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Artist Profile: Miley Cyrus
At age 11, Cyrus learned of the casting for what became Hannah Montana, a Disney Channel children’s television series about a school girl with a secret double life as a teen pop star. Cyrus sent in a tape auditioning for its best friend role, but received a call asking her to audition for the lead, Chloe Stewart. After sending in a new tape and flying to Hollywood for further auditions, Cyrus was told that she was too young and too small for the part. However, the series’ producers invited her for further auditions in light of her persistence and her singing and acting abilities. The following year, Cyrus received the lead position, renamed Miley Stewart after herself. Hannah Montana premiered on March 24, 2006, to the largest audience for a Disney Channel program, and quickly ranked among the highest-rated series on basic cable, elevating Cyrus’ wealth and fame. Its instant success helped propel Cyrus to teen idol status. Time magazine reports that Cyrus’s “phenom[enal]” success is due partially to her talent and partially to “Disney learning to use its vast, multimedia holdings” and market Cyrus and Hannah Montana appropriately. Cyrus eventually became the first artist to have deals in television, film, consumer products, and music within The Walt Disney Company.
As Cyrus’ career flourished, Tish Cyrus made several critical decisions regarding her daughter’s representation. She signed Cyrus with Mitchell Gossett, director of the youth division at Cunningham Escott Slevin Doherty. He is credited with “discovering” her after arranging her auditions for Hannah Montana. Per the recommendation of Cyrus’ godmother, country singer Dolly Parton, Tish signed Cyrus with Jason Morey of Morey Management Group for her music career because of their “good morals” that are “not always the case in this business”. Franke Swertlow of The Hollywood Reporter described Parton’s advice as “the best advice [Tish] could [have gotten] on who should rep her daughter.” Tish also recruited Billy Ray’s business manager to manage her daughter’s finances. Tish herself continues to co-manage or produce many of Cyrus’s career decisions. For her education, Cyrus enrolled at Options for Youth Charter Schools and studied with a private tutor on the set of her television show.
The theme song for Hannah Montana, “The Best of Both Worlds”, was released on March 28, 2006. The track is credited to “Hannah Montana”, the titular pop star that Cyrus portrays. As with other songs credited to Montana, Cyrus typically dressed as the character when performing the song live. It became Cyrus’ first charting song, debuting at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also had success in countries such as the UK and Ireland, where it peaked at number 43 and 17, respectively. Dressed as Hannah Montana, Cyrus opened for The Cheetah Girls on twenty dates of their The Party’s Just Begun Tour, beginning on September 15, 2006. On October 24, Walt Disney Records released the first Hannah Montana soundtrack. Of the nine tracks on the soundtrack performed by Cyrus, eight were credited to “Hannah Montana” and one, a duet with her father titled “I Learned from You”, was credited to Cyrus as herself. Cyrus’s first release under her own name had been a cover of James Baskett’s “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, released on April 4, 2006, on the fourth edition of DisneyMania. The soundtrack debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 with first week sales of 281,000 copies. The album continued to top the chart during its second week, and has sold over 3.7 million copies worldwide. During this time period, Cyrus also released the song “Ready, Set, Don’t Go”, a collaboration with her father. It became her first Top 40 hit credited as herself, peaking at number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also became her first Top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at number 4.
Miley Cyrus co-founded Get Ur Good On, a youth-empowering charitable organization originally fueled by the performer’s star power. Get Ur Good On is one of 39 charities Cyrus supports, or supported. GetUrGoodOn.org encourages youth to share their experiences—such as how they set up recycling programs in their communities or other waste-reduction innovations—and to encourage each other.