Violet Burdick loves Dolly Parton. The 5-year-old proved it by singing a faithful — and adorable — rendition of the country music icon’s song “Jolene” on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen rewarded Violet with a very special prize for her efforts.
Violet said she first became aware of Dolly Parton when she started receiving books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The program mails free books to children from birth until they begin school. Parton started the Imagination Library in 1995 in Sevier County, Tennessee, as a way to inspire kids to love reading. It has since become a global initiative, sending books to multiple countries on three continents.
Violet Burdick’s dad, Ryan, said she would always look at the photo of Dolly in the back of the books. And she loves to get her “book from Dolly” each month, he said. So, Ryan, a musician, started playing Parton’s songs around the house, and she began singing along.
Ellen DeGeneres was keen to hear Violet and Ryan’s take on “Jolene,” but she was curious if the 5-year-old understood the meaning of the song. Violet was spot on.
“‘Jolene’ is about a girl name Jolene who wanted to take Dolly’s man,” she said, causing the mostly virtual crowd to guffaw.
As a gift for being on the show and performing, Ellen — through her sponsor Shutterfly — is sending Violet and Ryan on an all-expenses-paid trip to Dollywood, Parton’s popular theme park in Tennessee.
Dolly Parton Having a Very Busy Christmas Season
Dolly Parton has had one of the most impressive late-career surges in recent memory. Not only does she have a popular new Christmas album and Christmas special on Netflix. She’s performing at the annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center tree lighting event with Gwen Stefani. Parton also helped fund a coronavirus vaccine.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, The Dolly Parton COVID-19 Research Fund donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in April. Subsequently, the medical center has been crucial in the development of a vaccine for the virus.
Even former President Barack Obama is taking notice. According to The Hill, Obama joked on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that one of the mistakes he made during his eight years in the White House was not awarding the 74-year-old a Medal of Freedom.
“Actually, that was a screw-up,” he said. “I’m surprised. I think I assumed that she had already gotten one, and that was incorrect. She deserves one. I’ll call (president-elect Joe) Biden.”