"I've never met anyone that doesn't like Dolly Parton. And it's safe to say if they don't like her, it's only because they love her," said Miley Cyrus

By Jen Juneau
December 11, 2020 10:45 AM
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Miley Cyrus (L); Dolly Parton
| Credit: 2020 Billboard Women In Music/Getty (2)

Miley Cyrus couldn't have been prouder to bestow the first-ever Hitmaker Award to her "Aunt" Dolly Parton at this year's Billboard Women in Music event.

During Thursday night's broadcast, the 28-year-old "Prisoner" singer gave a heartfelt speech in honor of her "very precious fairy godmother, not only to me but admirers from all around the world."

"I've never met anyone that doesn't like Dolly Parton," Cyrus continued. "And it's safe to say if they don't like her, it's only because they love her. As the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time, Dolly Parton has influenced music beyond her own genre. Achieving 25 gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, Dolly has had 26 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard country charts — a record for any female artist."

The star went on to note that her "Aunt Dolly" has "10 Grammy Awards under her customized bedazzled belt" and "has paved the way for other women songwriters, encouraging them to take ownership and get the credit that they deserve — an issue many women in the songwriting industry still struggle with today."

"When Elvis [Presley] sought to record Dolly's 'I Will Always Love You,' Dolly famously said no, keeping control of her song that Elvis wanted half of the publishing royalties to," Cyrus added, concluding, "Slay all day, Dolly."

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The video then cut to Parton, 74, who started off by thanking her "little fairy goddaughter Miley" while holding up her trophy excitedly.

"I'm very appreciative of this," said the music legend. "I've been with Billboard for so many years, had so many hits on the charts there, and I'm very grateful for that. Of course, I'm proud of all of the wonderful women in show business that write all of these wonderful songs."

"I'd like to acknowledge a few — some of them older, kind of back in my day. Cindy Walker, who wrote some of the greatest songs ever, and of course Loretta Lynn — wonderful, wonderful songwriter," Parton added. "And this day in time, of course, Taylor Swift. I mean, she's just right up there, probably No. 1."

"And of course, Brandi Carlile; there's just so many that write so many good songs," she continued. "And I think it's so important that we acknowledge the women that write — and sing! — in country music. And I think it's also very important that they take control of their own business."

"I'm just wanting to always say, 'You go, girls! We can do it!' " Parton said, holding up her award. "And I want to say again, thanks to Billboard, and thanks to everybody that's been a big part of my life and all the hits that you've allowed me to have. And I hope to have many more, so this is gonna go in my museum at Dollywood! Thank you!"

Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus
| Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty

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Cyrus and Parton have long been two of each other's biggest champions and recently collaborated on a track for Parton's holiday album, A Holly Dolly Christmas.

"Dolly reached out about doing a Christmas record with her and only for Dolly Parton do you sing a Christmas carol in July," Cyrus said in October on The Graham Norton Show. "But she makes physical records and so she had to get it turned in."

"I was singing about Christmas in the middle of L.A. summer, and only for Dolly," she quipped.

It has been a busy holiday season for Parton. In September, she announced a collection with Williams Sonoma inspired by her Christmas tradition, and a Netflix musical called Christmas on the Square.

She dropped her 12-track holiday album featuring additional collaborations with Jimmy FallonMichael Bublé and Willie Nelson in October.