Add Hitmaker Award to the many accolades bestowed upon Country Music Hall of Fame member and COVID-19 vaccine research funder Dolly Parton. It's one of several awards to be handed out at Billboard's 15th annual Women in Music event.
Parton's just the second winner of the Hitmaker Award, which "recognizes a songwriter whose compositions have impacted the culture in a crucial way." Charli XCX was the inaugural honoree in 2014.
Miley Cyrus presented the award to Parton, her godmother and a longtime family friend.
"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," Cyrus said. "Dolly Parton has influenced music beyond her own genre."
"Dolly 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," Cyrus continued. "When Elvis 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. Slay all day, Dolly."
Parton thanked some of the talented women she's encountered throughout her career.
"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, she's just right up there, probably number one. And of course, Brandi Carlile, there's just so many... 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."
The music industry event debuted on the official Billboard Women in Music site on December 10. As of Dec. 11, it can still be streamed. It was hosted this year by singer-songwriter, director and producer Teyana Taylor.
Other major awards handed out on Dec. 10 include the Woman of the Year, won this year by rapper Cardi B. Reba McEntire took home the inaugural Woman of the Year award in 2007. Taylor Swift's the only two-time winner (2011, 2014). Also, actor and pop star Jennifer Lopez joined an Icon Award winner lineage featuring the likes of Aretha Franklin, Cyndi Lauper, Mary J. Blige and Shania Twain.
Additional country music artists honored on past broadcasts include Lynn (the 2015 Legend Award) Maren Morris (the 2016 Breakthrough Artist Award) and Kelsea Ballerini (the 2015 Rising Star Award).
Per Billboard, #theshowmustbepaused organizers Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas were honored with the 2020 Executive of the Year Award. Dua Lipa won the Powerhouse Award, while sisters Chloe X Halle are your Rising Star Award recipients and Jessie Reyez took home the American Express Impact Award.
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The announcement comes at a busy time for Parton. She's been promoting Netflix's holiday season musical Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square and her first Christmas album in 30 years, A Holly Dolly Christmas. Duet partners on the holiday album range from comedian Jimmy Fallon to crooner Michael Buble.
The country music legend's other new projects include her new book Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics. As its title telegraphs, the book tells the stories behind some of the biggest songs from Parton's multi-Grammy award-winning career.
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