Etta James, Miley Cyrus

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Miley Cyrus continues to amaze us.

And no, we're not talking about her choice in birthday cakes.

It's the friendship she had with—ready for this?—the late Etta James.

Who knew?

How'd these two become pals? Read on to find out...

"Etta James was a great influence to both me and Miley," her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, told me at the Grammys. "We used to jam to Etta quite frequently going back and forth to the [Hannah Montana] set.

"Then one day we called her, and Miley and her really struck up a friendship," he continued. "It was something special."

The "At Last" singer died last month at age 73.

Meanwhile, daddy Cyrus says he doesn't let his daughter's critics bother him. "You just got to focus on the things you know to be true," he said. "There's a great line in the Book of Psalms that says, 'The truth will be my shield and my buckle.' There's a lot of power in those words."

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