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Miley Cyrus ... not just for kids anymore

If you're past the puberty years and "See You Again" is on repeat on your iPod, take heart — you're not alone. More adults are starting to consider themselves fans of the reigning tween queen — proving while "Hannah Montana" might be for the kids, Miley Cyrus can appeal to the kid in all of us.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Go to any Miley Cyrus show (sold out, of course) and you’ll find yourself swallowed up by a sea of fans. Or rather, you would be, if you weren’t three feet taller than every bopping, squealing, beglittered person in the arena, excluding the occasional disgruntled parent.

Since Cyrus hit the scene in March 2006, playing Miley Stewart and her rock star alter ego on the Disney Channel’s hit television series “Hannah Montana,” she’s won over a massive fan base of under-12s. But tweens with mothers in tow won’t be the only ones lining up for her appropriately titled new album, “Breakout.”

“ ‘Seven Things’ is cool,” adult fan Jason Patton said of Cyrus’ latest single off the album. “It’s just good music.” At one point, “See You Again” was his favorite song bar none.

These declarations might be surprising, considering that Jason has completed junior high — in fact, Jason, who’s in his 30s, has been out of graduate school for a while. Now a television executive with degrees in broadcast journalism and business, he also enjoys hockey play-by-play announcing and Kid Rock. A far cry from the typical fan profile.

“Miley’s done an excellent job of putting out music that breaks through those connotations of ‘This is for tweens, I’m not a tween, I can’t listen to it,’ ” Patton said, attempting to explain the increasing number of adults who are becoming Miley Cyrus fans. “Showing her ‘me’ side, not being defined by Hannah Montana, is giving her credibility. I wouldn’t be surprised if on the tour she converts other people.”

Harvard junior Jennifer Anyaegbunam, 19, also sees Cyrus’ fan base growing — older, that is. Like Patton, she’s proud to say that she is a fan. Cyrus first made her way onto Anyaegbunam’s radar when, as often happens, her younger siblings made Hannah Montana a staple on their household television sets. Then, when she first heard Cyrus on the radio, she was pleasantly surprised by Cyrus’ “mature” voice.

“She’s a part of our culture now. I already see other people my age liking her,” Anyaegbunam said.

A big part of the reason is that Cyrus is accessible, both personality- and music-wise. Although Anyaegbunam is a member of an on-campus a capella group and her musical tastes otherwise tend toward hip-hop, she likes Cyrus because her songs are a “fun guilty pleasure,” easy to sing along to while behind the wheel.

Which works out well, as Cyrus’ singles are getting a healthy dose of mainstream radio airplay.

Cyrus’ natural charisma and unique family background have also helped her attract older listeners.

“I don’t really like other teen stuff; a lot of it is annoying. She seems to be enjoying herself. It’s not forced,” Sara Mixter, 26, said.

Mixter, a fourth-year medical student with an interest in pediatrics, claimed that being well-versed in all things Miley is a good way to stay connected with the younger crowd.

Plus, she loves country music. “Miley’s different because she has a bit of country going on. Maybe because her father was [a country singer], and her godmother was Dolly Parton, so she has that sensibility in terms of lyrics and songs that tell stories.”

So if you’re years past puberty and still furtively listen to “See You Again” on repeat, take heart — you’re not alone. More adults — whether because of Cyrus’ catchy escapist fare, country influences or relatability — are starting to consider themselves fans of the reigning tween queen.

Hannah Montana might be for the kids, but Miley Cyrus is proving that she can appeal to the kid in all of us.