Miley Cyrus Recalls 'Tough Conversation' Where Dolly Parton Encouraged Her to Perform at 2024 Grammys

"She's always said this to me: 'You do you, and I'll do me, and together we'll be us,'" said Cyrus in a new interview

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty </p> Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton in Los Angeles in February 2019

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton in Los Angeles in February 2019

Miley Cyrus' show-stopping performance of "Flowers" on the 2024 Grammy Awards may not have happened if it weren't for a little encouragement from Dolly Parton.

The pop star, 31, opened up about her tight-knit relationship with the 78-year-old country icon during a new episode of Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman — and detailed a recent "tough conversation" they had.

"I don’t remember our first meeting, I was so young. My dad and her worked together in the ‘90s. They had music together and I think my dad even toured with her," Cyrus told host David Letterman, 77, of the "Jolene" singer.

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty </p> Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus in Los Angeles in February 2019

Kevin Winter/Getty

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus in Los Angeles in February 2019

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Parton is Cyrus' godmother — a role she also portrayed on Hannah Montana, which the "Party in the U.S.A." musician considered a marker that the titular character "seeped into who I really am."

At the time, she didn't "really know the difference" between herself and Hannah Montana. "Parts of me are that character, including a little bit of my relationship with Dolly," said Cyrus.

"I mean, Hannah Montana is famous for wearing a blonde wig and kind of having this other persona that she can turn off and be a regular girl by day and have this superstar life at night," she continued, "and I realize that’s something that Dolly has been doing pretty much her entire life."

Vijat Mohindra/NBC via Getty Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton
Vijat Mohindra/NBC via Getty Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton

Related: Dolly Parton Announces Tour Featuring Her Songs Backed by Symphony Orchestras — but She Won't Be on Stage

"Now, she’s always in the wig and she’s always in the Dolly," added Cyrus. "It’s not about the external performance of her creating the character."

The Grammy winner was then asked to share something surprising about Parton and said the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member "really eats Dollywood food often — like, if she asks me what I want for lunch, it's [from the theme park]."

For a more revealing anecdote, yet still one that wouldn't interfere with "that sacred part of our relationship," Cyrus said Parton "isn't afraid to have the tough conversations."

Related: Miley Cyrus Addresses Estrangement with Dad Billy Ray Cyrus as She Calls Mom Tish Cyrus 'My Hero'

"A tough conversation I had with her: I told her, ‘I’m wondering if I’m going to do the Grammys or not.’ And she said, ‘Well of course you’re going to do the Grammys, and you’re not just going to show up but you’re going to show off. And you’re going to be everything that you are sitting right here in front of me,'" reflected Cyrus on her performance of "Flowers" at the 2024 awards show — where she won her first two Grammys.

"And she said, 'And don’t forget about the beauty. The hair, the makeup, the whole show. It’s armor for us,'" added Cyrus. "She's always said this to me: 'You do you, and I’ll do me, and together we’ll be us.’ So she wasn’t telling me to be Dolly, she wasn’t telling me to be fabulous and hide behind the sparkles and the hair. She was telling me to be me."

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