Like many hopeful singer-songwriters, Dolly Parton left behind her home in rural Tennessee and moved to Nashville the day after her high school graduation to sing for a living. Although some young people have found the Music City to be a city of broken dreams, the talented Parton not only found a way to make a living, but she thrived. Now, 50 years later, Parton reveals why she is still successful while others have faded into obscurity.
As the Hollywood Reporter recounted, Parton started her adult singing career on The Porter Wagoner Show, and then went on to win a total of seven Grammy awards and set a record for female singers with 25 No. 1 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 music chart. Her most recent album, Blue Smoke, which was released back in January, sold over 100 million albums.
This most recent release became her highest charting solo effort ever, debuting at No. 6 on the Billboard charts. It also sold over 100 million copies, earning Parton another multi-diamond award from the RIAA. When an album sells over 10 million copies, the RIAA considers it a diamond album, and Parton would probably agree that a diamond is a girl’s best friend.
Parton, 68, was dirt poor when she made her way to Nashville. She was one of 12 children, and when she was born, her parents were so poor that her father paid the doctor who delivered her with a bag of cornmeal. Going from poverty to become a self-described “Backwoods Barbie” or, as others consider her, the “Queen of Country,” Parton says she has been successful because people can relate to her.
“I’m sure there’s lots of people out there who’d like to smack my head off, but we won’t talk about them. I’ve lived a lot and I’ve done a lot. I’ve been around so long that I think people just kind of feel like I’m a member of their family — like a favorite aunt or an older sister. People relate to me because I grew up poor and in a big family. They know I understand all the hardships.”
Parton is the most honored woman in country music history, and the accolades keep coming for her. Earlier this month, WCRV-TV in Chattanooga reported that Parton has been nominated for her fifth People’s Choice Award. She is nominated for Favorite Female Country Artist. Parton has won the previous four People’s Choice Awards for which she was nominated. She has also won 10 Country Music Associations Awards and five Academy of Country Music Awards.
Even though she is usually polite and has a down home demeanor, Parton isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Parton has legions of LGBT fans and, as the Inquisitr reported, chastised Christians for judging them. Parton embraces her large gay fanbase, and said she loves them like she does everybody, then told Christians they were sinning by judging gays.
“I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself. I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental.”