Miley Cyrus covers the current issue of Interview Magazine, only I’m not going to post the actual cover. Or any of the photos from the editorial. The theme of the photoshoot was Miley being “sexy” and going topless and posing with her ass out. And all of that is fine – people should do whatever makes them happy, God bless. But with Miley specifically, I do wonder if that’s all she is, or if she thinks that’s all she has to offer, or if that’s the only way people will pay attention to her. The interview was conducted by Lars Ulrich from Metallica, who actually seems to respect her and they had a nice rapport. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
Performing for thousands of people after the pandemic hiatus: “It actually made me think of all the amazing footage and photographs of Marilyn Monroe performing for the troops. I couldn’t stop thinking of that iconic image of her, bringing people hope in the form of sexuality and wit and beauty and joy. But at the same time, she was able to offer that because she was so insulated from the experience that the soldiers were living through. She was this breath of fresh air because she didn’t have the same darkness and pain and death taking over her aura. But in this case, we’ve all been soldiers, in our own way. Of course, as you said, you and I have not had the same pandemic experience as most of the population, because our sanctuaries and our homes are truly safe.
Why she covered “Nothing Else Matters” at Glastonbury in 2019: “I have two notebooks that I take everywhere I go. One of them is filled with my morals, my values, my purpose, my potential, my capabilities, and my commitments—to others, and to myself. I’m constantly writing things in there. Recently, I wrote down something very wise that I heard, which is related to your question. It was about how lyrics are one of the most resonant aspects of a song, and of why an audience connects with a song. It has to do with the words, and to challenge that is to say that there’s no difference between lightning and a lightning bug. But there’s a big difference. When I think about the sentiment behind “Nothing Else Matters,” it aligns completely with my morals and my values. When I listened to “Nothing Else Matters,” and I knew that I was confirmed for Glastonbury—I actually have chills talking about this—it was the only song that I could imagine playing.
Recording at home, playing with her raspy voice: “There was nothing that I couldn’t try, because I wasn’t in front of 250,000 people. I was in this safe place. We’ve talked about how lucky we are to have that. I stuck, on some level, to the melody. I even went down to some of those octaves, because singing those super-low lead vocals is so satisfying. My whole life, whether in vocal training or just continuing to hone my craft, it’s always been about, “Why do you sound like a man? Where’s your f–king falsetto, bitch? Why can’t you sing the high octave of ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ anymore?” In this song, I get to sing in that low register, and I get to live in that authentic, genuine sound. My voice is how I represent myself. It’s how I express myself. I’ve worked with so many people who tell me, “We’re going to have to bring in a singer to hit those high parts.” You know, “falsetto” is this Latin term for when a boy goes through puberty, but they still want him to sing in the choir. It means “false.”
No falsettos: “I don’t have a false voice. You know me personally, we’ve hung at parties. I am who I am. I say what I mean in the moment, even if that changes tomorrow. I was honored by the fact that I didn’t have to sing this song in the way that females are “supposed” to sing. You can hear that at the end of the song, when I take the gloves off and just start flying. That part of the song really grabs people. It’s that lower register of my voice. So I’m grateful to have a song where I can lean into that.
I don’t know much about vocal training and all of that, but I do know singers’ voices change with age, and singers often “age out” of being able to hit higher notes, the same notes they were able to hit when they were younger. It happens to men and women. Miley has always had that raspy voice, but it’s gotten raspier as she’s gotten older and presumably smoked a lot of pot. I don’t think she’s really “taken care” of her instrument over the years, but again, I don’t know much about vocal training and all of that. I don’t think she sounds like a dude, she’s just a woman with a raspy voice.
IGs courtesy of Miley Cyrus.