Grammy Award winner and daytime television host Kelly Clarkson has teamed up with the queen of country music, Dolly Parton, to remake her classic hit “9 to 5.” The duet, produced by Shane McAnally, will be featured in a new documentary that is set to premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March.
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) January 26, 2022
The highly anticipated film titled, “Still Working 9 To 5” will feature exclusive interviews with the “Jolene” singer, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. The documentary screening dates were announced to the public on Wednesday morning (Jan. 2). Yet, co-director/ producer Gary Lane told Variety that he was eager to share the news about the star-studded duet as well.
“We could do a documentary just on the making of the duet,” Lane shared with the publication. “It almost feels like launching two projects in one.”
While recording the duet, Clarkson and Dolly took a new approach by reducing the original optimistic and high-energy melody.
“Dolly’s original version was very upbeat. There was a lot of hope I would say in the song,” shared Camille Hardman, the co-director/ producer. “And this version is just a little bit melancholic,” she confirmed.
Lane chimed in to mention that the legend actually called it the “‘9-5: The Slow Version” before explaining that the duet is now more “haunting” and how Clarkson’s take on the track is “mind-blowing.”
According to the Variety interview, the original plan of action was to have Parton record a new song exclusively for the documentary. However, it was McAnally’s idea to put a savvy twist on the old-school classic, which quickly became a pop-culture staple.
The critically acclaimed producer whipped up a demo and immediately got it in front of Dolly for approval. It wasn’t long until the award-winning artist and Clarkson were laying down their separate tracks in the studio and filming a music video together.
The thought-provoking ballad reflects the core theme of the documentary, as it delivers the powerful message that workplace inequality and gender discrimination is still prevalent today.
“Women are still trying to get equality, and it hasn’t happened yet, 42 years after this song was created,” says Hardman. She continued to confess that it was a “difficult film to make” since the team was trying to avoid making a “hardcore feminist film.”
The creatives behind the forthcoming picture used “humor” to help tell the touching story. “We wanted to make sure we had a sense of humor in our film, so it was entertaining as well as being educational because we’re catering to many different audiences,” Hardman clarified.
As of right now, the duet will only be for the ears of South by Southwest Film Festival ticket-holders. McAnally Smack Songs and Monument Records is expected to roll out the single to the public come May of 2022. For more information on the four screenings, head to the “Still working 9 to 5” Facebook page here.