Country music icon Dolly Parton has already won eight Grammy Awards, and been nominated a total of 49 times. But her recent nomination for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song, for her "God Only Knows" collaboration with For King & Country, marks her first Grammy nod in the Christian music genre, but perhaps not her last. The 73-year-old also released "There Was Jesus" with Zach Williams, as well as "Faith" with DJ duo, Galantis, and plans to release more music about her faith, as she continues on her own spiritual journey.
"[Galantis] sent the song to see if I'd be interested, and I just loved it," Parton recalled to PEOPLE. "So I did it. Now it's out and people are really responding to it. It's more of a dance song, as you know. But it's a very spiritual message. It's like God saying, 'Have a little faith in me.' So I was proud to be part of that whole thing."
"I felt really blessed because I had decided just in the last few months that I was going to try to do more faith-based things or at least more uplifting music," Parton noted. "Then right out of the blue came For King & Country and their 'God Only Knows.' And then the Zach Williams song, 'There Was Jesus.' All three of those just came and I went, 'Well, that must be an answer.'
"I've got three faith-based songs out now, which I feel very good about," she continued. "Whether you believe in God or not, we need to believe in something bigger and better than what's going on because we're not doing too hot. We need to try to do a little better."
Parton might be singing about her faith, but she vows she will never preach about what she believes.
"I'm not trying to tell anybody how to be," said the Grand Ole Opry member. "I just say who I am and how I am. If there's something you see in me that's got a light, then I like to think that's God's light — not my light. In my faith, it bothers me sometimes when I see people worshiping the stars and all that. I'm like, 'Oh Lord, don't ever let me go there.' That's why I want to ship that on up to God.
"I don't need nobody worshiping me," she added. "If I do shine and radiate, I'd like to think that is God's light and I'd like to pass that on. I want to direct people to Him, not me."
Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt