On Wednesday, the country music icon, 73, was nominated for several Grammys at the upcoming award show including, best contemporary Christian music performance and song for her collaboration, "God Only Knows," with duo for King & Country. Parton also received a nomination for her tune "Girl in the Movies" -- from the "Dumplin'" soundtrack -- for best song written for visual media.
“I’ve done so many things,” Parton told People magazine of her decision. “And I see that I am in a position to help. People look at me like someone they’ve always known, like a mother or sister. If I say something good, people might listen.”
She continued: “I’ve just felt like God was calling me into that. I’ve always felt like my music was more my ministry than a job. I just feel that this day and time, we need more people that are in a position to help to try to do something, if they can, to brighten the world a little bit. That’s what I’m hoping to do now.”
In addition to "God Only Knows," Parton also has two other faith-based songs: "There Was Jesus" with Zach Williams, and "Faith," in which she collaborates with Galantis and Mr. Probz.
"I’ve always felt like my music was more my ministry than a job."
The single "Faith," in particular, came to Parton "out of the heavens."
“[Galantis] sent the song to see if I’d be interested, and I just loved it,” she recalled. “So I did it. Now it’s out and people are really responding to it. It’s more of a dance song, as you know. But it’s a very spiritual message. It’s like God saying, ‘Have a little faith in me.’ So I was proud to be part of that whole thing."
Parton went on to say that she "felt really blessed" to be able to do these collaborations because faith-based music was something she had just decided on "in the last few months."
“Then right out of the blue came King and Country and their ‘God Only Knows.’ And then the Zach Williams song, ‘There Was Jesus.’ All three of those just came and I went, ‘Well, that must be an answer,'" said Parton. "I’ve got three faith-based songs out now, which I feel very good about.
"If I do shine and radiate, I’d like to think that is God’s light and I’d like to pass that on. "
"Whether you believe in God or not, we need to believe in something bigger and better than what’s going on because we’re not doing too hot. We need to try to do a little better," she added.
Parton, who "grew up very spiritual," was quick to note that her intention is not to preach religion.
“I’m not trying to tell anybody how to be,” she explained. “I just say who I am and how I am.
"If there’s something you see in me that’s got a light, then I like to think that’s God’s light — not my light," Parton continued. "In my faith, it bothers me sometimes when I see people worshiping the stars and all that. I’m like, ‘Oh Lord, don’t ever let me go there.’ That’s why I want to ship that on up to God. I don’t need nobody worshiping me.
"If I do shine and radiate, I’d like to think that is God’s light and I’d like to pass that on. I want to direct people to Him, not me.”
Along with her Grammy nominations, Parton has her anthology series, "Dolly Parton's Heartstrings," which is currently streaming on Netflix.