Why Dolly Parton Doesn’t Want Fans to Idolize Her: ‘That’s Scary to Me’
Dolly Parton has amassed quite the fan club in all of her years in the spotlight. Some of those fans are more intense than others. It’s not unusual for a person who admires Parton’s music to meet her and burst into tears. but it makes the Queen of Country uncomfortable — she tells them to “cut it out.”
Dolly Parton doesn’t want the focus on her
It’s no secret that Parton is “very, very spiritual.” Her beliefs frequently show up in her songwriting and work.
“Every day, I ask God to help me lift people up and to glorify Him,” Parton wrote in her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. “That’s my mission, to lift mankind up if I can and to make people happy. If there’s any light shining on me, I’d rather direct it at Him.”
Dolly Parton feels ‘scared’ when people ‘worship’ her
In fact, when there’s too much focus on Parton, when people idolize or worship her, she gets “a little scared.”
“I get a little scared sometimes when people act like I’m someone they’re worshipping,” she wrote. “That’s an idol God, and I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe in idol worship of any kind. People often do that to show business people, and that’s scary to me. That’s when I say, ‘No, Look higher. Look up there. It ain’t me.’ Let me radiate His light, so that people see Him, not me.”
Sometimes, fans will meet Parton for the first time and burst into tears.
“I go, ‘Oh, cut it out. I ain’t ‘all that.’ I ain’t even all ‘there’!'” she wrote.
While Parton is not a preacher, she admits that many of her songs do sound like preaching. Several of her biggest early influences were preachers.
“I love to write songs like ‘Shine Like the Sun’ and ‘Better Day,’ because they are ‘attitude’ songs,” she wrote. “They are like preaching, in a way. I know I sound like an evangelist sometimes. Aunt Dorothy Jo, Grandpa Jake, and my Uncle Orville were preachers. My mother might as well have been one, because she was always preaching to us about one thing and another. So I come by it naturally.”
To Parton, songs like “Shine Like the Sun” and “Better Day” are “sermons.” They’re her way of “trying to reach people,” to get the focus on God.
And those ol’ blues?
Why they’re gonna just roll right on away
I know they are
Listen to me!
All this blue ain’t sky and sea“Better Day” by Dolly Parton
Some of that blue’s bound to get on me
But the blues don’t come to stay
They’ll move away