If there’s any woman in the music business that I really admire, not only for her talent, but for all of her accomplishments, you may be surprised at my answer. It’s Dolly Parton. When you see Dolly, the book cover that you’re looking at is not really what you get.
This year she is celebrating 50 years in the music business. She is smart beyond brilliant, an excellent musician and lyricist and savvy businesswoman. Dolly has it all rolled up under her big curly wig. With Dolly, if you think she’s a Tennessee back woods woman you better think again. In her industry she is a force to be reckoned with. That’s for sure.
Dolly has sold more than 100 million records and written more than 3,000 songs, has 17 Grammys and has been inducted into the country music Hall of Fame and as icing, she received the Kennedy Center honors in 2008. Not bad for a Southern country girl I would say.
And if that accomplishment is not enough for one entertainer, in 1986 Dolly became co-owner of a theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that was renamed Dollywood. It has doubled in size since she bought it. She also has an interest in a waterpark and dinner theaters in three different states.
Please bare with me, we don’t stop there. She’s co-owner of Sand Dollar Productions which produced Father of the Bride, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Common Threads: Stories from Quilts and a documentary about AIDS that won an Academy Award.
My having been in the entertainment field on a less important level most of my life, a truly testosterone dominated industry, getting respect is a hard earned task. In the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the advice that she gave for women going into any business, I just love. It kicked me upstairs.
She said, “If you really believe in what you’ve got to say, or got to offer, what your talent is – and if you believe, that gives you strength. In my early days I would go in and I was always over made with my boobs sticking out, my clothes too tight, and so I really looked like easy prey to a lot of guys – just looked easy, period. But I would go in, and if they were not paying close attention to what I was saying, I always said, ” I look like a woman, but I think like a man, and you better pay attention, or I’ll have your money and I’ll be gone.”
When asked by the interviewer if she was familiar with Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In she asked what it was. When told Lean In is a book, her reply was just as simple and honest as can be.
“I’ve leaned over. I’ve leaned forward. I don’t know what “leaned in” is. Lean in to God.”
That is pure Dolly. You have to love and respect that woman.
Sitting here at my computer and writing on a daily basis, I realize it’s women like Dolly Parton who have always felt free to be who they are and comfortable in their own skin – they are the women who have paved the way for the rest of us creative types to say it like it is. The freedom to be ourselves. The final truth is, the older I get, the easier it is to be the real me.
Hats off to you Dolly Parton and thanks!
Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.