Dolly Parton Says She Feels 'Energized' by 'Fans That Care About Me': 'That's Exciting to Me'

"I just really stay alive because I just live on creative and spiritual energy," said the country music legend

Keeping busy is just how Dolly Parton prefers it.

Despite an unusual 2020, the country music legend, 74, has not slowed down. Not only did Parton release a brand-new holiday album, but she also performed in a Christmas special for CBS, starred in an original movie musical for Netflix, wrote a new book titled Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, and debuted her first line of kitchen products with Williams Sonoma. Not to mention her charitable work and helping to fund a COVID-19 vaccine development.

In a conversation with RuPaul for Marie Claire's holiday digital issue, the singer explained that staying busy with work helps her to feel energized.

"You bring so many people joy, and you have for so many years. I always wonder, how are you able to recharge your own battery?" asked RuPaul, 60.

"I'm energized by just what I do. It's like, work begets work, energy begets energy. I just really stay alive because I just live on creative and spiritual energy," she said. "I'm like the little Energizer Bunny. I'm just recharged by the excitement of being able to still be active and to still be able to create stuff and to be still in demand."

Dolly Parton for Marie Claire
Stacie Huckeba courtesy of Butterfly Records LLC

"That's exciting to me, that I have all these fans that care about me, and I love us sharing that kind of love and that kind of energy," Parton told the RuPaul's Drag Race host. "You know how that feels. People love you. And that's a great feeling to know that people care about you, and so it kind of generates its own kind of energy.”

Dolly Parton for Marie Claire
Stacie Huckeba courtesy of Butterfly Records LLC

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Later in the Marie Claire discussion, RuPaul asked Parton for "one piece of wisdom or hope you would offer to the youth of 2020."

"Well, this is a big question, isn't it? I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself. Only you know who you are, what you need and how you feel," she answered. "Never lose yourself in something or someone. What are you passionate about? What do you love? Who do you want to be? Be and do those things, always and unapologetically."

Parton spoke about the "sacrifices" she's made to achieve her success during a recent episode of Apple TV+'s The Oprah Conversation, telling host Oprah Winfrey that not having children with husband Carl Dean allowed her to focus on work.

"Since I had no kids, and my husband was pretty independent, I had freedom," she said. "So I think a big part of my whole success is the fact that I was free to work."

RELATED VIDEO: Dolly Parton Addresses Those Tattoo Rumors, Reveals the Moving Reason Behind Her ‘Tasteful’ Ink

That's not to say, however, that Parton isn't passionate about the younger generation. In 1995, the singer launched Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, a program that mails free books to children until they begin school.

"I didn't have children because I believed that God didn't mean for me to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine, so I could do things like Imagination Library because if I hadn't had the freedom to work, I wouldn't have done all the things I've done," she explained. "I wouldn't be in a position to do all of the things I'm doing now."

In the same interview, the Grammy winner also spoke about her approach to aging. "I don't think about my life in terms of numbers. First of all, I ain't never gonna be old because I ain't got time to be old. I can't stop long enough to grow old," she said with a laugh.

Related Articles