The Rock Icons Who Gave Miley Cyrus ‘a Healthy and Sexy Relationship with Recklessness’

Singer Miley Cyrus has earned attention in the past for her sometimes-controversial choices regarding her music. But it’s not like she’s the first artist to do so. Learn which rock stars of generations past inspired her and helped her develop her own approach to art and performing.

Miley Cyrus has crossed genres with her music

Miley Cyrus performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on August 26, 2019
Miley Cyrus performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on August 26, 2019 | John Shearer/Getty Images

Cyrus began her career as an artist in a unique way. She released music as both herself and her character’s persona from the Disney Channel sitcom, Hannah Montana. While Hannah Montana was a country girl, Miley Cyrus was mostly of Disney-engineered pop with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll edge.

However, Cyrus hasn’t stuck to this status quo. After leaving Disney’s Hollywood Records for RCA, she leaned into different sounds with each album. Bangerz has some hip hop and R&B, Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz leans psychedelic and experimental, and Younger Now sees Cyrus revert to those country roots.

Her upcoming album is more rock than past ones

RELATED: Why Miley Cyrus Didn’t Follow Through on Her Original 2020 Album Plans

Given her propensity for reinvention with each album cycle, Cyrus’ fans (known as Smilers) weren’t surprised to see her go in a new direction with her planned 2020 album, She Is Miley Cyrus. Though it didn’t develop as planned, the artist has stuck with a rock feel for her latest releases.

“I’ve got some music that is sounding super rock and roll,” Cyrus told Smallzy in March 2020. “Kind of like Joan Jett vibes to it, just bringing back rock n roll.” She also noted her then-fresh mullet, which she’s kept intact throughout the year. Debuting her single “Midnight Sky” and covers of classic hits like “Heart of Glass” supported this trajectory.

Cyrus models her ‘movement’ after this rock star

composite image of Iggy Pop and Miley Cyrus
L: Iggy Pop in 1997 | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns, R: Miley Cyrus in 2019 |Jim Dyson/Getty Images

In a conversation for Interview Magazine, Cyrus spoke with fashion designer Rick Owens. After spilling that she’s “working on a Metallica cover album,” the singer asked Owens about his favorite rock stars. “[David] Bowie, of course,” he replied. “There was a period when all I listened to was Motörhead, so Lemmy [Kilmister]. And Iggy Pop.”

Cyrus’ current hairstyle is reminiscent of Bowie, so she’s clearly a fan of the late rocker. However, she noted his frequent collaborator, the so-called “Godfather of Punk,” for another reason. “People ask me who I’ve studied for my movement on stage, and I always say Iggy Pop,” Cyrus told Owens.

She says Wayne Coyne ‘opened [a] door’ for her 

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips (L) and Miley Cyrus perform onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015
Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips (L) and Miley Cyrus perform onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30, 2015 | John Shearer/Getty Images

Owens cited a specific performance of Cyrus’ with another rock star, Wayne Coyne of the band The Flaming Lips at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, which he deemed “so delirious and reckless.” They also played together on Cyrus’ Bangerz Tour and at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards (above).

“I have such a healthy and sexy relationship with recklessness right now,” said Cyrus. “I can say yes to anything. It would take something really f*cking crazy for me to say no. Wayne really opened that door for me,” she added. “Having him and having that psychedelic music changed everything for me.”