Lauren Alaina Shares the Moving Reason She Admires Dolly Parton So Much

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Lauran Alaina Opry Goes Pink 2020
Lauran Alaina Opry Goes Pink 2020

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Our love for Dolly Parton is bountiful here at Southern Living, and it's always nice to hear why her fellow country music artists adore her as much as we do. Most recently, Georgia native and country singer Lauren Alaina spoke with Holler.country about the songs, records, and artists that have shaped her into the singer she's become and — no surprises here — chief among them is the Smoky Mountain Songbird.

In the interview, Alaina reflects candidly on her deep admiration for Dolly Parton, especially because she could also identify with money being tight while growing up. Speaking about the song "Coat of Many Colors," Alaina says,

I grew up in a very humble environment. My family did not have very much at all, but we had a ton of love, I’ll tell you that. My parents both worked really hard to raise my brother and I. My dad worked swing shifts at a chemical plant and my mom was a waitress; they just had to work for everything that we ever had. That song is part of what’s so wonderful about Dolly Parton; she really gives a voice to working-class people. My great-grandmother had her own coat of many colors, and now I own it. It’s in my closet, and there’s a little hat that matches it. I remember my Nana telling me, “You’re going to get this coat someday.” I’ve always had a very special connection with that song, and it’s all about making the best of your situation, basically. I think that’s probably why [Dolly] is my favorite of all time. She’s just pure class in every sense of the word.

Later in the interview, Alaina also gives a shoutout to Martina McBride, saying that the country great along with Christina Aguilera "pretty much taught [her] how to sing," adding that she "learned how to sing runs from Christina and [she] learned how to be a country singer from Martina." Read the full story here.

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The two even did a photo shoot on the Grand Ole Opry's stage.

Considering what a breakout success Alaina has been after becoming the runner-up on season 10 of American Idol in 2011, we have a feeling many blossoming musicians will cite her as an inspiration in the decades to come. Keep on singing and shining your light, Ms. Alaina.

Listen to Southern Living's "Biscuits & Jam" podcast to hear interviews from Lauren Alaina, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker, and more!