Dolly Parton Has Complicated Feelings about Modern Music: ‘It’s Completely Different Now’

For decades, Dolly Parton has been unchanging. The country music legend hasn’t dramatically changed her vocal style or her stage presence in years. Her fans don’t even know what Parton looks like without makeup. Yet, she remains popular despite all the changes going on in the music industry. The singer once explained how she keeps up with the latest trends in the business.

Dolly Parton smiles in a black outfit and a necklace at the We Are Family Foundation
Dolly Parton smiles in a black outfit and a necklace at the We Are Family Foundation | John Lamparski/Getty Images

Dolly Parton released her debut album in 1967

Remarkably, Parton released her first album, Hello, I’m Dolly, way back in 1967. And her popularity has certainly grown over the years, bolstered by hits such as “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and “Here You Come Again.” Early in her career, Parton frequently collaborated with singer Porter Wagoner, a close friend who died in 2007 reportedly with Parton on hand.

In the 1980s, Parton became even more well-known. Her 1980 single “9 to 5” — from the movie of the same name, which co-starred Parton — became a number-one hit. It also became a mainstream crossover hit on the pop charts, the first and only of Parton’s career. She went on to star in several more films over the years and never stopped recording albums either.

RELATED: Who Is Country Music Legend Dolly Parton’s Husband?

The singer has opened up about how she contends with modern music

Of course, that kind of enduring success doesn’t come easy. While Parton has always been true to herself — even penning a song inspired by 9/11 — she takes account of the current state of the music industry. As she told Today in 2014, she makes sure that her music remains relevant and palatable to what’s happening now in the business.

“Everything’s high-tech and I’ve just been dragged screaming and kicking into the 21st century. But I try to surround myself with folks that keep up with it. It’s completely different now, but it’s wonderful that I’m still here. I say I’m as old as yesterday, but hopefully as new as tomorrow.”

Parton’s positive, warm-hearted attitude remains universal. No matter how many years — or decades — have passed, she’s always remained real with her fans. And perhaps that’s the biggest reason for why she’s still able to connect with listeners after all these years.

RELATED: Dolly Parton Explains the Poignant Reason Miley Cyrus ‘Had’ to Sing on Her New Christmas Album

Dolly Parton continues to record new music even in the 2020s

In 2020, Parton even released her 47th studio album, a holiday release titled A Holly Dolly Christmas. This collection of tracks includes a collaboration with her god-daughter, Miley Cyrus. And it reflects Parton’s own appreciation for the season of giving, as she says Christmas is her favorite holiday.

After more than a half-century in the business, Parton clearly has some more to say. And her fans will more than likely be there to celebrate life through her music. As impressive as it is for the singer to still be recording after all this time, it’s reassuring that, though the times change, Parton remains the same.