Pop Culture

A new viral R&B version of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' is such a beautiful mood setter

It's like a completely new, equally good version of the all-time classic.

Representative Image from Canva, Dolly Parton/Youtube

Brb, listening to this 100x on repeat

As Rolling Stone announced that Beyoncé just became the first Black woman artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, let’s keep the celebration of Black women busting through barriers in the genre going, why not?

Singer/songwriter and producer NYA, aka @nya.w0rld on TikTok, has given her followers all kinds of R&B versions of well known songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Avril Lavine. She’s even R&B-ified theme songs from popular television shows like “Friends.”

But it’s her recent R&B ballad of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” that’s so good, people are hoping it finds its way to the Queen of Country herself.

At the start of the clip, NYA asks her viewers if they’re familiar with the 70s hit, leading into “what would it be like if it was an R&B song?”

NYA proceeds to effortlessly glides through a flurry of high and low notes and a percussive beat plays in the background.

Suffice it to say, even in a sea of “Jolene” covers, NYA delivers a completely new version of the song.


@nya.w0rld because not enough of you heard the first vrsn of JOLENE that i did #fypp #throwbacksongs #jolene #dollyparton ♬ original sound - NYA

Over 5 million people have watched the video, and that’s not taking into account the other social media platforms that it's been shared to, and many began plotting how this cover could be shared with Parton.

“Someone put this on a cassette player and send it to Dolly Parton,” one fan said.

Another joked “Does anyone have Dolly’s fax number?” referencing the country icon’s famous preference for old school communication.

Perhaps, besides just being a bona fide banger, what makes NYA’s cover resonate so much with listeners is that we are beginning to have a more mainstream conversation about how country music, despite it being rooted in multiple cultures, has predominantly been catered to a white audience.

Those lines are being rightfully blurred now, as more country songs by non-white artists make it into the spotlight, and through meaningful collaborations, such as the iconic Grammys duet of “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs.

That’s one of the many great things about music, isn’t it? A song means so much more than the story its lyrics tell. It encapsulates a moment in time. And what this “Jolene” cover seems to contain within it is a merging of new and old in a way that’s oh so timely and important.