Country Legend Dolly Parton Says ‘God Was Calling’ Her to Start Making Christian Music

December 3, 2019 Updated: December 3, 2019

Country music superstar Dolly Parton has been nominated for a 2020 Grammy Award for work in the Christian music genre. The star attributes the subtle shift in musical direction to higher powers, claiming God was calling her to bring faith to the forefront.

“I’ve done so many things,” Parton opened up, speaking to People magazine. “And I see that I am in a position to help. People look at me like someone they’ve always known, like a mother or sister. If I say something good, people might listen.”

The country legend, now 73, has been nominated for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for her collaboration with For King & Country on “God Only Knows.” She is also nominated for Best Song Written for Visual Media for the single “Girl in the Movies,” taken from the 2018 Netflix original movie “Dumplin’” soundtrack.

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Above the storm, the smallest prayer will still be heard. #motivationmonday

اس پر ‏‎Dolly Parton‎‏ نے شائع کیا پیر، 10 اکتوبر، 2016

“I’ve always felt like my music was more my ministry than a job,” Parton admitted. “I just feel that this day and time, we need more people that are in a position to help to try to do something, if they can, to brighten the world a little bit. That’s what I’m hoping to do now.”

Parton assured her fans that, despite her spiritual upbringing, she is not trying to tell anybody how to behave in the world. “I just say who I am and how I am,” she said. “If there’s something you see in me that’s got a light, then I like to think that’s God’s light, not my light.”

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Faith-based messages have appeared in Parton’s repertoire for years. The country star regularly posts uplifting aphorisms as part of the #motivationmonday hashtag on social media. “Above the storm, the smallest prayer will still be heard,” reads one such message.

Parton’s collaboration with For King & Country was not the singer’s first foray into Christian music in 2019, either. Parton also released other religious singles, including “There Was Jesus” with Christian rock singer Zach Williams, and “Faith” with DJ duo Galantis and Mr. Probz.

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Five decades of magic 😍 Can’t wait to celebrate 50 years tomorrow! #DollyOpry50

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“I felt really blessed, because I had decided just in the last few months that I was going to try to do more faith-based things, or at least more uplifting music,” Parton explained. “I’ve got three faith-based songs out now, which I feel very good about.”

Parton believes that the message of the music is universal. “Whether you believe in God or not, we need to believe in something bigger and better than what’s going on because we’re not doing too hot,” she reflected. “We need to try to do a little better.”

Parton has amassed eight Grammy wins and a further 49 nominations throughout her illustrious career. Her nominations for the 2020 awards season represent Parton’s timeless appeal; whether her music is overtly faith-based or not, Parton’s message is being heard by millions.

Grammy Awards officials even named Parton their 2019 “Person of the Year.”

Despite her extraordinary success, Parton remains humble. The focus is on the faith, she maintains, not the fame.

“If I do shine and radiate, I’d like to think that is God’s light and I’d like to pass that on,” she told People, adding, “I want to direct people to Him, not me.”