More than Montana
More than MontanaSoaring Prices
Life on Tour
Miley in 3-D
More of Miley
Writing and Singing
Still Hannah Montana
Singing with Dad
Awards and Shows
Miley wants the world to hear her own voice. It did after the Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus album was released. With the album's success, Miley became known for her own music. Millions of fans listened to, danced to, and sang along with songs cowritten and performed by Miley. The popularity of her album led to the first concert tour where Miley performed many songs as herself.
The Best of Both Worlds tour of North America began on October 18, 2007, in St. Louis, Missouri. The initial plan called for fifty-five dates. The tickets were available for sixty-three dollars. One dollar of each ticket went to the City of Hope Foundation, which helps fight cancer.
These tour dates sold out within minutes. As soon as tickets were available, ticket brokers went online and bought most of them. Many fans did not have a chance to buy tickets online. Instead they had to buy them from the brokers. Fans discovered that the brokers were selling them from $350 to $2,000 apiece.
Five states—Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island—limit brokering. For example, in Rhode Island, brokers can only increase ticket prices from the original cost by three dollars, or 10 percent above face value, whichever is greater. However, other states allow the brokers to charge whatever they feel like charging.
Several fans' parents were upset at the high prices. Miley, her family, and Disney felt bad for the fans but could not do anything about the brokers. “It's really unfortunate, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. These inflated costs only benefit the brokers. We were very pleased to hear that various law enforcement agencies are beginning to look into these practices,”69 a Disney representative said.
Miley and Disney did extend the tour to give more fans a chance to see it. Fourteen additional shows were added to the tour. The tour ended up running for sixty-nine dates until January 31, 2008.
The concerts were planned carefully. The opening act appeared first. For most of the tour, the Jonas Brothers were the opening act. After the Jonas Brothers performed, Miley entered the stage as Hannah Montana.
For half of the show, Miley sang and danced as Hannah Montana. Then Miley went backstage and changed out of her Hannah Montana clothes, wig, and makeup and put on her own clothes. For the second half of the concert, she played and sang songs as herself. “This tour was a really good way of [creating my own identity outside of Hannah Montana],” says Miley. “Just kind of breaking out and having my music…. You get to go out in front of 20,000 people every night and show who you really are.”70
Miley worked hard during each concert. She sang and danced eighteen songs over ninety minutes. In between songs she rushed backstage for seven outfit changes. Her outfits were complex with a mix of glitter, black boots, tennis shoes, miniskirts, corsets, and tank tops. During her songs as Hannah Montana, she wore her blond wig and extra makeup.
Although there was some negative press regarding ticket prices, the tour was a major success. In 2007 ticket sales from the tour brought in $36 million. This tour was one of the year's top twenty—grossing concert tours in North America.
Additionally the reviews of the concerts were positive. Alison Bonagura of Country Music Television writes:
Happy, little girl-power songs like “Life's What You Make It” and “Nobody's Perfect” were just the kind of songs the under-15 crowd wanted to hear and scream along with. And while she looked a little edgier after she lost the Hannah Montana wig and came out onstage as herself, the songs were all basically the same, but in a good way, though. Every single [song] has a positive message, without the slightest hint of teen angst or moodiness. Plenty had high-school themes and a handful had just-us-girls themes, like “Girls' Night Out” and “We Can.”71
The fans also gave the concerts good reviews. At every show, fans screamed and sang along with Miley. Miley appreciated the fans and did what she could to make each show special. “The hardest thing [about touring], I think, is trying to spice up the show each night and keep things fresh,” Miley says. “So, I just try to keep it fun. I play around with the dancers and with the band. I try to make the show's focus more about the relationship between everyone onstage, and not just about me.”72
As much as Miley loved doing the tour, all of the traveling and work did get tiring. She missed home. To help, many of her family members came on tour with her. Miley's Uncle Mick accompanied the tour as the tour manager. Her mother, grandmother Loretta Finley, and her sisters, Brandi and Noah, traveled with her for most of the tour. Her father, Billy Ray, could not come on the tour because he was on his own concert tour.
While on tour, Tish's mom ensured that Miley kept up with her three hours of schoolwork a day. Between the concerts and school, Miley did get some time to hang out. She, her family friends, and tour mates, such as the Jonas Brothers, played a lot of video games. Their favorite was Guitar Hero. “It's your best friends all hanging out together,” says Kevin Jonas of the tour. “It's awesome.”73
Miley's family and friends also made sure she celebrated her birthday while on tour. Her mother arranged a 1980s-themed surprise birthday party on November 21, 2007, two days before Miley's actual birthday. When Miley arrived in her hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, they went to the Factory, a popular place for bands to perform. She thought she was going to see one of her
favorite bands, Paramore, perform. When she went inside, her family and friends from Tennessee were there to surprise her.
