May 27, 2010 at 07:45 PM EDT

Image Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; Cyrus: Albert L. Ortega/PR PhotosBret Michaels just might be Miley Cyrus’ biggest fan. Last year, Michaels helped Cyrus with her cover of his band Poison’s hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” She repaid the favor by singing on his new single “Nothing to Lose,” whose suggestive lyrics have raised some eyebrows. So how exactly did the two singers, ages 47 and 17 respectively, link up in the studio, anyway? “Miley and her family have been friends of mine for a long time,” the Celebrity Apprentice winner, who’s recovering nicely from a recent brain hemorrhage, tells EW. “I know people tried to start all these rumors, but I’ve been friends with her family forever.”

Some time ago, Michaels happened to be working on his album Custom Built (due July 6) in the same recording studio as Cyrus. When she offered to sing harmony on “Nothing to Lose,” he agreed right away. “I guess in hindsight I should have looked more at the maturity of the song,” Michaels concedes. “But she was never singing it to me, so I never thought about it. It got really controversial for no reason, and it’s kind of a bummer, because it took it away from how beautiful the song really is.”

Gossip or not, he’s happy to sing his duet partner’s praises. “I will say this about Miley,” Michaels adds. “She can sit down at the piano or with a guitar and she can sing and she can play. I think she’s going through that transitional period where you are going from a kid to a teenager to an adult, and that’s a tough transition. I think she’s one of the few musicians that can actually do it.” —Reporting by Dalton Ross

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from’s Music Mix:

Usher stays on top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart

Big Boi’s “Shutterbugg” gets a surreal video

Vampire Weekend go for baroque in ‘Holiday’ video

Lee DeWyze’s post-Idol career: Will he be a Kelly Clarkson or a Taylor Hicks?

The Swell Season covers a disco classic: Stream it exclusively here

You May Like