×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Dolly Parton and Linda Perry Talk ‘Dumplin” Film Songs, Female Execs Speak Truth to Power at Music Biz Conference

The Music Biz conference in Nashville is exactly what it says it is, and many of its panels and discussion topics make for instructive and engaging conversation that doesn’t necessarily translate well to compelling headlines (Metadata Summit, anyone?). However, its “Leading Ladies” panel has become an annual tradition, and this year’s was a stellar three-part series that featured Dolly Parton, hit songwriter/producer Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Pink as well as her own ‘90s group Four Non Blondes), Republic A&R Wendy Goldstein (Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, DNCE) , with Manager Beka Tischker (Julia Michaels), MAC Presents founder and president Marcie Allen, CAA co-head of International Touring Marlene Tsuchii, SESAC EVP Kelli Turner and Maren Morris manager Janet Weir. All had many compelling things to say about their businesses — and, not least, the experience of being a woman in those businesses — and while many important and interesting things were said by all, we’re going to focus on a few pointed remarks.

The moderator, Billboard’s Melinda Newman, asked Goldstein how she dealt with mansplaining over the course of her nearly 30 year career in A&R, which has seen her signing artists from The Roots (in the early 1990s) to Ariana Grande just a few years ago.

“One of the things that has always worked for me in my career,” she said, “Was that I was always focused on where I wanted to be. I was never the kind of person to let anything that anyone said or did bother me, and you always have to keep your eye on the greater purpose and not get caught up in the emotion of it. I’d say, ‘This person cannot hold me down — I’m smart, I can do whatever I want to do.’”

Allen spoke of the solidarity that she’s seen and worked to foster among women in the industry. “One woman lifts up another woman on her shoulders, and then another and another and another. We need to lead by example and we need to support one another. There are so many other facets of the music industry where that’s not the case — but when we tear each other down, let me tell you, you don’t want to be on that list. You think this room is small? This music business is small, everyone knows everything that’s going on, and women, more so than ever, are all looking out for one another, whether it’s a job opportunity, an artist signing, a branding deal, anything. It’s an unbelievably inspiring time, and I’ve never been prouder than I am right now to be a woman.”

Finally, Parton and Perry (pictured above with, L-R, John Zarling and Caryl Healey Atwood of Sony Music Nashville, Danny Nozell of CTK Management, Darren Stupak and Alaina Vehec of Sony, and James Donio of the Music Business Association) spoke about the female-centric soundtrack for the forthcoming film “Dumplin’,” which stars Jennifer Anniston and for which they collaborated on six new songs and new versions of six older Parton compositions — and which they revealed features collaborations from other top female artists including Miley Cyrus and Sia. True to form, Parton was gracious and modest, Perry was deadpan and sarcastic, and both were often hilarious — so much that their comments were sometimes obscured by laughter and/or applause from the capacity audience.

Discussing working with the other singers, Perry said, “Sia is an incredible singer, but nothing compared with when Dolly shows up on a song — “

“Well, I wrote it!” Parton cut in modestly.

“I’m not insulting Sia, she’s amazing,” Perry said. “I’m just saying you’re more amazing! Most singers take days to cut one song. You cut six songs in one day! People ask me what I’m doing now — I’m not doing sh– because I don’t wanna work with anyone else!”

As the panel neared its end, Newman cited a line of Parton’s in which she said “I dreamed myself into a corner.” Parton explained the line in a way that summed up her attitude and her achievements.

“When I was a little kid I always dreamed of being this,” she said. “I wanted to be a star — I wanted to shine and make money and travel and wanted my songs to be heard and show off, I guess. And all of my dreams came true!

So now I have to work. People ask, ‘How do you work all the time?’ Because I dreamed myself into a corner and I have to be responsible to those dreams. And I couldn’t be happier, because every dream I have brings on a new dream, like a tree with deep roots and branches and a lotta leaves, and every time something happens it makes something else happens.

“I like being there, but it is a big responsibility.”

More Music

  • Spice Girls Open Reunion Tour in

    Spice Girls Open European Reunion Tour With Inclusivity Proclamations, Sound Issues

    Posh Spice chose not to be included, but there was a lot of other inclusivity to go around as the four other Spice Girls opened their reunion tour in Dublin Friday night. “We welcome all ages, all races, all gender identifies, all countries of origin, all sexual orientations, all religions and beliefs, all abilities,” they [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish Fans to Receive Perks Due to Chicago Venue Change

    Billie Eilish and her music agents at Paradigm are experiencing what most would call a first class problem. The demand to see the 17-year-old singer live has prompted a change of venue for her June 9 show in Chicago — from the 5,000-capacity Aragon Ballroom to the 20,000-plus-seat United Center arena. The last-minute venue change [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • Ellen DeGeneres Buys Adam Levine’s Beverly

    Adam Levine Cashes in on Sale of Max Mutchnick’s Former Mansion to Ellen DeGeneres

    Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo have sold a baronial Beverly Hills mansion with an illustrious chain of ownership for a reported $45 million to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. The mainstream radio rock star, who, it was announced Friday, will not to return as a coach on “The Voice,” and the Namibian-born Victoria’s Secret [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content