There's no doubting the unwavering power of pop siblings. Just look to Beyoncé and Solange, Kylie and Dannii Minogue, First Aid Kit's Klara and Johanna Soderberg and, of course, Jessica and Ashlee Simpson for inspiration. Following their lead, Noah Cyrus, little sister to Miley, is getting in on the action.
The 18-year-old is the youngest child of Tish Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus. Growing up surrounded by Achy Breaky Hearts, Hannah Montana and Shake It, the infectious single that her brother Trace's old band Metro Station is wholly responsible for, she was hardly going to get a nine to five job.
Growing up partly in the limelight, Cyrus could have gone a number of ways, but she's easing herself into life as a professional singer. Instead of launching herself with an expensive and showy campaign, she's taking her time by lending lead vocals to EDM tracks by Alan Walker and Matoma and releasing off-the-wall pop songs that are set to appear on her debut album, NC-17. Unassuming and meticulous, she's the perfect candidate to be our new VBF.
Previously known for voicing Ponyo in Disney’s English adaption of the 2008 Japanese animated movie, Cyrus wasn’t thrown headfirst into the the career of a child star like her sister Miley. Just ignore the fact that she was two when she landed her first acting role; gigs like that come easy when you’re part of a pop dynasty.
It wasn't until she was 14 that she decided she wanted to be an artist, and with the release of Make Me (Cry), a pop song with the London singer Labrinth, in 2014, it was clear she wasn't trying to ride on her family's coattails. She also earned some stripes as Katy Perry's support act for the North American leg of her Witness tour last year.
Her voice retains some of the deeper timbres that Miley has mastered, but in her song choices she has taken the darker route in pop. Walking through a graveyard in her video for the haunting and pain-stricken Again, with a bomber jacket falling off her shoulders to reveal a bandeau top over baggy jeans, Noah Cyrus is a mood, as they say on Instagram. She samples Mylo's Drop the Pressure My Way, which features the London producers One Bit, creating an uptempo and obscure dance song. It's a colourful sashay on to the dance floor and proof that the youngest Cyrus can lend her voice to many genres. Thankfully, she hasn't found the need to celebrate her country roots. Yet.
Although most of her solo material has flown under the radar, her new single, We Are F**cked, captures the complexities of being a young person in a world that's burning down. "We are f**ked / These days we only follow / These days we're feeling hollow", she sings with the Danish pop dynamo Mø over a bouncing beat, dripping in Lorde-like apathy. Produced by the pop heavyweights Ali Payami, Max Martin and Savan Kotecha, We Are F**cked could well be the song that wakes up the masses to the deadliness of Noah Cyrus.
With no official release date, NC-17 is expected to drop at some stage this year, but this slow build is paying off for Cyrus, one of the few new artists who can afford to take her time. She may have spent most of her life living in her big sister's shadow, but she really shines in the dark.