Dolly Parton — country music legend and business maven — recently released her 43rd studio album, Pure & Simple, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart. After six decades in the business, the singer-songwriter reminds everyone once again why they will always love her.
Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric met up with Parton in Nashville to talk about her biggest tour in 25 years, celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary with her husband, Carl Dean, her iconic look and her incredible career.
“I’m a showman,” Parton says of her 60-city North American tour. “I play on the stage, I do dulcimer, autoharp, the harmonica, play the guitar, electric guitar and the flat top. I do a funny little thing with a saxophone.” She continues, “I’m not great at any of it, but it makes a good show.
Parton, the most-honored female country performer of all time, started writing songs at 5 years old — her first one was about a corn doll she called Tiny Tassel Top — and started playing guitar at 7.
“Music is natural, and I love it,” Parton said. “I just decided early on, I loved the music so much, I’m gonna make it my career and my business.”
Parton, who grew up in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, spoke about the inspiration for her look — the town tramp.
“She was beautiful to me,” Parton said. “It came from an honest place. … I felt more outgoing inside than my look, ’cause I’m not a natural beauty. So I just decided I’d paint it on, powder it up and let it shine.”
At 70, Parton keeps very busy with more than just her music. She means business: She has a hugely successful theme park, Dollywood, a water park, multiple dinner theaters as well as a record label, production companies and a nonprofit organization, Imagination Library, which has given more than 80 million books to children in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
“I’ve never once thought about retiring,” Parton said. “I’m gonna go till somebody knocks me down.”