She’s a low-tech girl in today’s high-tech world.
Dolly Parton, an iconic figure in country music and a self-described “low-tech girl in a high-tech world,” stands apart in an age dominated by cell phones and cutting-edge technology.
While cell phones have transformed communication and creativity for many people, the country music singer stays loyal to her origins and prefers to capture her song ideas on a cassette recorder or with a pen and paper.
Parton stands out in the music industry because she prefers older, lower-tech gadgets, even though she famously carries a mobile phone in her bra. She even demonstrated how to retrieve her phone from her ample cleavage in one of her trademark moves in a T-Mobile advertisement that ran during the Super Bowl in February 2022.
In a two-part campaign titled “Do it for the phones,” she worked with her goddaughter Miley Cyrus to draw attention to a pressing issue in the United States. T-Mobile promised to provide $250,000 as part of the campaign to the Cyrus-founded Happy Hippie Foundation, which supports homeless and LGBTQ youths.
Beyond advertisements, Parton’s preference for simplicity touches every aspect of her existence. She said that she makes calls on her phone the majority of the time during an interview on The Bobby Bones Show back in 2018.
The music icon admitted that she still writes all her songs by hand and frequently wakes up in the middle of the night with a tune or lyric in her brain. Parton stressed that even though she carries a phone, she prefers to take notes on paper rather than on it.
“So, you will wake up in the middle of the night and go, ‘Oh, I have a melody,’ or ‘I have some lyrics,’” Bones asked at that time. “Do you have a notepad, or do you type it into your phone?” She then answered, “I just have a notepad because I always still work like that. I still write all my songs longhand … I still work like I always did.”
Notably, Parton doesn’t use social media on her phone either. She delegated the responsibility of managing her online presence to a team of committed people. Although she still uses her phone for communication, she avoids the numerous applications and other electronic diversions that have grown familiar in modern life.
“I’m surrounded with my, all my companies, all my friends … anything I want done, you know, I just tell them what I want out there and all that. … I’m a low-tech girl in a high-tech world,” she continued in the same interview.
In a guest appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Miley Cyrus made light of Dolly Parton’s communication choices and their association with T-Mobile. Cyrus made light of the fact that, despite the commercial’s emphasis on phones, the majority of their coordination still happens by fax.
Cyrus explained, “Yes. Which it was amazing, ’cause, you know, she was doing it for the phones, yet every time I coordinate and kind of communicate with Dolly, it’s still through fax, so I don’t know what she’s talking about; she’s rarely on the phone. Next time, we have to do it for the fax machines.”
The humorous story carried on as Cyrus related how Parton once recorded a demo for her on tape, voice-recorded it into a flip phone, converted it to an iPhone format, and then FedExed it to her.
“She also made me uh, she made me a demo one time where she talks about being super high tech, but it was all through a cassette, which then she voice memoed onto a flip phone, which someone then put onto the iPhone, which then got sent to me.”
It may be amusing to discuss Parton’s low-tech methods and dependence on vintage technology, but it also serves as a reminder of her honesty and unshakable devotion to her profession. In a world where innovation rules supreme, she is unwavering in her commitment to time-tested practices, retaining the spirit of a simpler period while leaving her mark on the music business.