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Kesha lavishes praise on Dolly Parton: “She’s so much of a guiding light, and she has no idea”

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Kesha has a rule when making new music: Dolly Parton has to like it.  

Speaking to Rolling Stone for its Icons & Influences issue, the “TiK ToK” hitmaker explained just how large an impact Dolly Parton had on her life and career.  Growing up, she says her mother, Pebe Serbert, hailed the “Jolene” singer as “Queen Dolly” and even wrote a song for her — the 1980 hit “Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle to You).”

“Dolly didn’t seem like a real human to me. It was almost like when you talk about unicorns. I remember as a little kid, it was like she was this fable, like untouchable, unhuman, just bada**,” Kesha explained.  She never lost that point of view and, when creating her Rainbow album, she manifested her life-long dream of recording a song with “the queen.”  

Kesha explained she initially didn’t “think I was talented enough” to ask Dolly to sing with her, but she eventually put on her big girl pants.

“I said, ‘You know what? If I don’t ask, the answer’s no.’ So I just thought, ‘[Screw] it, I’m going to ask Dolly Parton to sing a song with me,'” she recalled. “I wept like a baby when she said she would.”

The two re-recorded the song her mom wrote for Dolly over 40 years ago and, from that point forward, Kesha adopted a new music policy.  “I don’t ever want to put out any music that Dolly Parton wouldn’t enjoy or listen to, or find some humor in,” Kesha said. “She’s so much of a guiding light, and she has no idea.”

Kesha also has another Dolly-centric goal: “If I ever get married, I want to do it at Dollywood.”


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