NEW YORK Hannah Montana may be the most potent phenomenon in Hollywood right now bigger than Batman, bigger than Brangelina. Yet these days, the girl who truly fascinates is not Hannah but Miley Cyrus.
The 15-year-old face of the billion-dollar Disney franchise is no longer a star for just the tween set. While "Hannah" is still very much a part of Miley, it does not solely define the singer/actress.
Nowhere is that clearer than with the release of Miley's latest album, "Breakout," which comes out Tuesday. While Miley has already sold millions of albums, it's always been with the "Hannah Montana" moniker attached .
But there's no blond wig to be found on the cover of this CD. Instead, there's a more mature sound that's already finding an older audience. The CD's first single, the rocker "7 Things," is now No. 9 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart) and marks her biggest success in translating her music beyond the Radio Disney audience.
"To be played on these radio stations is awesome, to be able to rock out to it in your car without planning it, without it being just a kids channel," says Miley, who with her deep voice and self-assured manner seems a decade older that 15.
"(I'm) making it a little more fun and edgy, and I think being able to step out of the 'Hannah Montana' thing not in a way where I'm forgetting her completely, but as my fans grow up, me growing up, too, and kind of having my own person."
The "Hannah Montana thing" is familiar to millions of kids and adults alike. A movie is due out next year, the third season of the kitschy TV show starts filming in weeks.
But navigating her own celebrity path outside the confines of famous character has proven to be difficult.
The first signs of potential concern came in the form of personal pictures that made their way onto the Internet, showing Miley dressed provocatively (though not obscenely).
A more serious firestorm erupted in April when Vanity Fair published a photo of Miley wrapped in a sheet.
While allowing that she's made "mistakes," she also feels that the media has been unforgiving in their scrutiny at times and a bit unwilling to see that she's not a little kid anymore.
"It's kind of hard to let someone that was so young when they started kind of grow up," reasons Miley, who was 13 when she debuted in the role. "You just have to realize that people make mistakes and that makes you almost a little more relatable."