She was most excited to see her dad, whom she missed. She raced over to give him a big hug. “I look forward to when I go back to [taping] Hannah Montana because what I really miss is being with him 24/7,” says Miley. However, she still stays in touch with him using iChat and iVideo. “My dad sings to me over video chat, which is so cute.”74
Billy Ray's surprise birthday present for Miley was that he was staying in town to join her onstage at her birthday concert. On her birthday at her concert, Miley and her dad sang their duet “Ready, Set, Don't Go” from his album for her concert encore. There were other birthday surprises at the concert. The Jonas Brothers presented her with fifteen roses at the end of the performance.
The tour's success led to a 3-D concert movie. “Because ticket sales for the tour were so crazy. But also, we didn't want people to see only what happens onstage,” Miley explained when asked why they made a movie. “The film goes behind the scenes, so people see the hard work that goes into [doing a tour]. They get to see it in the making.”75
A video posted on YouTube instigated a controversy about Miley's Best of Both Worlds tour. The video showed Miley onstage as Hannah. She is dancing with a group of dancers and the Jonas Brothers. During the song, she is taken offstage through a trap door. Immediately after she leaves, another girl dressed like the character Hannah comes on the stage and dances around. The girl motions like she is singing. After the video was posted, representatives for Miley admitted that the girl was a body double. They said the double was used only to transition the show. Miley says that the double did not sing or dance. “It wasn't because I didn't want to sing or because I didn't want to dance& it was because of time,” explains Miley. “I usually have an hour and a half to go from Hannah to Miley and I was doing this in one minute 50 seconds. So I needed at least three minutes to go and at least get a little drink of water and like chill for a second.”
Quoted in Marcela Isaza, “Miley Cyrus Talks About Hannah Montana Craze, Film,” Oakland Tribune, February 1, 2008. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_2008 0201/ai_n21227710.
The tour was recorded and released to theaters in Disney Digital 3-D. Filmgoers watched the movie wearing 3-D glasses. This gave them them the feeling that they were at a real concert. The movie shows Miley Cyrus performing as Hannah Montana at her performance in Salt Lake City, Utah. Additionally, the film shows behind-the-scenes action that includes Miley changing from Hannah Montana to herself.
In February 2008 the film opened in the United States at 683 theaters that were able to show digital 3-D movies. The concert film brought in nearly $8.7 million on its opening day. It grossed over $31 million the first weekend. This made it the highest-grossing opening weekend for a film to be released on fewer than one thousand screens. Initially the film was to run a week, but because of its major popularity Disney extended the showing.
The popularity of the tour and movie gave Miley the confidence to take on more projects as herself. One project is the Miley and Mandy Show, which airs on the Internet over YouTube. Miley and her friend Mandy Jiroux, a dancer on Miley's Best of Both Words tour, started a YouTube channel where they upload videos of them-selves. The videos are posted periodically.
Miley says they started the channel after she and Mandy filmed Mandy teaching Miley some dance moves. When they watched the film, they saw how much fun they had together joking around and being silly. “Once we watched back the video we had made
we realized that when we were just being ourselves it was much more entertaining than the dance we had put together!” writes Miley on the Web site. “So, we decided to make a YouTube ac-count and load the video and see what the reaction [was].”76 Thousands of people viewed the video within a day. By June 2008 their channel itself had over 128,000 subscribers.
In the show Miley and Mandy tell jokes, answer questions from fans, sing, and dance. It is informal and often set in Miley's bedroom. An example of one episode is where the two friends are on hold on the telephone. Mandy is waiting to talk on Ryan Seacrest's morning show. They film themselves primping as they wait to talk to him.
Miley also had more formal projects in the works. After her Best of Both Worlds tour, she worked on a full-length album. Hollywood Records released it on July 28, 2008. The album was titled Breakout, and all songs are Miley Cyrus songs.
The first single, “7 Things,” was released to radio stations in March 2008. Miley wrote “7 Things” with Antonina Armato and Tim James. On the track Miley sings about an ex-boyfriend who does not give a sincere apology. “And when you mean it, I'll believe it/If you text it, I'll delete it,”77 Miley sings.
Miley first performed live songs from the album at the 2008 Disney Channel Games in May. She sang the album's title track, “Breakout,” and another song from the album, “Fly on the Wall.”
Miley also started on another writing project. She decided to write an autobiography of her life. In April 2008 Disney announced that Miley signed a seven-figure book deal with the Disney Book Group.
The book will focus on Miley's life before she played Hannah Montana. It will include stories about growing up in Tennessee with her family. Miley will also write about how she keeps grounded while being a major star. The book will especially focus on her relationship with her mother, Tish, and other close friends and family. “I am so excited to let fans in on how important my relationship with my family is to me,” Miley says. “I hope to motivate mothers and daughters to build lifetimes of memories together, and inspire kids around the world to live their dreams.”78 Never-before-seen photos of family will be included in the book.
