Oh boy. Not many things in life compare to the fact that I got to interview Dolly Parton. Dolly has won eight Grammy Awards, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Dolly has received forty-six Grammy nominations, tying her for the most Grammy nominations for a woman and placing her eighth overall, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards. I was blessed enough to be given the opportunity to interview this legendary award-winning and nominated musician and actress, and asked her questions from me, as well as from all of you. Now, for the life of me, I can’t find who asked what, so you have to read the whole interview to see if she answered your questions!
This mega star’s new album, Blue Smoke, comes out tomorrow. It is one heck of a masterpiece and we are hard at work on a review for you. In the meantime you can head over to WalMart and pick up a copy. UPDATE Here is the review.
How did you come up with name of album/song Blue Smoke?
Blue Smoke, is a pretty word, don’t you think? Or two pretty words. As a matter of fact, that title came, of what I was gonna call a bluegrass band. I was doing some bluegrass music a few years ago, and I was trying to think of names that I thought would be pretty for a band. That, you know, specialized in bluegrass. And I thought, Blue Smoke. I thought that’s a good title. But I never did call the band that. So I thought, well I do like that title. So, I need to write a song about that. And I thought, well now what would I write about? Thought well now, where would I get Blue Smoke? What would I write about? I thought, well I guess maybe I could write about a jet but then nah, I thought a train. ‘Cause I love train songs. And I thought well now what will I say about a train song? I thought well, when you think about traveling you think about leaving. Usually when you think about leaving, if you’re a country star, you gotta weave that heartbreak in. So, I thought well this would be a good name for the name of a train. So I thought, well Blue Smoke is the name of the train that I am riding on. So it was like a heartbreak train. So it actually came from a band title, turned into a song, turned into the name of the CD and also to the name of the world tour. But it also, kind of, hints at the fact that there’s several bluegrass flavored songs in the CD. So that title worked really well for me, I thought.
How does Blue Smoke represent you personally?
I really wanted to do an album that really kind of had all the colors of my whole career. That’s why we have some Bluegrass stuff, we have some gospel flavored things, we have some mountain style and then I love choosing other peoples’ songs, doing some covers. It was really a special album to do. It was fun to do.
What is your favorite song on the album?
Your songs are like your children. At least, my songs are, because I expect them to support me when I’m old. Some of them will, and some of them already have. We do the Jon Bon Jovi song, “Lay Your Hands on Me,” but we do it with more for a gospel flavor that Jon helped me put together. And I do Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” because I love that song. We’ll be doing.
What are your 2 greatest achievements?
I’m proud of a lot of things. A lot of times people ask me sometimes, what am I most proud of? There are great highlights. I think I’m proud of the fact that I’ve had an opportunity, now that I’m an older person, to honestly say that I have lived to see my dreams come true. ‘Cause I know that a lot of people, don’t. A lot of people have the same dreams that I do. A lot of them more talented; write better songs, sing better songs, better performers, work just as hard. And never actually had the success that I’ve had. So every single day I’m just grateful and thankful, that I’ve been allowed to see my dreams come true. I’m thankful to the fans out there. Course now there are some highlights, that are important to me, things like when I became a member of The Grand Ole Opry, back in the late ‘60s. Like the Kennedy awards and things like that. When I started the Imagination Library, the literacy program that I have and saw that become such a big success. So there are many, many things that I’m very proud of and hopefully they’ll be lots and lots more. But the biggest thing is, Hey I’m like Minnie Pearl, “I’m just so proud to be here.”
You’ve had an amazing career what is the key to longevity?
Life motivates me from day to day. I wake up every day, I’m intrigued by, fascinated by, aggravated by, all sorts of things that go on. I actually find people fascinating, life fascinating. Trying to figure all that out. Trying to figure out how I’m gonna fit myself into that. How I’m gonna handle this, how I’m gonna respond to this and what kind of person am I gonna be after I’ve responded to that. Or if responded to certain things a certain way is gonna make me a better or a less person. So, I actually just kind of get up every day, I mean we don’t know why we’re here, we don’t know how long we’re gonna last. We just know we better be doing something or life’s gonna be very boring. So I wake up every day. Expecting things to be good and if they’re not, I set about trying to make them as good as I can. By the end of the day I like to feel like I’ve tried to do my best and make that day as good a day as I can make it.
