Dolly Parton Says Chris Stapleton is Her “Favorite Collaborator” on ‘Rockstar’ 

Chris Stapleton feels like a “Millionaire” after scoring Entertainer of the Year at the 2023 ACM Awards and earning a spot on Dolly Parton’s forthcoming rock album, Rockstar.

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Following his win, the hitmaker caught up with ET’s Rachel Smith to discuss the prestigious honor and what it was like to collaborate with the country legend. Stapleton said he was “shocked” to receive the top prize at the star-studded affair that aired (May 11) live from Frisco, Texas. The crooner was going against some of the hottest names in the genre—Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Morgan Wallen. 

“A lot of the other folks in that category. Any metric you want to give it, like tickets or streams, those kinds of things. I’m not the top of that list,” declared Stapleton. “It’s hard for me to feel like I’m in that slot.” 

Although Stapleton is struggling with a case of imposter syndrome, the singer said he’s feeling “thankful” and “ecstatic” about the title. He credits his successful career to his five children and wife Morgane, who is also a collaborator on his award-winning album Starting Over

The vocalist has had a whirlwind of a year, as he recently wrapped up working with Parton on her 30–song rock-inspired collection. The project, scheduled to be released on Nov. 17, will feature Stapleton on track 13. The two will tackle Bob Seger’s “Night Moves,” the 1976 classic that found a home on his ninth studio album of the same name. 

Seger penned the lead single independently and pulled from real-life experiences to cultivate the coming-of-age narrative centered around teenage love in the ’60s. The Jack Richardson- produced track, which peaked at No.4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, became Seger’s golden ticket to stardom. 

Although Stapleton was surprised to hear from the country trailblazer, he jumped on the opportunity.  

“That’s wild,” Stapleton admitted about the collaboration. “She’s so wonderful to talk to. She’s one of those calls that you’re just like, ‘What would you like me to do, Mrs. Parton?’ That’s pretty much what you do,” he laughed. 

Smith mentioned that Parton has been spreading the word that Stapleton is her “favorite collaborator” on the record. When he received the news, his jaw dropped. 

“Well, I know some of the other folks/ people on there, and that’s quite a compliment,” he said with wide-open eyes. “I appreciate that.” 

Photo Credit: Vijat Mohindra

The stacked album will include special guests —Miley Cyrus, Lizzo, Elton John, Brandi, Carlile, Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, Kid Rock, and many more. 

“I’m so excited to finally present my first Rock and Roll album, Rockstar!” said Parton in a press release. “I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time, and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure.” 

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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