Miley Cyrus continues to do things her own way.
The singer has made it clear she's done touring for now, but has found another way to connect with her fans. Around the release of her new single, "Used to Be Young," she has a new series of TikTok videos, filmed in conjunction with her Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions) special, in which she candidly talks about controversial and memorable moments in her life and career.
Cyrus has said her new song is "about honoring who we've been, loving who we are and celebrating who we will become" and the track reflects on that evolution from young girl growing up in the spotlight, amid Hannah Montana stardom, to the 30-year-old woman she is today — a singer-songwriter, artist, divorcée. In the videos, of which she drops a few a day, she tells "untold stories" from the first 30 years of her life. She really goes there in them, each one discussing past scandals, her house fire and her divorce from Liam Hemsworth — all with the reflection of someone who's had a lot of therapy.
Kept performing though "every bit of trauma in my life"
The "Flowers" singer — wearing a black dress as she sits in front of a simple gray-green backdrop for the TikTok videos — reflects on having to work though the most tumultuous periods of her life and makes it clear that it led to her reprioritizing how she doe business.
In one video, she talks about how, at age 13 on the set of Hannah in 2006, she was told her grandfather, Ron Cyrus, had died from cancer in 2006, and she "finished the scene and dealt with [the loss] later." Similarly, when the Malibu, Calif., home she and Hemsworth shared burned down in the 2018 Woolsey Fire, she was shooting Black Mirror in South Africa and completed the day's work and "dealt with [the fire] later." When she performed at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2019, it was the day she decided her marriage to Hemsworth was over — yet the show went on.
"The work, the performance, the character came first," at so many times in her life, she explains in another video, of which there are 39 so far. "I guess that's why it's now so important to me for that not to be the case. The human comes first."
Cyrus also says that when she performed in recent years — one-off shows, as she hasn't headlined a tour since 2014 — she had a recurring anxiety attack with a vision of herself strapped to a gurney. Through therapy, she connected it to the Black Mirror scene she was shooting the day her house burned down. "I would have these dreams any time I would go to perform," she says. "I thought that was just an anxious vision that made no sense but actually as my house was burning down, I was strapped to a gurney, with my hands locked in handcuffs, strapped to a bed" for a scene.
She says she always had a "the show must go on mentality," but has learned that she has to prioritize herself and her health.
"Used to Be Young" series highlights
Cyrus also talks about uncoupling from Hemsworth, saying the decision came first and foremost "from a place of love ... because we had been together for 10 years." However, it also came from a place of "trauma" as they were rebuilding their home at the same time. She says that as they picked up the pieces, she realized that their marriage "was no longer going to work in my life" and ultimately made the decision to end it.
She also talks about:
Flirting with Ariana Grande while covering "Don't Dream It's Over" in 2015, leaving the Wicked actress and singer "a little scared."
Not making "a dime" off her "BangerZ" tour, calling it it was "an investment in myself."
How a 2009 photo of her with Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Emily Osment "shows" she's bisexual.
Her controversial 2008 topless Vanity Fair cover shot by Annie Leibovitz.
Salvia-gate back in 2010.
Criticism from other female performers, including Sinead O'Connor, over "Wrecking Ball."
Her "pole-dancing" "Party in the U.S.A." performance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards being her mom's idea.
Falling for Hemsworth while making The Last Song.
Connecting with fans, from a comfortable space
Earlier this year, Cyrus released her eighth studio album, Endless Summer Vacation, but announced she wouldn't be touring in support of it because it is "unhealthy" for her. She said she was done getting "ready in a locker room" each night and sleeping on "a moving bus." Cyrus, who has compared her life to The Truman Show, said she felt people watching her onstage felt dehumanizing.
"Having every day the relationship between you and other humans being subject and observer isn't healthy for me. Because it erases my humanity and my connection and without my humanity [and] my connection I can’t be a songwriter, which is my priority," she explained.
She added that she felt "connected to my fans NOW more than ever" by not touring and using social media — including her Instagram show Bright Minded during the pandemic — and her appreciation for them is strong, but the "reality of life on the road" isn't for her at this stage.
So ahead of the Aug. 25 release of "Used to Be Young" — which sees the Disney Channel alum rocking a Mickey Mouse T-shirt while reflecting on growing up — she recorded her own stories, some of which were included in her revamped Endless Summer Vacation: Continued (Backyard Sessions) special that aired Aug. 24. Now, all the stories are bite size bits for this this TikTok series, each so short and dishy that you can't stop hitting the next button to hear her, in her own words, with that distinctive voice.
It's so simple in concept — Cyrus looking cozy and comfortable in front of the cam, with her mom, Tish, sometimes chiming in from the background — but getting real and raw about life. It's not onstage in front of a sold-out crowd, but she's actually divulging much more than she would in that medium ... no locker room or tour bus needed.