Dolly Parton Inspired Luke Bryan to Write a Song a Day

He Credits Her for His First No. 1, Billy Currington's "Good Directions"

Because this year has been so unprecedented, so is the way we celebrate our songwriting legends. So BMI is wrapping up 2020 with a salute to Dolly Parton. "In honor of our awards and her 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," they shared, "and just how much she means to them."

One of the first to do so is Luke Bryan, who talks about what he learned from Parton when he first moved to Nashville, before he ever had a chance to meet her.

"She writes songs from every aspect of every emotion," Bryan says, citing examples like "Coat of Many Colors," "I Will Always Love You," "9 to 5," and "Two Doors Down."

"I remember moving to town as a songwriter, and somebody had quoted Dolly Parton: that she woke up and wrote a song every day. That really stuck with me when I moved to Nashville," he said. "And I wrote a song every day. Sometimes multiple songs a day. It told me a lot about her hard work. That's the beauty of showing up every day and writing songs. I did that, and my first No. 1 as a songwriter was performed by Billy Currington (in 2006).

"I remember having my first No. 1 and I was like, 'I remember when somebody quoted Dolly Parton and that's the reason why I have a No. 1 song. Because I showed up every day and tried to write one every day, just like Dolly."

(Bryan's first hit as a songwriter and an artist was his debut "All My Friends Say" just one year later in 2007.)

Bryan added that he thinks Parton's lasting legacy will always be her joy. "No one has brought more joy in a lifetime than Dolly. The way she lit up the movie screen and the radio. Dolly Parton -- she is joy. She walks in a room and lights up the room. It's so inspirational," he said, "and her happiness is so infectious. You can't say the word Dolly without smiling."

Parton responded with a grateful video of her own. "I am just happy I can bring joy to people. And people are loving you, too, buddy," she says to Bryan.

Meanwhile, Bryan is just like the rest of us, waiting for this year to be over so we can concert again.

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