Dolly Parton, 61, has collected more country music awards than any other female singer. Renowned for her voluptuous figure and blonde wigs, Parton brought her child literacy programme, The Imagination Library, to Rotherham this week. She has announced a new album for spring, Backwoods Barbie, and a British tour for summer. Tickets at www.livenation.co.uk.
Some folks from Rotherham visited the Tennessee tourist board last year and found out about our reading programme and asked if weíd bring it over. Now here we are. I started the programme for children in Tennessee and now itís in 43 states. Weíve distributed 11million books in the ten years weíve been doing it. The children get a book a month until they go to kindergarten. They have something to look forward to arriving in the mail.
Have you ever been to Rotherham before?
No, it's a small area right? I think there are only 15,000 children that are going to be in the programme. It's funded by the government, businesses and people who want to invest in it. I do fund raising concerts in the states every year. Those book cost quite a bit.
Whatís your favourite book?
My favourite book as a child, which we give away in the States, is The Little Engine That Could. I thought that was a great book when I was a child and now Iím the little engine that did. That just shows it can work.
What's the last good book you read?
I haven't read a good one in a while, it's hard to find great books. I've been so busy writing. I wrote nine of the songs on my new CD and wrote the Nine To Five musical which will be coming out in 2009. So I've been too busy to read.
Is there really going to be a sequel to Nine To Five?
Not at the moment. That film is 27 years old. Lily, Jane and I would like to do some sort of movie together. We could be spies, we could be three widows up to no good. Weíve been talking about it. The musical version of Nine To Five that Iíve written would make a great movie one day. Iíve been writing my own life story as a musical for several years now so maybe if Nine To Five is a success Iíll go ahead and produce that.
Where are the best audiences for you?
Europe, seriously. I hadnít played here for so long and didnít know until I did the shows last year that I had so many fans in this part of the world. Youíre never a hero at your own home. The crowds at home arenít nearly as good for me there, unless Iím playing at Dollywood to all my family and friends.
When you started out what kind of gigs did you do?
We used to play at a place called Donks Theatre which we used to laugh about. Even now when we play at places that aren't as good as we're used to we joke we're back playing at Donks. I played in all sorts of places, on the back of flat bed trucks, in shopping centres. All over. It's been a while but I ain't above it, I'd still do it if I needed to.
Was Whitney Houstonís version of I Will Always Love You over the top?
Not for what it was. I was driving from my office to my house when I first heard it on the radio, they didnít send me a copy in advance. I almost had a heart attack. I had no idea it could be done that big, with that kind of orchestration. My version was simple, heartfelt and pitiful Ė hers was major and mighty and earned me quite a bit of money. Thatís why you write songs, to get your feelings out and hope they make money.
When you first earned some money what did you spend it on?
I went out and bought a new Cadillac. Iíve had a new Cadillac every year since. Back then, all the big country stars had a Cadillac; I thought you hadnít made it in country music until you had one.
Whatís your biggest extravagance?
My biggest extravagances are also investments. I have several houses in California, a house in Nashville, an office complex and I bought the old home place in Tennessee. They are different places for me to write but I can turn right around and sell them.
What are your top beauty tips?
I always joke that all you need to do is find a good doctor. If youíve got the money and the nerve, if you see something sagging, bagging and dragging, go get it sucked, plucked and tucked. Just take good care of your skin. You donít need to buy expensive cosmetics, almost anything will do if you know how to apply it.
What's the best Christmas present you've ever received?
One of my brothers was born almost on Christmas day so as child I thought we'd got our own real-life baby doll. I'd always wanted a walking talking doll and so he was one of the best things I ever got around Christmas.
Have you ever been attacked by an animal?
Yes, when I was a little girl my uncle lived down the road and had dogs that heíd hunt raccoons with. I was six and his dog got out and attacked me and bit a big hole in my face and was trying to kill me. My grandma was an invalid and couldnít get out of bed so she was screaming for help. My uncle finally came and hit it with something but it tore me up pretty good.
Did you have to go to the hospital to get stitches?
Back in the mountains you did your own stitching, your momma sewed you up. I guess he must have thought I was a racoon.
Source: Metro UK