Who Dolly Parton
Accomplishments Singer, songwriter, producer, actress and author. Forty-one top 10 country albums, 8 Grammy Awards, 2 Academy Award nominations. Writer of more than 3,000 songs, including Whitney Houston’s hit “I Will Always Love You.” Proprietor of Dollywood theme park. Godmother of Miley Cyrus.
Base Nashville, Tenn.
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
I get up very early and do my meditation and my prayers and then I have a cup of coffee and watch the morning news. I’m usually up in time to watch it at 2:30 in the morning. I start my day early!
You are active on social media, with 3 million Twitter followers and 2.2 million fans on Facebook. What do you make of the rise of social media?
Well, we’ve got to roll with the times I guess. It’s all so foreign to me because I’m an old-timer, but I surround myself with all these young people who are up on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr. It’s amazing what you can do these days, much different than when I started. I don’t know if I could’ve even made it in this day and time. It’s almost like I’ve gone from the dark ages into a new age. I grew up with no electricity!
You are on the road right now promoting your new album, Blue Smoke. What do you do to pass the time?
I travel with my best friend since the third grade, Judy Ogle. We work together, she’s my personal assistant, and we’re such good girlfriends. We have a lot of fun, and we love to read. On my days off, we’ll pile up a stack [of things to read]. I love reading. It’s such a relaxing way to pass the time.
What are you reading these days?
I just finished a book Peace Like a River by a first-time writer, Leif Enger. It’s such a sweet and precious little book. And I read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, and I just started Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah. I just go from one to another—I probably read a book a week. I am fascinated by all the writers in the world with such good stories.
What kind of music have you been listening to lately? Was there music that inspired your new album?
I never did write to be commercial—it just comes from the heart and what I’m feeling at the time. I really don’t get a chance to listen to other people’s music much. I’m so busy writing and with my businesses. I’m always so busy, if I listen to their stuff, I won’t have time to do my own!
I know you watch the morning news, but do you watch much TV at night?
I don’t watch much TV, but when I do—and this might surprise you—I love forensics, those detective shows [like CSI] where they solve those cases with a hair or a drop of blood. I just love those!
Of all the magazine covers you’ve appeared on over the years, which is your favorite?
Well, I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but the one I get the most comments about is Playboy.
Even though you did not pose inside.
No, I didn’t! But I did wear the little Bunny suit on the cover. They just recently wanted me to do another cover and I said, please don’t ask me, and I didn’t do it again because of all the programs I do for children now and the Imagination Library [Dolly’s literacy charity, which sends kids who sign up one book per month to age 5]. Back then I was young!