Miley Cyrus is rumored (heavily rumored) to be "going country." A new interview published on Wednesday talks about her rootsy, singer-songwriter-y new music and the pop singer's willingness to embrace country music fans — especially those with political and social view points that don't match her own.
In fact, Cyrus tells Billboard, part of the reason she joined the NBC singing reality show The Voice was to hang out with Blake Shelton and get a little more country credibility. She concedes that his fans don't take her seriously as a country artist, despite who her father and godmother are (Billy Ray Cyrus and Dolly Parton), and that singers like Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings gave her an early stamp of approval.
"The fact that country music fans are scared of me, that hurts me," she says.
Musically, her still-untitled next album will speak for itself. Artists like Lady Gaga and Beyonce have included country-sounding songs on pop records in the last 12 months, and Cyrus could do the same. Or, she could go full-on country — she wouldn't be breaking new ground. Here are five memorable times she found success in country music, ranked in order of our favorites.
Singing Johnny Cash"A Boy Named Sue"
Cyrus has showed off a Johnny Cash-inspired tattoo on several occasions, but less known is her cover of his music. Here she covers his hit song "A Boy Named Sue."
"Fifteen" With Taylor Swift2009 Grammy Awards
At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Miley Cyrus joined Taylor Swift, singing the country singer's (at the time) song "Fifteen." Her style was louder and more theatric than Swift's subtle interpretation. She was accused of over-performing.
Singing "Landslide"In Concert, 2011
One could argue this moment showcases her rock roots, but we're going to assume Miley Cyrus's performance of "Landslide" was inspired by the country version, a hit for the Dixie Chicks in the early '00s.
"The Climb"From 'Hannah Montana: The Movie'
To date this is Miley Cyrus' biggest country hit, cracking the airplay Top 30 in 2009. The inspirational ballad showcased Cyrus as a pure vocalist even if at age 17 she was unlikely spiritual leader. At the 2009 ACM Awards, she'd perform the song.
"Ready, Set Don't Go" With Billy Ray CyrusFrom His 'Home at Last' Album
In 2007 and 2008, Billy Ray Cyrus' song "Ready, Set Don't Go" gained a whole new audience when he added daughter Miley. The soft, acoustic country song about a father yearning to turn back time touched hearts.
Covering Dolly Parton, "Jolene"From the Backyard Sessions
In 2012 Cyrus covered Parton's "Jolene" for a YouTube series, and it was really good. Her groove is authentic and vocally she makes the song her own without straying too far from the original version.