Miley Cyrus Reflects on Her Career Evolution, From Hannah Montana to New Single 'Malibu'

“Change is something that you can count on,” says Billboard cover star Miley Cyrus, who has evolved in leaps and bounds.


SOUND: Spunky guitar pop

SAMPLE LYRIC: “He’s lightning/Sparks are flyin’” (“He Could Be the One”)

STATS: The franchise produced three Billboard 200 No. 1s, with the 2006 self-titled first album moving 3.7 million copies in the United States, per Nielsen Music. “He Could Be the One” reached No. 10 on the Hot 100 in 2009.

MILEY SAYS: ”At 13, 14 years old, I had to sing ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.’ I realized I didn’t want to make records like that again.”


SOUND: House-party hip-hop

SAMPLE LYRIC: “I’m a Southern belle, crazier than hell” (“Do My Thang”)

STATS: The 2013 album was her second Billboard 200 No. 1 as herself, selling 1.1 million copies. “Wrecking Ball” held at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for three weeks that year.

MILEY SAYS: "At the end of the show [on the Bangerz Tour], the doors open like The Truman Show because my life was like The Truman Show. I was riding off on a hot dog, because it’s fucking fun.”


SOUND: Punk psychedelia

SAMPLE LYRIC: ”Yeah I smoke pot, yeah I love peace/But I don’t give a fuck, I ain’t no hippy” (“Dooo It!”)

STATS: Released on SoundCloud in 2015, before its streams were tallied, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz didn’t chart. “BB Talk” has 25.5 million YouTube views.

MILEY SAYS: “In rock clubs, I’d come out with my unicorn dick, and they’d look at me funny. You could tell some people were like, ‘I brought my niece!’ Wrong show!”

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz along with actress Pamela Anderson (R) perform onstage at The Wiltern on Dec. 19, 2015 in Los Angeles.


SOUND: Billy Ray Cyrus describes it as “picturesque lyrics like Dolly’s meets Roy Orbison meets The Beach Boys.”

SAMPLE LYRIC: “Here I am, next to you, the sky so blue, in Malibu” (“Malibu”)

MILEY SAYS: “This is like all my eras in one record: My 11-year-old self, my Bangerz self, my Dead Petz girl are all in here. The craziest thing I can do now is go on Fallon in jeans and a T-shirt. Not because I want to ‘act normal,’ but because that’s really what I wear.”

-- Reporting by John Norris

This article originally appeared in the May 13 issue of Billboard.