“This is my third time meeting her,” a Noah Cyrus fan tells me giddily as we wait for the singer to perform her latest hit, “Stuck,” at the TuneIn studios in Venice, California. He’s not the only fan in the intimate audience with their own Cyrus story: Several of them chat excitedly about her “epic” performance at Wango Tango, where she performed her new track “I’m Stuck” and her hit “Stay Together.” While major spaces like Wango Tango and Coachella — another festival that had Cyrus grace the stage — are surely shows her fans will remember, this intimate performance is extra special. Cyrus may be a relative newcomer to the music scene, but she certainly knows how to hold her audience’s attention.
I’ve personally had Cyrus’ anthem to carefree nights with friends stuck in my own head ever since the singer belted out “Stay Together” at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. (Which she did in front of skateboarders cruising down a halfpipe, FYI.) The song — an ode to the wild night where most of the fun is had goofing off in the back of an Uber, rather than popping bottles at the club — is carefree, fun, and should conjure up plenty of nostalgia. For Cyrus, however, it’s a wholly authentic song. She’s still very much living those teen days — even if she’s a little busier than your typical 17-year-old.
The singer — who, yes, is the younger sister of Miley and the daughter of country crooner Billy Ray — is having a blast working on her upcoming album, appropriately titled NC-17. The wildly different released singles — which also includes “Make Me (Cry)” a heartbreaking tune featuring frequent collaborator Labrinth — are proof Cyrus isn’t here to cater to any audience. In fact, that might just be why her fans are so passionate about her.
I spoke with Cyrus after her performance at the TuneIn studio, where we talked about her craziest fan moment and how she dealt with the haters.
Your new song “I’m Stuck” has a country flair to me. Do you feel a connection to country music?
“For sure. I’ve been listening to country since I was a baby, you know, going on the road with my dad and stuff and just him raising me listening to Dolly [Parton] and Johnny Cash and a ton of these country artists. It’s always been a part of my roots, but this is the only song on the album that ties in that country sound.”
“Stay Together” is such a fun song. Is there a particular night or moment that you are singing about when you perform that song?
“Not really. When I wrote ‘Stay Together’ I was thinking of a particular moment, but it just reminds me of hanging out with my friends, and doing stupid shit with my friends, and then the next morning being like ‘What the hell was that?’ [Laughs] That’s kind of what it reminds me of. Of the first time I snuck out [of my house.] It’s more about after the party, you know? Hanging out after [all of that.]”
“That was all I wanted for the album, was for it to be relatable to everyone listening, because it’s super personal, the whole album.”
Unlike your sister, you have bypassed projects that are geared towards children. Was there a reason why you chose not to explore projects for a younger crowd?
“I think if I had been a little younger, and I put my music out last year or two years ago, my music would have been a little more kid-friendly, or all-ages. But still, I feel like my music doesn’t have an age limit on it. ‘Stay Together’ isn’t awful. We have the clean version with no bad words! [Laughs] My album isn’t literally NC-17, it was just a nice tie-in to the name.”
What was the inspiration behind the “Stay Together” performance at the MTV Movie & TV Awards? You had skateboarders!
“We wanted it to be a little bit like Venice Beach. We were picturing tons of skateboarders and girl groups… We wanted to make it tie into the music video.”
The music video is such a fun peek into a night out with friends. Was anyone in the music video friends of yours in real life?
“Yeah! Two of them I’ve known for years and I love them… They randomly got chosen to be in the video and I was like ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this.’ It made everything extremely real for me. I even became friends with the other extras in there, so we all just had the best night ever. It really felt like we were just hanging out.”
Did you come up with the idea for the video?
“Christopher Sims directed the video, and he’s incredible. He came up with the treatment. It’s kind of, when you listen to the song, it’s what it would be anyway. Chris killed it, and was incredible, and I was super lucky to work with him. I think he’s a really talented director. He made everything so easy and fun, and we had the best time. I think he’s dope.”
What was the most exciting or coolest fan experience so far?
“There’s been a lot. I recently saw on Instagram a fan in Sweden got ‘Almost Famous’ lyrics tattooed on him. That’s my song, so I was like, wow, that’s the first person to get a tattoo of me. That was pretty crazy.”
I’m sure there will be more.
“I hope not, in a way. I’m like, ‘No don’t put that on your body forever! What if you don’t like me one day?’ Hopefully they’ll like me forever, but if one day they decide they hate me I would hate it if they had my lyrics of my song on their body. I’d feel like I ruined their life!”
You just recently turned your Instagram comments back on after having them off for some time. Can you talk about how the negative comments were affecting you?
“They were really affecting me. Like, really bad. I was getting really depressed from them, and hurt, and would cry for hours over things. It was killing me every time I read something slightly hurtful, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. But recently, I’ve been asked so many questions [like] ‘Why don’t you have your Instagram comments on? How do you talk to your fans now?’ I was kind of starting to think, ‘Well, I can’t really talk to them. I can’t let bad comments get to me.’ I felt really selfish for turning off my comments. If things don’t go well, I can turn them back off, that’s what is great about that feature. But, so far, I’ve been able to talk to my fans, and I’m actually liking having the comments back on. I get to talk to my friends, too. I feel like a normal person again, but I had to take a couple of weeks to think about it, because to me, it’s a really big deal.”
we’re both each other’s biggest fans — I’m rooting for her, and she’s rooting for me, and we love each other
Miley is your biggest fan. How do you feel when people compare your sound?
“Well, I think we’re so different that there really is no comparison. The only comparison is that we’re sisters. We’re completely different, just two artists. There are so many other female artists that don’t get compared the way I do with Miley. But
we’re both each other’s biggest fans — I’m rooting for her, and she’s rooting for me, and we love each other, but I don’t think we’ll ever fully understand why us being sisters makes it okay to compare all the time.”
Speaking of other female artists, who inspires you right now?
“Lady Gaga. She’s my idol. I really look up to her in every way.”
Check out the exclusive live video of “I’m Stuck,” from Cyrus’ perform in at TuneIn studios in Venice, California, below. You can watch the rest of the interview over on the TuneIn app.