What advice would you give to new artists?
Well, first of all you gotta find out for sure if you’ve got the talent. You’ve gotta have real talent. And then if you do, you need a plan. You need to find the right people to help you. But more than anything, you have to kinda stay grounded in who you are. But if you work hard, if you’ve really got the talent and you pray hard, I see no reason why it couldn’t happen. I think, through God, all things are possible.
What would you hope people get from your new album about you as a person/artist?
Well I always get excited with any and every album I do. Always think that the one I just done is the best one yet. You do, you kinda, as I always say, I wake up with new dreams every day. But this particular one, I wanted to do an album that really kind of had all the colors of my whole career. That’s why we have some Bluegrass stuff, we have some Gospel flavored things, we have some mountain style. And I love choosing other peoples’ songs, doing some cover things. So it was really a special album to do, it was fun to do and I get a chance to work with a lot of the same musicians that are performing my roadshow. That makes it even nicer because we’ll all can get excited together, knowing that we’ll get to perform these songs together on stage. It’s always fun just to write ‘um, sing ‘um and get there and do ‘um.
If you could go back and give yourself advice when you were a new artist what you say to you?
Well I’d tell her, I’m pretty proud of her. ‘Cause it makes me feel, you know when you get older you really reflect and you really think of so many things. One of the things I think about is just how fortunate that I have been to have been able to actually see my dreams come true. ‘Cause I know so many people that can’t say that. I know so many people that are far more talented than me, that work just as hard, and came to town, even some of them around the same time I did and never really made it big, so you wonder. And you kind of go back and think “Why me Lord?” You know you just really think about all those things but more than anything I just think that little girl that headed out from the Smoky Mountains that moved here back in ’64, to try to make those dreams come true. And now here I am at 68 years old and I’ve seen so many of them come true. But what’s so funny is I still feel like that same little girl. I’m still dreamin’, dreamin’ big. Still got new dreams to dream, new dreams I hope to come true. I just love the music, love to write, love to perform and I hope to be doing this ‘til I just keel over dead in about thirty years.
Favorite person you’ve ever performed with?
Working with Kenny is like being with a soul mate. Even if we don’t see each other for months, it’s like we never separated. We’re just attached at the soul.
What would you want people to know about you?
I am the girl next door, providing you live next door to the circus and that’s my take on that. If I have changed, I hope it’s for the better but I’ve never really changed: my philosophy, my attitude, my principles and values are the same. I really think I’m the same girl. And what would I change into? That would just be phony. I may look phony but I’m not phony.
Who are some of the new artist that you have your eyes on?
I don’t listen to music for fun. I ain’t got enough time for fun! But seriously I’m always busy writing my own music. I don’t try to compete or see what other people are doing. When I do listen to music, I’m more prone to listen to the people I’ve always listened to: George Jones, Otis Redding, Allison Krauss and Emmylou Harris.
What other artist would you like to do a project with any genre?
Just the other day I had a funny thought in Nashville we have the famous GooGoo Clusters. You know the chocolate and nut clusters that we’re very famous for. I represent those well and I send those out to people all the time to Hollywood. And I was thinking, maybe if me and Lady Gaga got together, we could be Gaga & GooGoo. Here comes Gaga & GooGoo and go GooGoo and Gaga over those girls.
Following the Blue Smoke album release the Blue Smoke World Tour will hit select dates in the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden.
Don’t Think Twice
You Can’t Make Old Friends
Banks of the Ohio
Lay Your Hands on Me
Miss You-Miss Me
If I Had Wings
Lover du Jour
From Here to the Moon and Back
Dolly is the most honored female country performer of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, she has had 25 songs reach number 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during her Hall of Fame career have reportedly topped a staggering 100 million records world-wide. She has garnered 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Dolly was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. And the litany goes on.
Dolly’s career has spanned nearly five decades and is showing no signs of slowing down. An internationally-renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Parton has contributed countless treasures to the worlds of music, film and television. Some of her hit films have included Nine to Five, Steel Magnolias, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, Straight Talk, and Joyful Noise. Parton received two Oscar® nominations – one for writing the title tune to Nine to Five and the other for Travelin’ Thru from the film Transamerica.