For my Reverse Engineered Influences Project I decided to pick the song “July” by Noah Cyrus. The song is absolutely beautiful song with a calming feeling to the song, with a guitar playing in harmony with Noah Cyrus’ voice (Cyrus). “July” serenades the listener with acoustic instrumentation and I feel as though this is my favorite part, there are not several instruments distracting from the young singer’s voice, instead a guitar and Cyrus’s voice. I thought the song sounded as though it was country in genre but it is classified as pop by the American singer. The song narrates Cyrus’s perception of feelings about and towards someone else in a rise and fall of string glissandos.
Noah Cyrus claims that her father is a huge musical influence to her career. Noah Cyrus was born in Nashville, Tennessee on January 8th, 2000 and is the fifth child of Billy Ray Cyrus and Tish Cyrus (Noah, 2020). She became a musician just like her father Billy Ray Cyrus who is one of her strongest influences to her music. She originally started out acting at the young age of three years old in shows like Hannah Montana, accompanied by her well known sister Miley Cyrus, and in other shows like Doc and Mostly Ghostly. Her father was a strong influence on her music career and later Noah Cyrus came out with her first single Make Me (Cry) which came out in 2016. Her sister Miley Cyrus also had a strong influence on her musical career by being a guiding older sister who became very well known for her harmonic voice.
Another musical influence of Noah Cyrus is Lady Gaga, Cyrus said that she admires Gaga for her honesty with her fans. She also claims that Lady Gaga taught her “how to stay true to herself” (Barton, 2017). Lady Gaga has made a great effort to reach out to those with mental health issues with her music and social standing and Cyrus claims to be greatly motivated and influenced by Lady Gaga’s work. Noah Cyrus and Lady Gaga both have struggled with depression but Cyrus is especially appreciative to Lady Gaga for helping her through her tough times and influencing her music (Hussaini, 2019).
Lady Gaga was named in several articles as one of Noah Cyrus’ main influences. Lady Gaga was born on March 28th, 1986 in Yonkers, New York. Lady Gaga learned to play the piano at just four years old and wrote her first piano ballad at thirteen, she continued on in school while studying music. She made her very first performance at a nightclub in New York at fourteen years old (A&E, 2020). Lady Gaga made her way into the spotlight in 2008 with her huge hit Just Dance (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjyltncPu7I). Since then she has put out many more well-known pop hits, that mostly encompass a pop culture and clubbing atmosphere, such as “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance” (Billboard, 2020). Lady Gaga herself was influenced by other various artists, she stated her three main influences are David Bowie, Queen, and Madonna (Marquez, 2020).
These artists are all very similar in their very unique and out of the usual styles/appearances. Their music is similar in that it is very dramatic, vibrant, and their choreography uses multiple dancers on stage to create a jaw dropping performance (Marquez, 2020). Madonna is a very well-known musical artist who was born on August 16th, 1958 in Bay City, Michigan. Her family on her father’s side were Italian immigrants and when her father met her mother, a French-Canadian descendant, they got married and had Madonna three years later. Madonna is an extremely well-known pop singer and also an actress and she became very well known to the musical community in the 1980’s. She had created 21 top 10 hits by 1991 and sold more than 70 million albums globally. In 2008, Forbes magazine declared Madonna the world’s wealthiest female musician. Madonna worked hard after going solo, and put out the song “Everybody” and pushed her records to a New York Producer Mark Kamins (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOqr_x_9fMc). Who soon got her a record deal with Sire Records and “Everybody” hit number 1 for dance music in 1982 (Madonna, 2020). You can draw a connection between Madonna’s music and Lady Gaga’s because of the pop/techno sort of genre. It is music that would inspire people to let go, and get up and dance.
An amazing musical artist like Madonna don’t just arise from nowhere, she was influenced by artist like: Donna Summer, Debbie Harry, and David Bowie (Levine, 2018). Debbie Harry was a well-known pop style genre singer who was born on July 1st, 1945 in Miami, Florida. She was named Angela Tremble and was adopted by Richard and Catherine Harry at three months old. She was raised in Hawthorne, New Jersey where she sang in the local choir and attended college for two years before dropping out. She then up and moved to New York City in the later part of the 1960’s, by this time she had worked as a Playboy Bunny and sung for the band called Wind in the Willows. Harry later came to join a band called the Stilettos where she started to become romantic with the guitar player, Chris Stein. The two later made their own band called Blondie in 1974. By 1976 they had released Blondie’s self-titled debut and by 1977 they were on tour for their second album. Their second album, Plastic Letters, took the British charts by storm falling in at number 2 with their very well-known single “Denis” (Debbie, 2020).
It was not until their third album when they became very popular in the United States, known as Parallel Lines. Their song “Heart of Glass” climbed its way to the top in 1978 in the U.S. (Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGU_4-5RaxU). This song has a very strong start to it, with an upbeat tempo, that long the other songs influenced by her… makes you want to get up and dance. Harry’s blonde hair and signature looks were known to inspire others, and she was one of the first to rise in the music industry as a woman, she led the way for those she influenced such as Madonna (Debbie, 2020).
Now that I have drawn my research together to form this immense history of musical influences it does paint a bigger picture for me when listening to the song I chose. Also, it helps me to better understand the inspiration for Noah Cyrus and where she gets inspiration for her songs. While the song I chose was slower tempo then the songs sung by her influencers, she has their influence by providing an outlet for those that are not always in the happiest state of mind. Noah Cyrus provides an outlet for sad times faced by listeners and her music helps you slip into a happier or more decompressed state of mind. Similar to her influencers like Lady Gaga, Madonna, and Debbie Harry that provide those who listen with an escape whether that escape being able to finally cry about what has been troubling at their darkest times, or to get up and dance anyway. To be able to find a place of peace in music from the bad times, and even a place of happiness. Which is an amazing thing how music can have the power of changing someone’s mood and demeanor.
A&E Television Networks. (2020, May 29). Lady Gaga. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/musician/lady-gaga
Barton, L. (2017, August 09). Noah Cyrus Reveals Her Biggest Musical Influence. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://tigerbeat.com/2017/08/noah-cyrus-lady-gaga-music-influence/
Billboard Staff. (2020, March 28). Lady Gaga’s Top 10 Billboard Hits. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/chart-beat/6813645/lady-gaga-top-10-billboard-hits
Cyrus, N. (2019). Noah Cyrus – July (Official Video) [Video file]. United States: You Tube. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhjTa_7Nq6Y
Debbie Harry. (2020, May 04). Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/musician/debbie-harry
Hussaini, F. (2019, October 08). Noah Cyrus Expresses Her Gratitude For Lady Gaga. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://dankanator.com/15252/noah-cyrus-shared-thankful-instagram-post-lady-gaga/
Levine, N. (2018, August 16). Six ways madonna influenced pop. Retrieved June 30, 2020, from https://i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/ywkxwy/six-ways-madonna-influenced-pop
Madonna. (2020, March 02). Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/musician/madonna
Marquez, H. (2020, March 19). A Star Was Born: How Stefani Germanotta Gave Birth To Lady Gaga. Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://culturacolectiva.com/music/lady-gaga-biography-name-albums-best-songs-movies
Noah Cyrus. (2020, June 27). Retrieved June 29, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noah_Cyrus