Miley Cyrus has one thing she wants you to know: “I’m not who you think I am.”
After years reigning as Disney‘s resident princess while starring on the hit series, Hannah Montana, the now 20-year-old talks of shedding her pop past for an edgier sound in this week’s Billboard cover story, “Miley 2.0.”
“Right now, when people go to iTunes and listen to my old music, it’s so irritating to me because I can’t just erase that stuff and start over,” she says. “My last record [2009’s Can’t Be Tamed] I feel so disconnected from—I was 16 or 17 when I made it. When you’re in your 20s, you just don’t really know that person anymore.”
Miley’s latest single, “We Can’t Stop,” is a reflection of Miley’s evolution and adulthood. “I didn’t make this song for the critics, but for the people living it,” she says. “I’m 20 years old, and I want to talk to the people that are up all night with their friends. It’s based on a true story of a crazy night I had: When I heard the song for the first time, it captured exactly what I was living.”
Yet, despite working with hip-hop producers like Pharrell Williams and will.i.am on her as-yet-untitled new album due out this fall, Miley assures fans she’s not trying to be the next big female rapper. “A lot of people wanted to try to make me the white Nicki Minaj,” Cyrus told Billboard. “That’s not what I’m trying to do. I love ‘hood’ music, but my talent is as a singer. I’ve always wanted country-rock influences, but now I’m moving over to a more urban side. It’s not a hip-hop album, though—it’s a pop album. I’m not coming in trying to rap. It’s more like, ‘I don’t see any girls out there doing what Miguel and Frank Ocean are doing.’ We’ve been calling it ‘count-step,’ because it’s like country, dubstep and a little trap. I love the Lumineers, but I also loveFrench Montana, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and Dolly Parton. If you could put Dolly, some Adele and Juicy Jtogether, you’d have that weird balance.”
Whatever the flavor, Miley hopes her new sound will help her dominate the charts once more. “I want my record to be the biggest record in the world,” she says, “and I’ve given everything to get here, even down to friends and family and relationships—I’ve just put this music first. It’s not like I’m losing who I am—I actually found out more about who I am by making this music. I’m going on a journey, and that’s more than a lot of 20-year-olds can say. And I’m still going to change so much. Because I’m not the same person I was six months ago — I’m not even the same person I was two weeks ago.”
For more on Miley’s interview with Billboard, click here and press play below. We just have to ask: Do you think Miley is the “white Nicki Minaj”?
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