Videographer: Ben Powell
Make Me (Cry), Noah Cyrus’s worldwide single and first foray as an artist, shares a similar sentiment to her idol Lady Gaga’s Million Reasons; trapped in a toxic relationship where your significant other just isn’t giving you what you know you deserve. As Gaga muses “I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away/ But baby, I just need one good one to stay”, she’s aimlessly searching for love; for a green light to remain in the relationship we now know was with ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney.
For 17-year-old Cyrus, we learn she too has indeed experienced such a hard lesson and that sinking feeling of a non-reciprocal love in her young life. Her aforementioned hit track with Labrinth bares the lyrics “I never needed you like I do right now/ I never hated you like I do right now/ because all you ever do is make me (cry)”. “You would do anything to stay with [your partner] and you’re like, ‘Hello, I really need you right now but you’re not giving me anything,’” says Cyrus. “It’s like, you are trying so hard and they can be so awful sometimes but, like, I would do anything for you and you’re just not giving that back to me.”
“You’re so conflicted and you don’t know what to do,” she continues. “You don’t know if you leave them. Or love them. You still want to be with them, because you love them, and [you feel] they’re kind of worth working through it with them.”
It perhaps is one of the most relatable concepts to write music around – something that strikes the regular person in a way Jay-Z’s cheating scandal – and all its layers – doesn’t. Here, Cyrus talks to GRAZIA about her relationship, it’s influence on her forthcoming album NC-17, her potential collaboration with sister Miley and the photo of Gaga that changed Cyrus’s perception of self love forever.
Noah Cyrus’s new single I’m Stuck, a follow up to Make Me (Cry) is out now.
Videographer: Ben Powell
GRAZIA: Noah Cyrus, welcome to Australia.
NC: Thank you!
Make Me (Cry) is your first big foray as an artist and it’s a real pop tearjerker. What was the inspiration behind this track and its narrative?
The inspiration behind make me was sort of about a toxic love and a toxic relationship and you’re so in love with your significant other that you would do anything to stay with them…That’s kind of where you get ‘I never needed you like I do right now/ I never hated you like I do right now because all you do is make me cry.’ Every time I’m alone I find myself crying over you and I love you so much but you’re not giving me anything. It’s just like you are trying so hard. I love that Labrinth says loving you could make Jesus cry because it’s just like you are so awful sometimes but I would do anything for you but you’re not giving that back to me. That’s what makes Make Me (Cry) really special because you’re totally in this conflicting relationship – you’re so conflicted that you don’t know what to do – it’s like what do I do?”
“You don’t know whether to leave them or love them.”
Why do you think this concept has resonated with so many people?
“Because I think lot of people go through it. Whether it’s with a friend or a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you always go through that where you’re like, ‘I need this person in my life but I hate them right now, they suck right now’ and I think a lot of people go through that and I think for me, it’s very relatable from things I’ve gone and from friends I know who have gone through the same thing. It’s probably the most honest song… because not everything is going to go smoothly. That’s just with every relationship, you know what I mean? And no matter what you’re always going to have those tough times where you’re like, ‘Hello? Pay attention! I need you!” But you still want to be with them because you love them and they are kind of worth working through it. Make Me (Cry) is kind of just like about figuring out what you do and if that person is worth it.”
What have you learnt from such a relationship?
“You’ve just got to find those people that are worth it, you know? And in Make Me (Cry), its’ definitely about that person that’s worth it.”
Is Make Me (Cry) a prelude to what we can expect on an album, NC-17?
“It is. I think you can definitely expect sounds like Make Me (Cry) on the album. The cool thing about the album is that it has so many different sounds throughout and everything I really cohesive. So you’re going to get the country record that kind of connects with the emo-pop record and then kind of connects with Stay Together which is a normal pop song. It has some heartbreak songs, it has ballads – I love ballads – so there’ll all different from one another.”
How comforting was it having Labrinth with you by your side for your first massive single?
“It was definitely the best thing I could ask for. Lab in the beginning was there to hold my hand and kind of teach me how to perform on a stage. I didn’t know how to do anything. For the iHeart Awards, I remember we were walking around in this square [stage] and was like, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll work on pumping the crowd up’ because I was too nervous to do it. Having him there to be that big brother to me which is what he’s always been, o a security blanket, was really helpful because I would have been a nervous wreck.”
You have listed Lady Gaga as a woman you look up to. What do you think of her country-infused Joanne album? How has she influenced you?
“Lady Gaga has influenced [my perception of] self-love. I have definitely struggled with that and I think every girl or woman can look at herself in the mirror for an hour and point out everything she hates about herself. Gaga has taught me to not do that. My favourite thing that I’ve ever seen from her was when people were giving her hard time after the Super Bowl about her stomach, and she posted the picture of her stomach from that night and was like, ‘I love me and if this is the one thing that pi**es people off then it doesn’t bother me. I really looked up to her for that because I don’t think I could ever zoom in on a part of my body and be like, ‘You guys hate this but I love this about me’ because I’d be embarrassed. She’s taught me not to worry about that stuff, I have definitely struggled with. My mum will tell you ‘Noah will stare at herself in mirror in the car and pick out things she doesn’t like about herself’ and that’s just how I am. I think that comes from reading comments on Instagram and people pointing out things they don’t like about you. So I’ve looked up to Gaga for calling that out and being like, ‘I don’t care’.”
Credit: Instagram @ladygaga
Your sister Miley has told you not to read online comments because you will inevitably see something you don’t want to see. Have you had a peek though? And how do you deal with fame on such a large scale at just 17?
“I haven’t done it in a while, I’ve definitely learnt to not. It’s definitely easier now, but when I was 13 or 14, I hated it. I wish you could have turned comments off back then. I would have told my 13-year-old self to not stare at yourself in the mirror because you’re not going to hate yourself forever. I’ve definitely grown out of that. This is my body, you just have to learn to love yourself.”
Will we ever see a collaboration with you and Miley?
“Possibly! We don’t have one yet but possibly. I’m definitely not saying no and I don’t think Miley would say no either. I think it’s just because we’re both too busy and it’s hard to get us both in the same room.”
Do you feel a certain pressure when writing your album or releasing music because of your family’s musical legacy?
“No. I think I have less pressure. I think my answer changes for that all the time. In a way I get nervous about what people are going to say. But then I don’t get nervous because I have a family that supports it. I always play my dad my music so if he tells me a song is good – or my mum likes it – then I’m not that nervous about it.”
I’ve seen you are a fan of Julia Michaels – would you like to collaborate with her?
“That could be fun! I’m totally into it! So if that happens that would be super cool, I love her music.”
Your style is ever changing. How do you select a red-carpet look?
“I don’t know! I wish I could just dress like this all the time on a red carpet. It definitely doesn’t take me that long. I usually look at a rack and pick our three favourites and pick one from there.”