A Look Behind the Trio Who Wrote Miley Cyrus’ 2009 Hit “Party in the U.S.A.”

Just two years before her hit show Hannah Montana would come to an end, Miley Cyrus released her first EP as a solo artist, The Time of Our Lives. The 2009 project featured the singer’s debut hit, “Party in the U.S.A,” written by Dr. Luke, with additional lyrics by Jessie J and Claude Kelly.

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“Party in the U.S.A.”

The upbeat pop song recounts the uncertainty and excitement around Cyrus’ first big move from Nashville to Los Angeles. 

I hopped off the plane at LAX
With a dream and my cardigan
Welcome to the land of fame excess (woah)
Am I gonna fit in?
Jumped in the cab, here I am for the first time
Look to my right, and I see the Hollywood sign
This is all so crazy
Everybody seems so famous

My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda homesick
Too much pressure and I’m nervous
That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
And a Jay-Z song was on

“Party in the U.S.A.” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the seventh best-selling digital single in the U.S. in 2009.

Here’s a look at the three people who wrote Cyrus’ pop hit:

Dr. Luke

Dr. Luke started out his career as a guitarist in the Saturday Night Live house band in the late 1990s, where he remained through 2007. Dr. Luke, born Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, went on to write and produce a collection of No. 1 hits, including P!nk’s “Who Knew,” Avril Lavigne’s  “Girlfriend,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” and Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You.”

Under his Kemosabe Records, Luke signed artists including Kesha, Doja Cat, and Juicy J, among others. In 2021, he launched the Amigo label, under Republic Records, where he signed indie artists Joy Oladokun and Kim Petras.

Miley Cyrus’ debut EP ‘The Time of Our Lives’

“Party in the U.S.A. would be one of several collaborations between Cyrus and Dr. Luke. He also penned her EP title track “The Time of Our Lives” and co-wrote Cyrus’ 2013 hit “Wrecking Ball,” off her fourth album Bangerz. Cyrus is also featured on will.i.am’s 2013 single “Fall Down,” which the rapper co-wrote with Luke.

Jessie J

Originally, Dr. Luke wrote “Party in the U.S.A.” for Jessie J. Since the track didn’t have enough edge for her, “Party in the U.S.A.” was reworked for Cyrus who needed another track on her EP.

Born Jessica Ellen Cornish, J has written the majority of the songs in her catalog of five albums. She also had a hand in writing a number of songs for other artists, including Chris Brown’s “I Need This” and David Guetta’s “Repeat.”

She also co-penned “One More Try” with Max Martin and Oscar Holter for their 2019 jukebox musical & Juliet.

J was working on a new album 2021 and released her new single “I Want Love,” before revealing that she was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease—a condition that impacts the ear, creating a sense of fullness with other symptoms which can include tinnitus, hearing loss, and vertigo. She began working on the album again in 2022.

Claude Kelly

Singer, songwriter and producer Claude Kelly has his name on songs he’s co-written for Jessie J as well as tracks for Adam Lambert, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction, and Christina Aguilera, among many other artists. 

Kelly, who also served as the vocal producer for The X Factor in the U.S., was nominated for a 2012 Grammy for Song of the Year for co-writing Mars’ hit “Grenade.” He also co-wrote Clarkson’s 2009 hit “My Life Would Suck Without You,” along with Luke and Max Martin.

Kelly has released music along with Chuck Harmony as the duo Louis York, including Masterpiece Theater – Act I in 2015 and Act II a year later.

Photo: Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

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