The Unusual Life of Noah Cyrus – The Irish Times

A few years ago, Noah Cyrus had a hallelujah moment while rummaging through a thrift store. Her eyes fell on a T-shirt with the image of a character she had known since childhood. She broke it and shook the top when the paparazzi caught her shortly after.

“Garth Brooks and my dad arrived around the same time,” says Cyrus, daughter of Achy Breaky Heart star Billy Ray Cyrus and younger sister of pop wrecking ball Miley Cyrus. “I’ve heard so much about his music and so many stories too. He is legendary. Is not it? So I was looking and I found this T-shirt with his picture. I was, like, ‘This is a must-have.’

Imagine Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever spliced ​​with the drug memoir Requiem for a Dream, all relayed by an artist who grew up in the spotlight of mega fame

She smiles as she says this – a rare flash of levity from an artist who has weathered the lockdown wars and sings through her woes on her stunning new album, The Hardest Part.

Both a breakthrough project and a memoir on addiction, the record is a journey through the dark side of pop. Imagine Billie Eilish happier than ever spliced ​​with the drug memoir Requiem for a Dream, all relayed by an artist who grew up in the spotlight of mega fame. Searing and unforgiving, it’s a raw punch of an LP.

“When I turned 20 I was overwhelmed / With the thought that I might not be 21,” Cyrus sings on the opening track, Noah (Stand Still) — and from there , it’s a long, deep dive as Cyrus deals with her split from her boyfriend Diego Leanos, aka rapper Lil Xan, and with her spiraling addiction to prescription drugs.

Musically, we are far from Achy Breaky Heart – and even from the stridency of his sister’s hits. Beginning with his 2016 single, Make Me (Cry) – a collaboration with Euphoria soundtrack composer Labrinth – Noah has gone down a more esoteric path.

A murderous bruise runs through his music, as evidenced by song titles such as I Got So High That I Saw Jesus. In her words, she is inflexible. Hardest Part, from his new record, talks honestly about his relationship with his father, chronicling a visit to the family farm in Tennessee. “The hardest part of coming home,” she sings, “is dealing with the fact that you’re getting old.”

The heartache of being in a relationship with someone you may never really know is the subject of perhaps the most impactful – and also catchy – song on the new album, Mr Percocet. (Percocet is a brand of opioid medication.) “I barely recognize you when you wake up in the morning / It must be someone else’s eyes I look at every night.”

“Lockdown has been a difficult time,” says Cyrus. “For everyone. Everyone was forced into self-isolation. And many had been separated from loved ones and hadn’t seen them for so long. Some people lost loved ones, family or friends throughout Covid. It was very lonely. For me personally, it gave me an excuse, or an opportunity, to isolate myself even further than I had already been. And deeper into my drug addiction And further into this relationship I was in at the time.

Cyrus was born in January 2000, so she missed out on her father’s heyday as a global star. She was still a child when Miley, who is just over seven years older than her, was transitioning, sometimes quite messy, from Hannah Montana, Disney’s all-American darling, to a figure of some tabloid notoriety, eventually becoming a wigged-out collaborator with psychedelic weirdos The Flaming Lips.

It was a lot for young Noah. And she admits that it initially discouraged her from a career in music. Was it worth the media baggage? The lustful obsession of his personal life? Maybe not.

“I think for a while it was something I didn’t want,” she says. “As I got older and started writing music, I think I fell in love with it. And then I made the choice that I wanted to do it.

I’ve been in a public family all my life. Of course, with the music and the opening up of myself, the opportunity to hate people or misjudge people, whatever, is completely out of my control. It’s something I had to learn to accept

She’s been reading about herself and her family — on gossip sites, in the tabloids and, of course, on social media — since she was a kid. So she was aware that by singing so honestly about her struggles with Xanax, a drug used to treat anxiety, and the dark place it left her, she was leaving herself exposed. She shrugs her shoulders: I’m fine. That’s how it’s always been.

“It may have happened all my life. And that’s something that I know I can’t stop. Unless I simply don’t exist. It’s something that comes with me walking this earth. I’ve been in a public family all my life. Of course, with the music and the opening up of myself, the opportunity to hate people or misjudge people, whatever, is completely out of my control. It’s something I had to learn to be okay with.

She came through the lockdown hard. But then she has a new manager, Mookie Singerman, who also works with singer Caroline Polachek. It was Singerman who put her in touch with Irish producer Mike Crossey, collaborator of Arctic Monkeys, The 1975 and The Killers. She and Crossey hit it off instantly – in the Irish she felt she was working with someone she could trust and share her vulnerable words with. It was the making of her and her new album.

Mike Crossey completely saved my life in a way, because I needed something good to focus on. I had already just had such a toxic relationship not only with drug addiction but with another person. It was time for me to focus on me and my words

“When we walked into the room I realized we were going to have such an instant connection. Mike Crossey completely saved my life in a way, because I needed something good on which to focus. Something good to give my time and energy to and something good to fall in love with. I had already just had such a toxic relationship not just with addiction but with another person. It was time for me to focus on me and my words.

Even though The Hardest Part is an extraordinary album, Cyrus is all too aware that some will reject it because of who she is, because of her celebrity past. She shrugs again: it’s something she’s come to terms with a long time ago. From darkness, towards light, she heads for a new horizon.

“It’s bothered me for so long. It’s inevitable. You become desensitized to it. You don’t let it get to you.

The Hardest Part is released by Records Label/Columbia

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