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Why Dolly Parton won’t ‘jump the line’ for her COVID vaccine
NEW YORK — Dolly Parton has been singing about everyday office employees working “9 to 5” for over 40 years, but now the country icon is singing about entrepreneurs working “5 to 9” to pursue their dreams after hours.
The Grammy-winning legend’s 1980s hit has been flipped by Squarespace — a company that helps users build and host their own websites — for a Super Bowl commercial debuting Tuesday. Oscar winner Damien Chazelle of “La La Land” fame directed the spot.
“A lot of people through the years have wanted to change the lyrics to fit certain things they’re doing. I really thought that was a wonderful thing, especially for Squarespace. They’re so into people, new entrepreneurs working after hours to start their own businesses,” Parton said. “‘5 to 9’ seemed to be a perfect thing when they pitched it.”
Parton is using Squarespace to create a website for her new perfume, DollyFragrance.com.
The singer, who is also an actor, producer, humanitarian and more, said she can relate to businesspeople working around the clock to fulfill their goals.
“Well I work 365 (days a year). I’m always working 5 to 9, 9 to 5. I work all hours of the night and day,” she said. “Whatever you need to do, you gotta get it done, however many hours it takes.”
In an interview with The Associated Press, Parton talked about flipping “9 to 5,” being a part of this year’s Super Bowl, donating $1 million to coronavirus research and remembering her brother Randy Parton, who died last month. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Are you excited to be part of this year’s Super Bowl?
I’ve been asked several times to be part of that. It’s always such a big commitment. I’ve always kind of chickened out. I know it’s just a big commitment. If you do good, you do great. If you do bad, you do bad in front of all those people. This seemed like the perfect kind of way to do it.
What was it like writing “9 to 5” over 40 years ago?
That song just stays so true to people that get out — you get up in the morning, you wobble into the kitchen, you pour your coffee, you try to get your butt going, you try to get up and get to work knowing that you’ve got to do it. I’m really happy. This is the 40th anniversary of “9 to 5” since the movie came out. We’re celebrating, so this could not have happened at a better time.
You donated $1 million to coronavirus research — what compelled you to do that?
Well, I follow my heart. I’m a person of faith and I pray all the time that God will lead me into the right direction and let me know what to do. When the pandemic first hit, that was my first thought, “I need to do something to try to help find a vaccination.” I just did some research with the people at Vanderbilt (University) — they’re wonderful people, they’ve been so good through the years to my people in times of illness and all that. I just asked if I could donate a million dollars to the research for a vaccine.
I get a lot more credit than I deserve I think, but I was just happy to be a part of any and all of that.
Have you gotten your shot?
No. I’m not going to get mine until some more people get theirs. I don’t want it to look like I’m jumping the line just because I donated money. I’m very funny about that. I’m going to get mine though, but I’m going to wait. I’m at the age where I could have gotten mine legally last week. I turned 75. I was going to do it on my birthday, and I thought, “Nah, don’t do that.” You’ll look like you’re just doing a show. None of my work is really like that. I wasn’t doing it for a show. I’m going to get mine. I want it. I’m going to get it. When I get it, I’ll probably do it on camera so people will know and I’ll tell them the truth, if I have symptoms and all that. Hopefully it’ll encourage people. I’m not going to jump the line just because I could.
How does it feel to be 75?
Well I plan to be around a lot longer. I don’t have no plans of slowing down because the number says I should. I don’t pay attention to that. I wake up with new dreams every day. I try to make the most of every year that I’ve lived. I’ve been doing that since I was little. I’ll be doing it until I keel over. Hopefully that won’t be anytime soon.
Your brother Randy recently died from cancer. How are you holding up?
Well, we’re heartbroken. We loved him so much. He fought really hard for the last year. Randy was a wonderful artist, entertainer. He was very dear to me. He was one of my younger brothers. I lost my baby brother last year, around the same time of the year. This was really a double whammy for all of us. There’s a certain kind of peace that comes from knowing that he is at peace, and he was suffering, and we didn’t like that. He is dearly loved. You just go around with a hole in your heart and a knot in your stomach. You just think of him, love him, try to keep your precious memories. You have to go on. We’re a close family, so we’re supporting each other.