could.
“Cyrus and subtlety haven’t always gone hand in hand (she literally rode a wrecking ball in the video for Wrecking Ballwhich topped the charts in 2013), but Flowers noted for his vocal and musical restraint“, says BBC Culture critic Nick Levine about this single.
The song, precisely, is part of a new album that the actress has also published this Friday, entitled Endless Summer Vacation.
In just hours, critics have not only praised the production, but also described it as a milestone in his career. “It’s another imperial stage for the singer,” says Levine himself.
And in that context, in which Miley rises to the top of pop culture, we briefly review her transformation.
Abandon to Hannah Montana
Miley, the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, launched her career 17 years ago when she played a fictional pop star on the Disney series Hannah Montana. Many remember the successes of that character who, with a fake blonde wig, made the public fall in love with songs like The Climb.
Since then, he has released eight albums spanning genres including pop-rock, R&B, folk pop, and even reflective country. Some more commented and controversial than others, such as bangerswhose launch marked the artist’s image forever.
With bangersof which it is a part Wrecking Ball, Miley wanted to completely break with the Disney image.
It also includes the single We can’t stopin which he sings to freedom and makes an apology for drugs: Dancing with Molly / Doing what we want / This is our house / These are our rules.
And, precisely, the live interpretation that she made of this melody at the MTV Music Awards in 2013 was what changed the perception of her forever.
She appeared on stage with clothes attached to her body, while, with a plush finger, she pointed to her private parts, while she danced attached to her dancers and even did twerking with fellow singer Robin Thicke.
With the publication of bangersCyrus also drew a variety of critics.
He was singled out for having included aspects of black culture to accentuate his new, more daring image.
In particular, for his exuberant use of the twerkinga dance form that originated among African-Americans in the 1980s in New Orleans, and for surrounding himself in his music videos by women of color.
“It’s amazing to me that there was even a controversy about me having black dancers,” Cyrus told Billboard when asked about the controversy in 2017.
The fight against alcohol and his consolidation as a singer
As has happened to so many other famous young people, Miley has struggled with drugs from a young age.
He began using these substances when he was still frequenting the set of Hannah Montana and, in various interviews, he has acknowledged that he has used cocaine. After the premiere of bangersthe singer used to publicly defend the use of marijuana and said that it was less harmful than alcohol.
His drug use was also a very popular topic when in 2019 he separated from fellow actor Liam Hemsworth.
But in June 2020, Miley declared that she had started a life “healthy” and what was “sober” after having undergone an operation on her vocal cords.
“It’s been very important to me over the last year to live a sober lifestyle, because I really wanted to polish my craft,” he told Variety magazine.
In November of that same year admitted that he had had a “relapse” during the pandemicbut that he had begun to abandon the consumption of alcohol and drugs again.
All these experiences, in short, have made her mature as an artist, something that is revealed in her new album, described by the magazine rolling stones as his “sharpest” production, in which he says “goodbye to these messy stories” and “says hello to new opportunities.”
Billboard magazine states that in Endless Summer VacationMiley joins the beats of trap of bangersthe nods to the psychedelia of his album dead petz and the robust rock of Plastic Hearts.
For Levine, 16 years after he split from Hannah Montana, “there is no denying that the singer has built a formidable identity as a true musical chameleon. Whichever route you decide to drive from now on, people will pay attention to you.”
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The evolution of Miley Cyrus: from child star to fight against drugs and consolidate as a pop icon with “Endless Summer Vacation”