Miley Cyrus wants to evolve as an artist, says her dad Billy Ray Cyrus.

Miley Cyrus wants to evolve as an artist, says her dad Billy Ray Cyrus.

Miley Cyrus’s dad, Billy Ray Cyrus finally weighed in on her controversial MTV Video Music Awards performance on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live.” Like any dad, he provided some significant perspective on what Miley is doing and where she’s going.

Although Cyrus drew a firestorm of criticism, much of it stemmed from people who continue to identify her as Hannah Montana, from her squeaky clean Disney show.

“She could’ve stayed Hannah Montana forever and made a great living doing that,” Billy Ray told Morgan. “But she’s more of an artist than that, and she wanted to make a living and evolve.”

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Indeed, the show ended almost three years ago, and Miley will turn 21 in November.

“Everyone has been asking, what does Billy Ray think? said Morgan, who expressed his personal support for Miley’s performance.

Billy Ray made a distinction between Miley the artist and Miley the person.

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“For me to think how hard she’s worked to get to his point, and what a risk — just the fact that she went and cut her hair off. That was huge,” he said.

“She’s really very focused and loves what she’s doing. And that’s the main thing for me as a dad, seeing my little girl doing what she loves and making the music that she loves to make and hanging out with some incredibly talented producers, singer-songwriters, musicians,” he added.

He stressed the importance of evolving as an artist and noted that she put in a “great deal” of practice and thought into what she was going to do on the show. “I knew that she wanted to do something really special and something everyone would be talking about,” he explained.

“I’ve never known any great artist that was lukewarm and the fans were just in the middle on it. You either love it or hate it,” Billy Ray said.

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“You can love it or hate it; that’s everyone’s right to do so, because it’s art.”

Check out the interview below and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest celebrity updates.