Miley Cyrus Talks Texting With Beyoncé & Writing “II Most Wanted” Years Ago

Miley Cyrus
Photograph by Alasdair McLellan, Styled by Sara Moonves

In 2006, just days before her 14th birthday, Miley Cyrus called Beyoncé a “big role model,” saying that, “My mom is always telling me, ‘What would Beyoncé do?’” Well, almost two decades and a chart-topping duet later, Cyrus has finally learned exactly what Beyoncé does. In W’s annual Pop Issue cover story, Cyrus detailed just how her and Beyoncé’s recent “II Most Wanted” collaboration came to be—including her “normal” day-to-day activities like exchanging text messages with the Cowboy Carter singer.

“I wrote that song, like, two and a half years ago,” Cyrus said of “II Most Wanted,” adding “My mom would always go, ‘I love that song so much.’ So when Beyoncé reached out to me about music, I thought of it right away because it really encompasses our relationship.”

The “Flowers” singer recalled her text messages with Beyoncé prior to recording the duet, which earned Cyrus her 13th top-ten song on the Billboard charts. “I told her, ‘We don’t have to get ­country; we are country. We’ve been country,’” Cyrus explained. “I said ‘You know, between you being from Texas and me being from Tennessee, so much of us is going to be in this song.’ Getting to write a song, not just sing, for Beyoncé was a dream come true.”

Cyrus and Beyoncé first crossed paths all the way back in 2008—during the former’s Hannah Montana stint and the latter’s I Am...Sasha Fierce era—for a charity performance. The Endless Summer Vacation star reminisced on that moment fondly, specifically how she was “sandwiched” between Beyoncé and Rihanna.

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“Their hips were, like, up to my shoulders,” Cyrus remembered. “They were these powerful, fully realized, grown women, and I’m pretty sure I had braces on the back of my teeth. They were protective of me.”

She continued, “That Christmas, Beyoncé sent me a House of Deréon jacket that said Miley on the back in gold studs, which is my favorite, and some jeans with my name on it. In one of my songs, “­Cattitude,” I say, ‘And for my 16th birthday, I got Deréon from the house of the queen.’”

Since, both Cyrus and Beyoncé have gone on to transcend music and culture, earning them—among many, many other accolades—the adoring internet titles of “mother,” something Cyrus says she owes in part to her own mother, Tish Cyrus. “Like [Beyoncé’s] mom, Ms. Tina, my mom is also an M.T.: Mama Tish,” Cyrus tells W. “A lot of people call her Mom, in the way that Ms. Tina is almost not just a mother to Beyoncé, but to Beyoncé’s fans as well. Both of us grew up, in our own way, with moms who were everything. My mom was my makeup, hair, seamstress, styling, tour manager—like, the actual manager. The word “mother” is the most all-encompassing word. The mother can be RuPaul; the mother can be Beyoncé. Our fans call us “mother.”