There’s just not a whole lot to do when you’re stranded at a Walmart in Kansas for eight straight hours. The many distractions a cell phone can provide only fill so much time. And forget trying to write new songs. The expanse of a gigantic tour bus might be a semi-comfortable way to travel, but it’s not exactly a breeding ground for creativity.
These are just a few of the many lessons that Noah Cyrus is currently learning on her first-ever headlining tour. And it’s not like the 18-year-old singer and actress is new to all of this.
The youngest child of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, and youngest sibling of singer/actress Miley Cyrus, Noah appeared on television for the first time at age two. By the time she was eight, she was voicing the title character in the English version of Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo, as well as performing the film’s theme song with Frankie Jonas.
Despite continued screen work for the next few years, 2016’s collaborative single with U.K, singer Labrinth, the platinum-selling Make Me (Cry), seemed to indicate a shift in focus. And that certainly seems to be the case.
Since then, Cyrus has released a handful of singles on her own, as well as a few with artists like XXXTentacion, MØ, MAX, and short-lived paramour Lil Xan.
Last month, she released her six-song debut EP, Good Cry, which hit number 13 on the U.S. Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, and featured collaborations with Gallant and LP.
But none of that could prepare her for the parking lot misery of waiting while her bus driver caught up on some much needed sleep in the middle of America’s heartland. Well, except for maybe that time last year when she was an opening act on the North American leg of Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour.
The young singer absorbed plenty on that stadium run. She just never got around to asking the headliner about things like the best ways to kill long stretches of time.
“I’ve known Katy since I was a little girl,” said Cyrus between recent stops in Dallas and Minneapolis. “So it was incredibly cool to be able to do that with her. I watched her show almost every night and definitely learned a lot. It not only helped prepare me for my own tour, it was an incredible experience to be able to open up for someone of that caliber — especially in the short time I’ve been an artist.”
The success of the EP and undertaking her own headlining The Good Cry Tour are both pushing the young singer on to the next goal — a full-length album.
And while she and her music director have a keyboard and microphone set up in the back of the tour bus, it didn’t take long for Cyrus to realize that there would be no pulling of double duty this time around.
“I’m going to write an album for sure,” she said. “I just need some time. I want to sit down and make it exactly what I’m planning for it to be. I just can’t do that from a tour bus. I’ll really be working on the album as soon as I get home.”
Cyrus has not set even a general timetable for the release, making sure that she’s involved with every facet of the process — including the bizarre promotion run by clothing line Pizzaslime ahead of Good Cry’s release.
The pop culture-inspired streetwear brand recently held a 48-hour pop-up sale of t-shirts, mugs and sweatpants, as well as a $12,000 vile of Cyrus’ own tears, to help promote the EP.
A return to acting, at least for now, is also something being left off upcoming itineraries. Turning her most impactful life experiences into musical compositions is where the young songwriter wants to focus her creative energy.
“My music is real,” said Cyrus. “There’s nothing that I have to pretend when it comes to music. With acting, you’re someone else and it’s not your story. These songs are my story.”
Regardless of when the new album is finished, it’s likely Cyrus will have figured out better ways to keep herself entertained on future tours to come. Until then, it’s going to be a steady dose of “blackjack and sad movies” — and inevitably, at least a few more good cries.
Noah Cyrus w/ Maty Noyes
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 18
Where: House of Blues San Diego, 1055 Fifth Ave., downtown