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Miley Cyrus: Biography of the Hannah Montana Singer and Actress

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born November 23rd, 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee, Miley Cyrus was born out of a musical family that included country singer, Billy Ray Cyrus. After getting her first TV role on one of her father's shows, she landed her breakthrough on the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana." This led to deals on TV, music and movies, quickly turning her into one of the biggest teen stars of the 2000s. Despite success in music and acting, Cyrus' career hasn't been without controversy. That's why she's such a constant fixture in the media. In this video, takes a look at the musical origins of Miley Cyrus.

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This former Hannah Montana star can’t be tamed. Welcome to, and today we’re taking a look at the musical origins of Miley Cyrus.

Musical Family

Destiny Hope Cyrus was born November 23rd, 1992 in Nashville, Tennessee. With father Billy Ray Cyrus and godmother Dolly Parton, she seemed destined for stardom. Cyrus was such a happy child she was nicknamed Smiley, which was later abbreviated to Miley.

First TV Role

Raised Christian in a Nashville suburb, Cyrus also spent time in Toronto, Canada while her father filmed the television drama, “Doc,” on which she had her first role.

Hannah Montana

It wasn’t long before she had her breakthrough. Her acting and singing skills helped Cyrus beat out thousands for the lead in the Disney television series, “Hannah Montana,” where she portrayed normal teenager Miley Stewart and her alter ego, pop star Hannah Montana. Her real-life father also landed a part, so the Cyrus family relocated to Los Angeles.

TV, Movie and Music

“Hannah Montana” was an instant hit at its 2006 debut, and soon it became one of cable TV’s highest-rated series. Disney capitalized on Cyrus’ newfound fame by negotiating multiple television, movie and music contracts with her.

Hannah Montana versus Miley Cyrus

As the show’s title character, Cyrus performed many of the songs on the first “Hannah Montana” soundtrack, which topped the Billboard 200 chart. The next year during the show’s second season, she was introduced to listeners as an artist separate from her character: the chart-topping double album Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus featured one disc of songs by Hannah Montana and another credited to Miley Cyrus.


Soon, she took her teen pop and pop rock tunes on the road with opening acts like the Jonas Brothers. Filling venues across North America, The Best of Both Worlds Tour was captured and released as a 3D movie in 2008. “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert” broke box office records, while its soundtrack reached Billboard’s top three.

Vanity Fair

Unfortunately, Cyrus hit a bump in the road in 2008: the fifteen-year-old received criticism for Vanity Fair snapshots that were deemed inappropriate for her age by the media and concerned parents.

Musical Success

Despite the incident, she reached number one again with the pop rock record, Breakout, which spawned a top ten hit. Later that year, Cyrus began work on “Hannah Montana’s” third season, and lent her voice to Disney’s computer-animated flick, “Bolt.” The multitalented Cyrus also earned a Golden Globe nomination for co-writing the movie’s theme.

“Hannah Montana: The Movie”

2009 was another busy year. After releasing her autobiography, Cyrus came out on top at the box office with “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” Its number one soundtrack also yielded a top five single.

Branching Out

Her success continued with The Time of Our Lives EP, which generated her highest charting single to that point: the top two track, “Party in the U.S.A.” Prior to its release, Cyrus straddled the line between teen and adult with a racy 2009 Teen Choice Awards performance. She also branched out into fashion by co-designing clothing for Walmart with Max Azria.

Touring and Acting

The next few months saw Cyrus contribute to several charity singles and embark on her first international tour. Then, Cyrus had another box office hit with the critically panned 2010 romantic drama “The Last Song,” where she acted alongside her future real-life love, Liam Hemsworth.

Music, Acting and a Bong

Next, she reached Billboard’s top three with the dance pop effort, Can’t Be Tamed, which produced a top ten track. She also starred in “Hannah Montana’s” last season. But her child-friendly image was tainted when, later that year, footage of Cyrus with a bong surfaced; though Cyrus maintained she was smoking the legal substance Salvia.

Television and Movies

For the next few years, Cyrus continued working in music, film and TV: this included the Gypsy Heart Tour, a hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” the coming-of-age film, “LOL,” and a sexy turn on “Two and a Half Men.” She also starred in the action comedy “So Undercover” and began work on her next album.

Teen Idol to Supergirl

From teen idol to Supergirl, Miley Cyrus has had her share of success and controversy. Despite that, the rock star knows life’s what you make it and we’ll surely be seeing more of her for years to come.

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