She’s one of the most notable country singers and songwriters ever — and Dolly Parton has one thing, in particular, to thank for that achievement. “I try to keep my heart open, even to the point of having to suffer more because I take everything so personal,” the 72-year-old recently admitted to the New York Times. “But that’s why I can write for other people, I try to keep myself where they are.”

Dolly suggested that if she was more closed off, we might not have been blessed with some of her hit songs including “I Will Always Love You” or “Jolene.” But keeping your heart open when creating music for millions of people to hear is easier said than done. “Some people harden their hearts just to get through life,” said Dolly, “and I think if I do that, I won’t be able to write.”

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Luckily for her, Dolly has a trick. “I can relate to everybody about anything,” she said, calling that skill a good thing “because as a songwriter, I have to keep my feelings out on my sleeve.”

Not only does the blonde beauty learn from her own mistakes or past experiences, but she also tries to take away something from people she comes in contact with. “Everybody I talk to, they don’t drain me,” she said of doing interviews and appearances. “I’m learning something about them, which helps me learn something about myself. Everybody has got something really special.”

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Dolly’s drive for sharp and genuine storytelling isn’t the only thing alluring about working with the award-winning star. Linda Perry, who produced and wrote “Girl in the Movies” with Dolly, gushed about her gentle demeanor. “She’s very aware of everyone in the room and what their job title is,” Linda revealed to the NYT of her friend. “She’s very considerate of people’s time, even if it’s someone just coming in and bringing coffee.”

And that’s one thing that sets apart Dolly from other artists. “The old-school mentality Dolly comes from is that you do treat people with respect no matter who they are, even if it’s someone changing your strings or doing your catering,” Linda explained. “You treat them with respect because that’s what true stars do.” Oh Dolly, we will always love you!