Luke Bryan Discusses What Makes Dolly Parton a Great Songwriter

by Jon D. B.

We all know Dolly Parton is the best at what she does to ever live, but hearing it from Luke Bryan makes it all the more spectacular for fans.

For this year’s BMI Awards, Broadcast Music Inc. is honoring the world’s best songwriter: Dolly Parton. One of the most interesting ways they’re doing so is by having fellow BMI award-winning songwriters testify to her immense talent.

“Each year, BMI celebrates its Country Awards by honoring the best and brightest writers in the genre. This year, the legendary country music superstar and BMI Icon Dolly Parton is joining the celebration to honor our creative family,” BMI begins of their celebration of Dolly Parton.

“Dolly has written some of the world’s most beloved hits, which have amassed over 22 million performances, and has received 36 BMI songwriting awards,” BMI continues. “Her career has truly inspired and influenced countless songwriters. In honor of our awards and her upcoming book, Songteller, Dolly joins us for a personal conversation with seven of our award-winning BMI songwriters who discuss their favorite Dolly songs, her impact on the art and craft of songwriting, and just how much she means to them.”

And up first is none other than fellow country crooner, Luke Bryan.

Luke Bryan: Dolly Parton “writes songs from every aspect of every emotion”

BMI calls their Dolly-centric celebratory series “Songteller to Songteller” in honor of the icon’s recent (and absolutely brilliant) book Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

Bryan, another extensively awarded songwriter and lifelong Parton admirer, is honored to kick off the series. As such, he dives right in, showing both deep knowledge and respect for the one and only Dolly Parton.

“I mean, what makes Dolly Parton a relatable songwriter – she writes songs from every aspect of every emotion,” the country star and American Idol host begins. “Coat of Many Colors: she wrote that about being a poor girl in the Tennessee mountains. And you know it by listening to that song,” he says of Parton’s self-professed favorite song she’s ever written.

“You listen to I Will Always Love You, I mean… you don’t write that one unless your heart’s broken,” he says as she shakes his head. “But when Dolly does 9 to 5 and the fun songs, you know she’s having a blast… She can sell the fun times, the good times, the hard times, the heartbroke times, and I think people really can relate [to] and believe what she’s saying.”

A Dolly Parton Quote Propelled Luke Bryan’s Entire Career

As for how strong an influence Parton had on Bryan in his own career – he finds it immeasurable.

“Well I remember moving to town, as a songwriter, and somebody had quoted Dolly Parton – that she ‘woke up and wrote a song every day’. And that really stuck with me when I moved to Nashville. And I wrote a song every day – sometimes multiple songs a day.”

“It told me a lot about her. It told me about her hard work. And then, because she’s writing so many songs, other artists end up recording them.” From here, Bryan dives further into the influence this Dolly Parton quote had on him, confessing that it absolutely changed his life and launched his entire career as a songwriter – and then as a successful solo country artist.

“My first #1 as a songwriter was performed by Billy Currington and written by me. And I remember having my first #1 and I was like ‘Yep, I remember when somebody quoted Dolly.'”

Moreover, Luke Bryan completely credits this success to Parton and her legacy. “And [she’s] the reason I had my first #1. Because I showed up every day – and tried to write one every day – because of Dolly.”

“Dolly’s Legacy is Joy”

To round out his tribute, Bryan then speaks to what he finds the legacy of the one and only Dolly Parton to be.

“I think Dolly’s legacy is joy. I think no one has brought more joy in a lifetime than Dolly.”

Truer words have never been spoken. To hear even more from Luke Bryan on the legacy of Dolly Parton – and from the legend herself, watch BMI’s interview in full below.

And as always, stick with us here at for the latest from country’s greatest icons.