Billy Ray Cyrus on Miley Cyrus' Sobriety, Roots-Inspired New Music

"Achy Breaky Heart" singer shares thoughts on daughter's cleaner lifestyle and image following interview revealing she's weed-free

Billy Ray Cyrus addressed the sobriety of his daughter Miley, shown here together in 2013, in an interview with 'Entertainment Weekly.' Credit: Barry King/Getty

Twenty-five years ago this month, Billy Ray Cyrus released his debut LP, Some Gave All, hot on the heels of the smash hit single "Achy Breaky Heart." Later in 1992, his daughter Destiny Hope was born. She would soon be rechristened Miley, a reflection of her smiling nature as an infant, and would go on to star in the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana with her dad – and would also become one of the world's biggest pop stars. In a wide-ranging interview with ET Online, the elder Cyrus talked about his daughter's newfound sobriety and her more refined style, which stands in contrast with some of the more controversial fashions and live-performance antics of the young singer's past.

"As a dad, I see Miley really just functioning on, like, a figure and a joy for life," Cyrus told ET's Nancy O'Dell. "I don't know how to break it down more than just the fact that I see a joy in her spirit and something coming from within that is just pure beauty, if you will."

In a candid cover story for Billboard, which hit newsstands last week, the "Wrecking Ball" singer noted she was "completely clean," having gone three weeks without smoking marijuana at the time that interview took place.

"I think she just found… she's firing off all cylinders," the elder Cyrus says. "Her thoughts, her instincts, everything is at the top of its game," he added. "Sometimes you have to clear out the junk. And then you realize what's most important. Whatever is going on, it's working for her."

Miley Cyrus is also working on new music, which her dad notes is a rootsy collection built around a number of musical influences, including Johnny Cash and her godmother, Dolly Parton. "I'm so excited about this album," Cyrus says, making mention of a romantic track his daughter has dedicated to her fiancé, actor Liam Hemsworth. "Miley really leaned into her roots with this new album." Cyrus adds that Miley's upbringing as the daughter of a country artist – one who faced a great deal of criticism after his debut single became a huge country-pop crossover and line-dance hit – was a major influence on her musically. 

Miley Cyrus' single "Malibu" is expected to be released May 11th. Miley's dad, meanwhile, recently re-recorded his "Achy Breaky Heart" with members of Alabama's famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, the Swampers, and also released a Spanglish version. He says an EDM interpretation with funk musician Bootsy Collins is also on the way.

Billy Ray says he's also changing his name. "After August 25th, I will be the artist formerly known as Billy Ray. I'm just going by my last name Cyrus," he told Rolling Stone Country