The Disney Book Group has announced that the book will be published in the spring of 2009. Disney believes the book is another way to inspire Miley's fans. “Miley is a genuine international sensation and we are delighted to deliver her first book to families around the world,” said Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and global publisher of Disney Book Group. “She is a terrific role model, and we are incredibly proud to give kids everywhere the opportunity to connect with her in an entirely new way.”79
Although Miley is involved in many new projects as herself, she still enjoys playing Hannah Montana. In April 2008 Disney announced that they renewed Hannah Montana for a third season. In May 2008 Miley started working on an even bigger Hannah Montana project.
Production for Hannah Montana: The Movie got underway in May 2008. The movie is an adaptation of the Hannah Montana TV series. The movie follows the character Miley Stewart as the soaring popularity of her alter ego, Hannah Montana, threatens to take over Miley's life. In the movie Miley Stewart travels back to her hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee, to figure out what is really important in life. In real life Miley Cyrus got to travel back to her home state of Tennessee during the filming. The movie was filmed in both Tennessee and California.
Different musicians have become involved in the movie. In June 2008 country group Rascal Flatts announced that it would appear in Hannah Montana: The Movie. In addition to appearing, they will perform in the movie. Also, Bucky Covington, who finished in eighth place on the fifth season of American Idol, will play a role in the movie. He will appear as a musician.
A t special performances, such as Miley's birthday concert while on tour and at the Country Music Television Music Awards, she and her father, Billy Ray, sang “Ready, Set, Don't Go.” This is a special song that Billy Ray wrote about the day their family found out Disney had picked up Hannah Montana. “We knew as a family that we needed to move to Hollywood,” Billy Ray says. He initially stayed behind to finish some tasks as the rest of the family moved. “As they drove off, it was that moment of realizing that I was letting go, you know, that my little girl was growing up and there was a lot of change around the corner. And I walked in the house and leaning against the wall there was my old guitar…this song just came to me, and it's about letting go as a parent.” Billy Ray initially released the song as a solo, but he rereleased it in 2007 as a duet with Miley. In February 2008 the song rose to the number five spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Quoted in The Oprah Winfrey Show, “Q & A with Miley Cyrus,” December 20, 2007. www.oprah.com/tows/slide/200712/20071220/slide_20071220_350_118.jhtml.
Miley's projects both as Hannah Montana and herself have led to many awards. In 2007 she won the Teen Choice Award for female actress in a comedy series. The following year she received the Best Performance of a Lead Young Actress in a TV series at the Young Artist Awards.
In 2008 Miley won Favorite TV Actress and Favorite Female Singer at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The Kids' Choice Awards show how many fans Miley has. These awards are based on viewer votes. Over 88 million viewers cast votes online for the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards.
In addition to receiving awards, Miley has hosted, presented, and sung at numerous awards shows. In front of an audience often thousand, she sang “Girls' Night Out” at the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards. One of her favorite award show performances was the 2008 Country Music Television Music Awards. Miley not only cohosted the event with her father but also got to perform “Ready, Set, Don't Go” with him.
The question remains whether Miley will be able to transform herself from a tween superstar into an adult rock star and actress. “Within three to five years, Miley will have to face adulthood. Fans grow up, and their youthful interests quickly dissolve. Her challenge will be overcoming the Hannah Montana stereotype. Miley's fans are not thinking about the fact that she will grow up too,” writes Donny Osmond, who was a child star himself. “As she does, she'll want to change her image, and that change will be met with adversity.”80
Already there has been controversy surrounding what many consider racy pictures taken of Miley for Vanity Fair. The most controversial of these images shows Miley apparently topless, with a satin sheet around her chest. Her hair and lipstick are mussed in a sexy manner. In other shots, Miley is draped across her father's lap. Famous photographer Annie Leibovitz took the photos. During the photo shoot, Miley's parents and editors for Vanity Fair were present.
Some people believe these pictures were taken to show a more adult Miley in an effort to break her teen image. “It seems to be a strategic career move,” says Bonnie Vent, of Genesis Creations. “She's already queen of the tweens, so now they need to make her queen of the teen boys.”81
Many parents of current fans were upset by the sexy nature of the photos. Since the shoot, Miley has apologized for the photos. “I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” Miley said in a statement. “I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.”82
After a few weeks, the controversy died down. Whether her fans will continue to support her if she tries to establish a more mature image in the future remains to be seen. In the meantime she continues to be one of the most popular teenage superstars. In June 2008 she made Forbes magazine's annual Celebrity 100 ranking of the world's most powerful and best-paid celebrities.
Miley shows no signs of slowing down.