Coming from one of America’s most creative families since the Hemingways, Stella Parton has blazed her own unique pathway to success. From the foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains she emerged from extreme poverty and disenfranchisement to see her dreams of performing on the Grand Ole Opry come true and to become an international award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, author, and producer.
Stella recently relived those humble beginnings while filming NBC’s made-for-tv movie Coat of Many Colors. At the request of her sister, Stella served as a consultant on the film and landed the role of “Corla Bass.” The film is based on her sister Dolly Parton’s well-known song “Coat of Many Colors.” Stella's first foray into acting was on the hit TV series The Dukes of Hazzard where she starred as Officer Price alongside John Schneider, Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach. She was the first country artist to guest star on the show in a character role and since that time she has shared the screen with numerous notables including Louis Gossett Jr. and Gena Rowlands.
Musically Stella most recently released "Last Train to Memphis", an album of Rockabilly covers which coincided with a sold out 4-week Scandinavian tour alongside Billy Burnette of Fleetwood Mac fame. Earlier in the year saw the release of Buried Treasures, a compilation of never before heard songs that were pulled from Stella’s archive of masters and converted to digital from 2-inch tapes. Stella wrote all of the songs with the exception of co-writes with Songwriter Hall of Fame writers, Paul Overstreet and Frank Dycus, as well as her brothers, Randy Parton and CMA award-winning writer, Floyd Parton.
Also an author, Stella released her self-published inspirational memoir "Tell It Sister, Tell It". She opens her soul with her trademark straight to the heart candor and writes about everything from miracles and childhood stories to spine-chilling and terrifying real-life nightmares. As an acclaimed motivational speaker, Stella utilizes this book/audiobook to not only share hope and inspiration but to also help raise awareness in the fight against domestic violence. Also, currently on bookshelves, is her third published cookbook, State Fairs & Church Bazaars, which is filled with blue-ribbon winning recipes, church favorites and family specialties and spotlights the savory flavors of true Southern delicacies like cracklin’ bread, fried chicken, sausage jambalaya, fried green tomatoes and milk gravy as well as scrumptious dishes like roast rib beef au jus, stuffed squash and lasagna.
Domestic Violence has long been a cause close to Stella’s heart, having suffered from it herself. She established the Red Tent Women's Conference, a 3-day women’s conference and concert. The launch was a huge success and the organization is currently exploring options and sponsors to host the event in different cities across the United States, Europe and Australia.
Stella’s entertainment career is filled with awards and accolades including being named the Christian Country Music Association’s Female Vocalist and Mainstream Country Artist of the Year, the Alabama Country Music Hall of Fame’s Entertainer of the Year, Most Promising International Act by the CMA/GB, Honorary Ambassador of Country Music in Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New Zealand, not to mention being inducted into the American Country Music Hall of Fame.
Stella was one of the very first “Indie” artists, before the phrase was coined. At the tender age of 24, she wrote, produced, recorded and secured the promotion/distribution for her very first album, “I Want To Hold You (In My Dreams Tonight).” Releasing it on her own label, the album and title single became huge hits on the country charts - at a time when the industry was controlled by the major labels and very much a good ole boy system. Stella took Nashville by storm - topping the charts and inciting fear in many that a young single mother from East Tennessee could so quickly become a threat, in spite of the fact that her older sister Dolly was already a nationally known singer/songwriter. And with that maverick spirit she continued to move forward.
After her first hit record, Stella signed with Elektra records and had a string of top 20 Billboard singles and albums in conjunction with extensive international touring of the U.S., Canada, UK, South America & Australia. She garnered international awards and acclaim for the pop crossovers such as “Danger of a Stranger,” “Steady as the Rain,” “Undercover Lovers” and “Four Little Letters.” Stella's ability to design all of her own costumes in a much more contemporary European fashion and her high energy stage persona set her apart, leading to her being dubbed country music's Tina Turner.
During this period, she performed alongside a who's who of artists and entertainers including, but not limited to, Chet Atkins, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, Joan Rivers, Johnny Cash, Reba McEntire, The Judds, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Kenny Rogers.
After her days with Elektra, she submerged herself into the thriving theater scene of New York City, starring in several major Broadway touring productions, including The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Gentleman Prefer Blondes and Pump Boys & Dinettes. The productions were an incredible success, with Stella receiving phenomenal reviews.
Her first cookbook, Really Cookin’, Vol. 1, was a fundraiser for the Nashville homeless situation and partnering with Ingles grocery stores, she embarked on a huge promotional tour. The book was so tremendously successful that it spawned a HSN (Home Shopping Network) partnership and a line of all natural food products.
In the 1990's, Stella launched Raptor Records to exclusively represent her in partnership with Attic Entertainment. Managing the release of her “Hits Collection” & vintage video series, in addition to her “Blue Heart,” “Appalachian Blues,” “Appalachian Gospel,” “Testimony,” “Tell it Sister, Tell It,” “Resurrection,” “Buried Treasures” and “Last Train to Memphis” albums.
Stella’s career is like a kaleidoscope of creative talent – beautiful, inspiring, heart-warming and full of color – encompassing everything from music and writing to acting. Thankfully, she has never been one to be held back by the proverbial “glass ceiling,” or any other creative boundaries, Stella’s pure and characteristic blend of country, bluegrass, gospel, jazz and blues mixed with her sincere and faithful heart makes her one of America’s richest musical treasures!