Lil Nas X has delivered a stellar BBC Radio One Live Lounge session. Whilst he performed takes from his new album, the standout moment from the show was undoubtedly his cover of Dolly Parton‘s iconic track ‘Jolene’. Parton’s best-known song was originally released in 1974 as part of her thirteenth outing Jolene.
Explaining the reasons behind his decision to cover ‘Jolene’, Nas X said: “I chose this because I feel like this song is kind of beautifully sad. I like the little country twang, so I was like ‘let me try this out’.” Alongside the triumphant cover, he also performed three tracks from his hit debut LP, Montero. He opened his set with the title track, before launching into the surprise cover. Nas X then delivered ‘Dead Right Now’ and the latest single, ‘That’s What I Want’.
After the performance, Nas X discussed his “newfound” status as a role model. He explained: “It feels great but I take everything with a grain of salt. Still, I’m just thankful these people see me as an inspiration but I try not to live my life by that.”
The performance comes as part of a huge year for the rapper, as earlier this month, he was named the Suicide Prevention Advocate Of The Year by charity The Trevor Project as a result of his extensive and necessary work within the LGBTQ+ community.
The Trevor Project provides critical crisis support to those in need in the LGBTQ+ community. They said that Lil Nas X’s “vulnerability in his journey to self-acceptance and expression has created space for candid conversations around mental health and sexual identity, signalling to LGBTQ youth that they are not alone.”
When accepting the esteemed award, the rapper told the crowd: “Discrimination around sexuality and gender identity is still very real, and our community deserves to feel supported and totally free to be themselves.”
He hasn’t stopped there, either. Last week, Lil Nas X followed up on the release of the album by dropping the brilliant yet emotional video for ‘That’s What I Want’.
Watch his cover of ‘Jolene’ below.