The world has watched Miley Cyrus grow up, and that spotlight has been both painful and purposeful for the artist who has always adored wearing her colors and her passions for all to see. She has paid a price for going through growing pains in public, but it has taught her lessons both personally and artistically. Miley Cyrus is still learning and growing more into herself and her gifts than ever. The singer-songwriter and coach on “The Voice” showed just how comfortable she is in her own skin, and returning to her roots in her “Today” concert performance on May 26.

Dressed for real, and singing from the heart

Miley Cyrus is only 24, yet it already seems a lifetime ago that she was shedding tears singing “Wrecking Ball” and trying to cope with a very public breakup while still being a performer.

It's only been a decade since she was tween idol, Hannah Montana, and dared to defy the Disney mold that stifled her personality and creativity. With her new music, created with producer Oren Yoel, Miley feels the freedom to return to her roots, and her voice and persona have never been more genuine. She walked out among her throng of waiting fans glowing in white shorts, tan suede boots, a white denim jacket, and a wide-brimmed hat to sing her heart out.

Miley Cyrus made it as personal as possible, singing her new song, “Malibu” directly to those lining the catwalk and beyond. She was able to witness her influence in personal liberation. Grandmothers proudly showed the bright dyes in their hair, and babies danced and sang with moms. The tender ballad brings life and love and gratitude for the simple things back into focus.

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Every person finds himself or herself in the quandary of “I was afraid I would sink, so I didn't swim,” before finally shedding fear in the safety of love.

In another new song, “Inspired,” gentle fiddles escort childhood images of “playing with my dad all day in the green,” and asks “How can we escape all the fear and all the hate?” This is another anthem of metaphysical themes and displays another dimension to the writing craft of Miley Cyrus. It reminds that “you’re the handle on the door,” and that beyond life and death, the living in between matters most. From the environment to the end of life, there is always the option to exchange anger for action.

Miley offered some nostalgia and blooms of summer to her faithful crowd. She carried a basket of flowers as she opened “We Can't Stop,” her 2013 hit from the Bangerz album. Miley Cyrus turned flower girl as she tossed bouquets as far as she could while delivering the liberation song. She stopped for several seconds to stay close to fans and allow photos.

Every word returned to her, as a reminder that youthful rebellion and resilience will forever live on. A slinging head-bang from the singer sealed the close.

The set would not be complete unless Miley Cyrus made her godmother, Dolly Parton, proud, and she gave a boot-stomping, girl power performance of “Jolene.” Proving she’s maintaining the family legacy of vocal chops and feminine power, she stood on the drum stand for the final notes, and the crowds’ roar was well deserved.

A hug is waiting

In between songs, Matt Lauer asked Miley Cyrus about her emotions right now for Ariana Grande. “I can't wait till I get a second to give her a big hug,” Miley exuded. The horrific Manchester attack is making Miley pause to reconsider her approach to public places as well. She usually travels without a “team and crew,” but her thoughts of safety are no longer just for herself, but for fans and others whom she feels need protection. “I need to know that I'm around a lot of people and to protect myself and to protect everyone that’s here,” she stressed. She never needs to want for family support. Dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, and her sister slept in for her performance, but mom, Trish, was beaming in the masses. Billy performed yesterday on “Today” to mark the 25th anniversary of “Achy Breaky Heart.”