Miley Cyrus' latest album Plastic Hearts has transformed her from pop darling to bona fide rockstar. Her first foray into rock music landed her a No. 1 album on the rock charts, and in a new interview she credits her upbringing, as well as a handful of influential female musicians, for paving the way.
“My dad’s jukebox, when like Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash would come over, he didn’t really have country singing dudes on his jukebox, to be honest,” she recalled. “My dad had Etta James [and he] made me listen. I never could appreciate it until I was older. [He] drove me to work every single day because we grew up working together. And my dad had one CD in his car and it was Etta James. And I listened to it for four years and it was Etta. It was Stevie, it was Joan, it was Debbie [Harry]. It was always female rock and rollers. And I never grew up with that stigma, a stereotype that rock ‘n’ roll was made for dudes.”
Cyrus continued by praising strong women like Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna and Joan Jett who stood up for what they believed in and took risks in their music. “Some of my favorite artists, their music has always been political,” she said. “Their activism has been in their performances and their style of entertaining. Kathleen Hanna, I mean, she was writing like ‘slut’ across her chest and in many schools wearing a pair of panties while singing rock and roll music at the same time that people were lining up to see mainly dudes perform rock music. I mean, even for Joan, she was told like, ‘get rid of the guitar. We’re not looking for an artist like this. You know, if you’re ever going to make it, drop the guitar, drop the leather, be more feminine.’"
"And I think that politics and music, there is a marriage there," Cyrus added. "I think there is something about old-fashioned entertainment escapism. There are times where that’s what you want from your music, but there are times where you also want demand and you want there to be a reflection of what’s happening politically or culturally in your music. And Kathleen’s a big inspiration for that.”
In a full-circle moment, Cyrus recruited Jett for Plastic Hearts, along with the legendary Stevie Nicks.
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