Noah Cyrus Talks Katy Perry Tour, Ben Howard, Working With Dad
Pop singer/songwriter and actress Noah Cyrus has a lot to be proud of.
In the 10 months since her debut single "Make Me (Cry)," featuring Labrinth, was released, she's garnered more than 123 million Spotify streams, the track has been certified platinum by the RIAA and, in less than a week, the 17-year-old will serve as the opening act on 21 dates of Katy Perry's 2017 Witness Tour.
Cyrus' forthcoming debut album, NC-17, is hotly anticipated, and she's even teased that her father, Billy Ray, a country singer/songwriter best known for his hit "Achy Breaky Heart," is a surprise co-writer on one of the album's tracks.
With her career having kick-started at such a frenetic pace, it's safe to say Cyrus has already encountered and had to overcome some big hurdles in the past year: namely dealing with constant questions about her older, and extremely successful older sister, Miley Cyrus.
"Getting over the questions about Miley, and pushing pride aside," she admits. "Not that I don't want to talk about her, because I love her! But that was kinda the time where I had to accept it, and not let it bother me, because that's what comes with it."
For my part, I kept questions about Miley to a minimum and light-hearted — I wanted to know which number she thought was higher: the number of streams she'd gotten to date on her debut single, or the number of questions interviewers have asked her about Miley.
"(Laughing) I get asked a lot of questions … but not, like, every single day, so it's definitely the streams on 'Make Me (Cry).'"
However, at first, Cyrus felt a sense of nervousness and vulnerability prior to sharing her music with the world for the first time, especially given the fast success of the single. But this also became "the best part."
"I was so nervous, but it was probably the best time I've has so far," says Cyrus. "['Make Me (Cry)'] came out, and I went right on to Jimmy Fallon. And then to 'Ellen,' and then to James Corden, and [the] iHeart Awards. It was all the things I wasn't used to, and those were all in the first couple weeks. That was definitely the best part for me."
What helped prepare Cyrus for sharing her most personal music in a big way was her collaboration with multitalented artist and producer Labrinth, with whom she was able to give her own sound a test run in a place she felt comfortable before heading to these huge, public stages.
"I played him all this music that I was uncomfortable playing [for] people, because I didn't know what they'd think of it," she reveals. "I was only really comfortable with him. He really accepted it, and made me feel so much more confident about it. It was instant when we clicked."
While performing your music live in front of massive TV and live audiences may be nerve-wracking at first, given Cyrus was a competitive equestrian rider when she was younger, the pre-show jim-jams she may have felt before a horse show have prepared her for high-pressure situations.
"Oh my God, nothing compares to the pre-horse show jitters!" she gushes. "It's like going on 'American Idol' or 'The Voice' all the time, because you're just going and getting judged for your entire show. [The judges] are there to tell you, 'You did a bad job (laughing).'"
Luckily, it sounds like Cyrus is well prepared for the next major leg of her career, her upcoming tour dates with Perry, along with other openers Purity Ring and Carly Rae Jepsen. Cyrus will be joining the Witness tour for the North American leg from Sept. 19 through Nov. 1, including cities such as Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York.
"I'm so excited, I've loved Katy since I was super little," she exclaims. "I've always looked up to her and she's such a sweetheart. I feel like I'm not going on the road with a complete stranger, so I'm not going to be quite so nervous and scared."
Being around celebrities such as Perry is likely second nature to Cyrus, but there is one artist who might stop her in her tracks: Lady Gaga. Cyrus credited her favorite track as the GRAMMY winner's piano ballad "Speechless," calling it "an artist's song."
"It's very true to her, and very honest," she adds.
She counts Ben Howard as another of her inspirations. In Howard's case, however, Cyrus found herself unable to narrow down a single favorite song, instead picking the entirety of the British crooner's 2014 album, I Forget Where We Were.
While Cyrus admitted that she rarely gets starstruck, she said Howard is most likely the one person who would leave her speechless upon meeting.
"I don't think I would say anything. I think I would just stare and be like, 'Oh my goodness, the words I've been listening to actually come out of your mouth!'" she says. "Or I would just be like, ' I love you so much, thank for starting all of this for me,' because really, I don't know if I ever would have gone into a session if I hadn't fallen in love with music, and I really fell in love with his music first."
Cyrus' NC-17 is slated for release this fall, though no release date is set as of this writing. In the meantime, you can catch her on tour with Perry starting Sept. 19.