After becoming an overnight sensation in 2006 as the lead of the Disney Channel television series Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus soon established herself as a pop star in her own right. Thanks in part to Hannah, she became the youngest performer to have four number one albums on the Billboard 200 Albums chart when she was just 16. Though early albums like 2008's Breakout maintained her popularity, Cyrus revealed more of her own voice with the 2009 single "Party in the U.S.A." from her EP The Time of Our Lives. She furthered her reputation as a freewheeling, sometimes controversial artist with 2013's hip-hop-influenced Bangerz, added trippy pop to her repertoire with 2015's Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, and touched on her country music heritage with 2017's Younger Now. By the time of her 2019 EPs — which included She Is Coming — Cyrus proved she could mix and match all of these styles with abandon.
Born Destiny Hope Cyrus in Franklin, Tennessee, her mother Tish and her father, country star Billy Ray Cyrus, gave her the nickname "Smiley" — which they soon shortened to Miley — because of her cheerful disposition. When Cyrus was eight, the family moved to Toronto while Billy Ray filmed the TV series Doc. She caught the acting bug in 2001 after seeing a production of Mama Mia!, and made her debut with a small role on Doc in 2003. That year, she also appeared in the Tim Burton film Big Fish.
With her mother acting as her manager, Cyrus connected with agent Mitchell Gossett, who helped her score auditions for projects including Hannah Montana. She won the lead role in the Disney Channel TV series, which chronicled the adventures of Miley Stewart, a teenage girl who moves from Nashville to Malibu and lives a secret life as a pop star; Billy Ray played her father and manager, Robbie Stewart. The family relocated to Los Angeles in 2005, and Hannah Montana became an instant hit when it debuted the following March. The show's first soundtrack appeared in October 2006, around the time that Cyrus hit the road with another Disney pop act, the Cheetah Girls. Featuring songs sung by Cyrus as well as a duet with her father, Hannah Montana topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart and went on to sell over three million copies around the world.
Over the next few years, Hannah Montana's popularity continued to grow. In March 2007, the show's theme song, "The Best of Both Worlds," was released as a single that peaked at number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart that August. The second Hannah Montana full-length, Hannah Montana 2/Meet Miley Cyrus, which featured one album of Hannah songs and one of Cyrus' songs, appeared in June 2007. It reached the top of the Billboard 200 Albums chart a month later, marking her second number one album in a row. Later in the year, she embarked on the Best of Both Worlds tour, which stretched into early 2008. The concert film The Best of Both Worlds and its soundtrack appeared that April, with the album reaching number three on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. By then, Cyrus was shooting Hannah Montana: The Movie.
Amidst Hannah Montana-mania, Cyrus sought to establish herself as a star in her own right. Arriving in July 2008, her album Breakout topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart and delivered the highest first-week sales of any of her albums to date. That year, Cyrus' work in the animated film Bolt earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Hannah Montana: The Movie was released in March 2009 and its soundtrack peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, making the 16-year-old Cyrus the youngest performer to have four chart-topping albums. Meanwhile, the soundtrack's lead single — the country-pop ballad "The Climb" — became one of the year's most omnipresent songs, giving Miley her first multi-platinum hit. Cyrus' EP The Time of Our Lives appeared in August and yielded another hit with "Party in the U.S.A.," which charted inside the Billboard Top Ten for 16 weeks. She also found time to film another movie, an adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel The Last Song, which hit theaters in 2010. That June, she delivered the darker, dance music-influenced album Can't Be Tamed, which reached number three on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.
Following the release of Can't Be Tamed, Cyrus took a hiatus from music. She made a number of television appearances that included cameos on MTV's Punk'd and CBS' Two and a Half Men, and also had roles in films such as 2012's LOL and So Undercover. By 2012, she began her return to music, releasing online videos of performances of her favorite songs. She also collaborated with producers including Rock Mafia and Borgore and worked with Snoop Lion and will.i.am ("Fall Down," her 2013 single with the Black Eyed Peas founder, debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 58, marking her first appearance on the chart since 2010). To make her next album, she enlisted Pharrell Williams, Mike WiLL Made-It, and other well-known rap producers. The result was Bangerz, which combined hip-hop beats with elements of synth pop, electro, and stadium rock and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in October 2013. The album also spawned the chart-topping single "Wrecking Ball" and "We Can't Stop," which reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. To make the break from her child-star days even clearer, Cyrus promoted Bangerz with a controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. The following January, her MTV Unplugged performance — which featured guest star Madonna — became the show's most popular episode in a decade.
After appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Cyrus returned to music with September 2017's Younger Now. Co-written and produced by Cyrus and Yoel and featuring vocals by Cyrus' godmother, Dolly Parton, the album boasted a rootsier sound than her previous work and debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. Cyrus then appeared as a coach on the 13th season of The Voice, and in 2018 headed into the studio with producers including Andrew Wyatt and Mark Ronson. Late that year, her first collaboration with Ronson, "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart," arrived and hit number 43 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart the following January. In 2019, Cyrus appeared in the fifth season of the British sci-fi anthology TV series Black Mirror as pop star Ashley O in the episode "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" and released a trilogy of EPs that began with May's She Is Coming. ~ Heather Phares & Mark Deming