From the “town trollop” to Mother Goose: How Dolly Parton’s persona is reaching a whole new group of fans

Sony Music Nashville/Dolly Records

Dolly Parton has never been shy about her larger-than-life personality or her unique fashion sense, even admitting her look was based on “the town trollop.”  But now, with her first children’s album, I Believe In You, the superstar from East Tennessee says that same over-the-top image is what’s endearing her to a whole new group of fans.  

“I have always said I look like a cartoon, cause I kinda do,” Dolly admits. “I just always liked just being over-exaggerated. And my voice is small… And I think kids kinda can relate to me, like a Mother Goose character.”

The 71-year-old adds, “I don’t care why they do, as long as they do. I love ’em, and they seem to love me. And when I’m with ’em, I just am exactly that age.”

Dolly’s I Believe in You album benefits her literacy program, which sends books to children all over the world, starting at birth and continuing until they’re five years old.

“The first book that we give out through the Imagination Library is The Little Engine That Could,” Dolly explains. “That was one we thought would be appropriate and I wrote a song that kinda mentions that. So it’s got train sounds, and whistles.”

The Country Music Hall-of-Famer also re-recorded her classic, “Coat of Many Colors” for the project and composed another tune inspired by how she was bullied growing up.

“I thought…”I’m gonna write a song about how it makes people feel when you make fun of them, and make them feel less than they are or what they want to be,” Dolly recently told a group of young fans in Nashville, before debuting “Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny.”

I Believe in You is available in stores and online today.

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