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Hayley Williams and Dolly Parton discuss the importance of having protective figures in the music industry

07 November 2023, 16:47 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

In a recent conversation facilitated by Consequence, Hayley Williams and Dolly Parton sit down to discuss genre crossovers, collaboration, their love of Parton's goddaughter Miley Cyrus, and the need for protective figures.

The conversation was rooted around Parton's forthcoming album, Rockstar, which feature the likes of Stevie Nicks, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow, and Simon Le Bon. The 30-song collection includes nine original tracks and 21 covers iconic rock anthems.

The album was inspired by Parton's induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. Speaking of the reason she decided to side-step from her country origins, she explains: "I have so many friends in the rock business that would die to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – people that really spend their whole life doing that. I'll take anything you give me in country music because I feel like I will have earned it, because I've worked my whole life in it. But I felt like this was something they voted on and I did not want to take votes away from anybody, like a Pat Benatar. You know, the girls that were in the business..."

As the pair dissect the stories behind some of the originals and covers on the album, Williams discusses Parton's collaboration with Cyrus on a reimagined version of "Wrecking Ball".

Parton reveals to Williams that she wishes she had written the song, adding that she's crazy about Cyrus and doesn't think people understand "how talented she is".

"I think what, unfortunately, people do is really underestimate based on presentation or based on the fact that she came from Disney – she's already proven that she's got the chops: She’s a great singer, a writer," Williams replied, with Parton interrupting her to include Cyrus' skills as an actress and comedian.

"Her comedic timing I think is unbelievable," Parton reveals. "She's a great writer and that voice… I think she's the new, modern day rock chick. That thing that's got the grit and the soul and the sex appeal. She's got that voice when she can go down in that bourbon and cigarette voice, but she can also sing a song so delicate. I mean, she's just got everything she needs."

Williams expresses that it's hard to find protective figures in the music industry, and says that it's a gift for Miley Cyrus to have Parton in her life as, in therapy, she's thought of Parton as that kind of figure for herself. "The first time I did a therapy session that was going to be deeper, [my therapist] was like, "We're going to talk about some traumatic stuff, so you need to have a peaceful place you can go to, and you need to have a wisdom figure, a protective figure.” And you came into my mind!," she tells Parton, explaining that she created a safe space in her head where they would sit by a creek in the woods.

Dolly Parton's Rockstar album will arrive on 17 November via Butterfly Records with distribution by Big Machine Label Group.

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