Miley Cyrus Talks Dolly Parton Duet, 'The Voice,' Artist Growth
Has Miley Cyrus really found the fountain of youth? We'll have to wait until Sept. 29 when her new album, Younger Now, drops. But if you've heard "Malibu" or tastes of "Inspired" and the title track, you already know that this LP features a very different slice of Miley Cyrus.
In contrast to the bombastic big-room pop sounds of Bangerz and the experimental psychedelic stylings of Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, Younger Now tells a tale that sounds both sweet and mature — a song cycle intent on conveying a new perspective on the young singer's place in the world, where she came from, and how she can leverage her fame to spread a wider message of respect and positivity.
Cyrus stopped by Recording Academy headquarters in Santa Monica for a chat about Younger Now, her godmother Dolly Parton (who joins her for a duet on the album) and what she likes most about her role on the TV singing competition "The Voice."
You've mentioned in previous interviews that you're able to grow from record to record because you don't let yourself be boxed in by what the previous album sounded like. How important do you think that mentality is as an artist, and how does it help you keep your sound fresh?
For me, changing from record to record is just me evolving naturally. In my life, I'm not thinking about an album, or what I'm going to present to other people. I'm just being myself and going through what I go through in life, which changes all of us. Every day we all wake up a little different. So I never think about what I did before or who I was before, because that's not the way that you grow. I try to take every day as a new one, try something else and do something that scares me a little bit — grow every day and let the music reflect that.
You wrote all the lyrics for this new album. Why was it important for you to keep that part of the creative process all to yourself this time?
Writing the lyrics for me solo on this record was important because I'm really trying to project what I think and feel, and I don't think that anyone can know that besides me. It's just a different time for me in my life — how I want to create, how I want to co-create and how I want to collaborate. Lyrics are very sacred to me, and also to my fans. I want them to understand that this record is really all the truth, from me.
You have a duet on the new album with your godmother, Dolly Parton. Can you tell us about "Rainbowland" and why you teamed with Dolly for it?
I wrote the song "Rainbowland" with my fairy godmother Dolly Parton because we wanted to write a song that could really make a difference — that could speak to the current situation of not only our country but the world. It says "We are Rainbows/Me and you/Every color/Every hue," and it's about embracing everyone that is different. It also says, "I don't think I'll sleep a wink/It's the only thought I think." It's about being dedicated to making change.
You're returning as a coach on "The Voice." What is your favorite part of being on the show?
My favorite part about "The Voice" is making music every single day. Anytime you can go to work and just make music all day — that's the best thing ever, that's the ultimate dream. And then working with artists who maybe wouldn't have the opportunity to get their music heard without a platform like "The Voice," I'm just grateful to be a part of it, and to help let unknown artists get their voices out into the world.