With her larger-than-life blonde locks and “If you want the rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain” attitude, Dolly Parton is easily the sweetest sweetheart of country music. However, as she recently discussed on OutQ’s Iconography series, the country superstar’s sweetness hardly stops her from standing strong. In addition to the whopping 46 Grammy nominations she sports under her rhinestone studded belt, Parton has also received nominations for Emmy, Academy, and Tony Awards for her work on the stage and screen. Despite all of her brilliant success, Parton told The Morning Jolt’s Keith Price that she has truly learned from the bumps in the road along the way.
“Probably one of the more public failures was the Dolly variety TV show I did [in the ’80s] … It was when variety television had died away, and there were still a lot of great people in California that loved and missed it. So, I was gonna do a show – a variety show for me, but it got all out of my hands,” Parton said. “I think we lost sight of me and what I could have brought as a country girl … Anytime I’ve ever done anything that went against my gut, it don’t work. If I follow my gut, I’m never wrong.”
Price also asked Parton about how she has managed to stay true to herself throughout her entire career. Parton’s fame rivals that of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, whose version of Parton’s I Will Always Love You has become one of the standout singles of our time. Many believe the flip side of fame had a hand in both of these artists’ deaths and the behaviors leading up to them. Parton spoke with nothing but compassion for Houston and Jackson.
“One never knows what’s going on inside another person, whether it’s chemical imbalances, whether it’s insecurity, whether it’s fear, whether it’s doubt,” Parton said. “And they were thrust into that big world all of a sudden … Michael was a tiny little thing when his stardom came.”
Though Parton was a late bloomer on the Broadway songwriting scene, her musical 9 to 5 stole the show when it hit the Great White Way in 2009 – and four Tony Award nominations.
“It was difficult in the fact that there were so many people involved in it. I’m so used to just me and God when I write. But then you get all these producers, all these directors, all these writers, all these people,” Parton said. “But it was a real experience. I would take nothin’ for it.”