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Dolly Parton Talks Paying Staff During Pandemic, $100 Million Catalog & Support For Black Lives Matter

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By Ryan Naumann

Dolly Parton is speaking about her plans for the future and standing up for the Black Lives Matters movement.

The 74-year-old icon sat down for a wide-ranging interview with Billboard. During the chat, Dolly spoke about her business savvy, support for Black Lives Matter and the plans for her music catalog. Dolly's amusement park staff did have to be furloughed due to the pandemic.

Among the interesting tidbits learned about Dolly is the singer is extremely generous to her team. Dolly continues paying her band members despite not touring since 2016. She hasn’t cut pay to her personal staffers during the pandemic.

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Dolly wakes up around 4 a.m. where she goes over the day with her manager Danny Nozell. Dolly limits the number of items that can be brought up at 50. Prior to the pandemic, the two would meet in person for a regular morning breakfast of grits, bacon eggs and country ham

The singer recently signed a licensing deal with IMG. They have started producing Dolly-branded products including bakeware and specialty foods to be sold at Williams-Sonoma. If things goes well they plan to launch lines of makeup, wines and wigs.

Dolly revealed Elvis was set to sing “I Will Always Love You” before Whitney Houston ever heard it. The singer, who wrote the legendary love song, said she turned down a deal from Elvis’ team. She didn’t want to give up the copyright at the time. Dolly credits her father for teaching her how to be business smart.

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She said, “That was one of the hardest things I ever had to do because I loved Elvis. Even though my daddy didn’t get an education, my daddy was really smart in making deals and bargaining and how he raised a family like he did.”

In regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, Dolly showed her support saying, “I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” she says. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!”

Dolly, who owns the majority of the 3,000 songs she wrote, admits to having plans to sell off the catalog. The music generates an estimated $6 to $8 million a year. The singer admits she plans to sell it off eventually. Billboard estimated the value to be in the range of $96 million and $184 million.

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