Like Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift got her start in country music. While the “Jolene” singer has stayed connected to her country roots throughout the course of her career more than Swift, the Queen of Country says they share some definite similarities. For one, they both did it “[their] own way.”
Both Dolly Parton and Taylor Swift started as country artists and branched out
In the ’70s, Parton changed her signature country sound. Some of her fans even accused her of abandoning her country roots for pop. But Parton never agreed. She said: “I’m not leaving country music, I’m taking it with me.”
“When I first got the bigger band and started doin’ more rocky things, some people hollered, ‘Do your country, we don’t need your rock ‘n’ roll,’” Parton told Playboy Magazine in 1978. “I don’t do rock ‘n’ roll. I knew what I was tryin’ to do and I didn’t have time to try to explain it to them.”
Like Parton, Swift moved away from her country sound in 2014 with her 1989 album.
“My music before this has been very guitar-heavy, live drums, it’s had a very acoustic sound at its core,” Swift told People. “This is a sound that’s based in synth pop and keyboards and automated drums and vocal layering.”
Both artists were successful in their transitions.
What Dolly Parton thinks about Taylor Swift
Parton says she and Swift haven’t actually spend a lot of time together, but they have “a mutual respect and an admiration” for one another.
“When I have [been around her] — I’ve been with her backstage, like at shows and stuff, we get a chance to kind of visit for a little bit — I just love her to death,” Parton said in an interview with Billboard in 2020. “But I really, really admire and respect her. I have since she started. I think she’s done it in her own way, as I’ve done it in mine, in my own way. But I really think she’s just been incredible in the way that she’s known how to market herself, how to keep herself straight, you know, in her lane so to speak. You have to be able to come and go but not to go outside her realm of respect and responsibility, her principles and values, that sort of thing. I think that’s one good thing. And she’s very, very gifted. And I really admire her a lot. I’m a big fan of hers.”
The feeling is mutual
When Parton accepted the Hitmaker Award at the 2020 Billboard Women in Music Awards, she mentioned Swift in her acceptance speech. Afterward, the “Blank Space” singer showed her gratitude on Twitter.
“I need nothing else for my birthday this year,” she wrote. “Or any other year. Ever. This is it. I love you Dolly.”
In her speech, Parton said:
“Of course, I’m proud of all of the wonderful women in show business that write all of these wonderful songs. I’d like to acknowledge a few – some of them older, kind of back in my day. Cindy Walker, who wrote some of the greatest songs ever. And, of course, Loretta Lynn, wonderful, wonderful songwriter. In this day and time, of course, Taylor Swift, she’s just right up there, probably number one. And of course, Brandi Carlile, there’s just so many. I think it’s so important that we acknowledge the women that write and sing in country music. And I think it’s also very important that they take control of their own business.”
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