The most honored female country performer of all time, Dolly Parton has nine Grammy Awards, two Academy Award nominations, ten Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, three American Music Awards, and is one of only seven female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award. Parton has received 47 Grammy nominations. She is also one of the few to have received at least one nomination from the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, and Emmy Awards. Dolly has sparkled on the stage and the silver screen for decades now. However, behind the scenes, Dolly has been a positive force of intention, giving back and spreading messages of hope and faith.
What would you say it is that people see in you? I really like to think it’s God spark. I really do ask God every single day to let me do something, say something, be something that matters to somebody else. To make somebody feel good. To let people see a spark of love. God is love, that’s the scripture. I remember believing in my childhood that through God all things are possible. I’m not a religious person. I’m not a religious fanatic. I’m a sinner like everybody else. But I do believe that there is something greater. I try to find the good. All those good Christian people who have something to say about everybody, I think: Well, where’s your religion? You’re taught not to judge, and you’re supposed to love your neighbor like yourself. I want to be loved, and so I try to love everybody. – Dolly Parton, Vogue Interview, 2016
A powerful story Dolly has told regarding her faith was her near-suicide from an affair during a tumultuous time in her marriage, in which she credits God for stepping in. By using her platform to share a story that will hit home for a lot of women, her strength and courage can have an impact on hearts facing similar situations. In 2009, she was NPR’s Tell Me More podcast where she really opened up about her faith, her humble beginnings in Tennessee, and hard times. You can listen to the episode here!
Just recently, Dolly made the headlines for a significant impact in championing early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library, a nonprofit program that mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers. She was at the Library of Congress last week celebrating the 100,000,000th book donated in a little over two decades.
In addition, Dolly’s faith has been woven into her lyrics throughout her career, from gospel inspirations, hymnal covers, and introspective musical prayer. Check out a few of our favorites below, including “Hello God” that serves as a prayer to God, “He’s Alive” that celebrates the resurrection, and a beautiful cover of “How Great Thou Art”.