Born Destiny Hope Cyrus 24 years ago in Tennessee, the daughter of '90s country star Billy Ray Cyrus of "Achy Breaky Heart" fame was nicknamed Smiley because she was one happy tot. Smiley became Miley, and Miley became her legal name when she was 15.
Miley Cyrus became a teen idol starring as a rock star in disguise as the lead in the massively popular Disney TV show 'Hannah Montana,' which ran from 2006-2011 and spawned a hit film and two best-selling soundtrack albums.
In 2008, Miley released her first album not affiliated with Hannah Montana, 'Breakout.' Just like her two Hannah Montana records, it hit #1.
The Time Of Our Lives
In 2009, Miley dropped a Walmart-exclusive EP, 'The Time of Our Lives.' Folks who thought that Miley looked all grown up here had nooo idea what was coming. The EP included the mega-hit single, "Party in the U.S.A.", featuring the astute lyrics:
Got my hands up, they're playin' my song
And now I'm gonna be okay
Yeah! It's a party in the USA!
Yeah! It's a party in the USA!
Actually, Quite Tame
To recap, by age 17 Miley had three #1 hit albums and a hot single with "Party in the U.S.A." Then, in 2010, came 'Can't Be Tamed.' Devastatingly, the record only debuted at #3 on the charts instead of #1 like her previous efforts. The title track "Can't Be Tamed" peaked at #8. The horror! During this period, Miley embarked on her Gypsy Heart Tour, which saw her performing in increasingly sexy stage clothes. Folks who clutched their pearls at the sight of the former Disney star's exposed abs had no idea how tame this would look in hindsight.
So long, preconceived notions of a smiley Disney child star! With the release of 'Bangerz' in 2013, Miley jettisoned any and all remnants of her squeaky-clean pre-teen image. Overcoming the sales dip seen by 'Can't Be Tamed,' 'Bangerz' hit #1 and the video for the hit single "We Can't Stop" explicitly communicated that she was all grown up, totally wild, ready to party, and also that she liked to stick her tongue out. A lot.
Just Bananas Emojis Everywhere
In case anyone was still not convinced that Miley was now a fully-grown, fully-formed human woman who knows what sex is and how it works, the singer went super-bananas overboard and then some at a headline-generating, twerk-o-rific, hella explicit live performance with Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. The implications of foam fingers were forever changed that night.
And just to hammer home her point, Miley released the "Wrecking Ball" video the day after the MTV Video Music Awards. Remember Miley swinging #nekkid on a wrecking ball? That was four years ago, you guys. Never forget.
The Dead Petz Phase
Further flogging to death her reputation for producing bubblegum pop, Miley collabed with psychedelic rockers The Flaming Lips for her 2015 indie release, 'Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz.' This was back when she was dating Patrick Schwarzenegger. Remember that? (She's back with fiancé Liam Hemsworth now. Do keep up!)
Last year, Miley joined 'The Voice' as a coach for season 11. "It was a dream come true to dedicate a year of life to making music with new artists! I've been honored to encourage the contestants & all those watching at home to be themselves & never give up!" the star wrote on Instagram. Look for her return to 'The Voice' in season 13!
Last week, Miley unveiled a new, more demure, country-fried image to accompany the lead single, "Malibu," from her upcoming, as-yet-untitled album. Will it fly? If the past is any indicator, the answer is a resounding yes. No matter what Miley looks like, you'll find her at the top of the charts.