“And you know, my dad a huge part in this, a huge part in who I am. You know how maybe some people have seen me as not a family person? But I f---ing love my family! I’m really close with my dad. If you noticed, he was standing beside me at the VMA’s when I was wearing like, a thong! My dad was like four people away, and he was like, ‘This is creepy!’”
The lyric is about as nice a Father’s Day gift a dad could hope for, and one that Billy Ray Cyrus caught the minute he heard the song. “She had told me there were a couple little references throughout the album,” he told Billboard. “And she wondered if I would pick up on them. And as soon I heard that, hell yeah man, I noticed it. That’s directly out of my life with the girls. We would catch crawdads in the creek.”
In fact, as Miley’s gotten older, she’s formed a new appreciation for her dad’s outsider-ness in Nashville -- born out of a refusal to conform to cultural “boxes,” a trait his daughter has inherited. “My dad is always in a f---ing baseball hat, he’s in sneakers, he’s not in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat all the time,” she said. “He doesn’t play the game. And I think that has come from even him having some pride and being like, ‘I’m not going to change who I am, to fit in into a country category.’”
“Inspired” was also partly... inspired... by the woman who dominated the news more than any other in 2016. “It was my Hillary Clinton song. I wrote it actually maybe a week before I went and campaigned for her,” Cyrus recalled. And she sent me a letter about it. Cause I sent it to her the day after the election, I said, ‘I wrote this song for you, and the reason I thought you would like it is because I always imagined you with your dad, when I wrote about me and my dad playing in the creek.’ Because, you remember when at all the debates she would bring up her dad? Her dad obviously played a very impactful part in her life, and my dad played one in mine.”
And even though the lyric “We are meant for more/ With a handle on the door/ That opens up for change” seems to have anticipated Clinton finally breaking that highest of glass ceilings, even the Democrat’s shocking loss on Nov. 8 didn’t leave Miley feeling defeated -- again, she draws on something Billy Ray often told her.
“He would always say, ‘Life’s not fair’,” she recalled. “And it’s f---ing not. Life’s not fair. Hillary is not president, it’s not f---ing fair. You can’t always get what you want. So am I shocked? No. [The day after the election] Yeah, I was crying. But under it there was sunshine. It’s like -- to get to a rainbow, you’ve gotta get through the rain, kind of thing. And if I can be the sun that creates those colors then that’s what I wanna be. I’m a realist, but I’m also an optimist.”