Now, in a new interview on Rock This with Allison Hagendorf, Cyrus has revealed how rock music has influenced her from a very young age. As well, she shared which artists she credits for paving the way for this new generation of female rock musicians.
Over the years, we’ve seen Miley Cyrus evolve as an artist. From her early days on Hannah Montana to her highly publicized Bangerz era, Cyrus is a musical chameleon who has never been afraid to try something new. Her latest album Plastic Hearts marks a major departure from the country-pop roots heard on 2017’s Younger Now. In fact, this recent release showcases Cyrus in a way fans have never seen her before.
For Plastic Hearts, Cyrus joined forces with music icons Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks and Billy Idol for several explosive collaborations. Last month, Cyrus even reunited with Joan Jett and Billy Idol for the TikTok Tailgate show ahead of the Superbowl.
During her rock-filled headlining set, Cyrus performed “Bad Karma” with Jett and “Night Crawling,” her collab with Idol. Her set also included covers of Bikini Kill, Dolly Parton, Blondie and even that Nine Inch Nails cover.
In a new interview with Allison Hagendorf for the Rock This podcast, Cyrus shared that her dad—Billy Ray Cyrus—introduced her to strong female artists from a young age. As a result, she never grew up with the notion that rock ‘n’ roll was only made for men.
“My dad’s jukebox, when like Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash would come over, he didn’t really have country singing dudes on his jukebox, to be honest,” she says. “My dad had Etta James [and he] made me listen. I never could appreciate it until I was older. [He] drove me to work every single day because we grew up working together. And my dad had one CD in his car and it was Etta James. And I listened to it for four years and it was Etta. It was Stevie, it was Joan, it was Debbie [Harry]. It was always female rock and rollers. And I never grew up with that stigma, a stereotype that rock ‘n’ roll was made for dudes.”
In fact, Cyrus goes on to say several notate female rock artists have inspired her for years. For her, the risks Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and Joan Jett took throughout their careers heavily paved the way for her and this new generation of female rock musicians. As well, both of these artists helped inspire the rock music we hear today.
“Some of my favorite artists, their music has always been political,” Cyrus says. “Their activism has been in their performances and their style of entertaining. Kathleen Hanna, I mean, she was writing like ‘slut’ across her chest and in many schools wearing a pair of panties while singing rock and roll music at the same time that people were lining up to see mainly dudes perform rock music. I mean, even for Joan, she was told like, ‘get rid of the guitar. We’re not looking for an artist like this. You know, if you’re ever going to make it, drop the guitar, drop the leather, be more feminine.’
I love the way that Kathleen, also, I feel [she] was kind of self-deprecating and there was a humor to it. But also there was a demand for action. And I do think that it was almost kind of like creating policies. And I think that politics and music, there is a marriage there. I think there is something about old-fashioned entertainment escapism. There are times where that’s what you want from your music, but there are times where you also want demand and you want there to be a reflection of what’s happening politically or culturally in your music. And Kathleen’s a big inspiration for that.”
Over the past year, Cyrus has paid tribute to numerous female artists in the rock genre. Her latest album includes her previously released covers of Blondie‘s “Heart Of Glass” and the Cranberries’ “Zombie.” As well, she also covered Hole‘s “Doll Parts” late last year. The emotional cover eventually earned a response from Courtney Love who had nothing but good things to say about it.
“Miley Cyrus was very sweet and I am touched,” Love said.
Although Plastic Hearts is out, Cyrus’ time in rock music is far from over. Currently, Cyrus is working on a Metallica covers album. Prior to the release of Plastic Hearts, Cyrus revealed that Metallica are one of the bands that inspired the sound on her new rock album. Shortly after, she confirmed that she is officially recording a Metallica covers album.
“We’ve been working on a Metallica covers album and I’m here working on that,” she told Interview Magazine in October 2020.
“I did a Metallica cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’ featuring Elton John on piano,” she says. “I’ve got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith [Red Hot Chili Peppers]; so many all-stars. I’m so excited about this collaboration. I’m really stoked. I love when ingredients don’t quite fit.”
Miley Cyrus’ full interview on the Rock This podcast is available to stream below, and you can listen to her latest Plastic Hearts here.
What are your reactions to Miley Cyrus’ comments on the artists that have influenced female rock musicians? Let us know in the comments below.