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Artists Can Thank Dolly Parton for This $1.6M Studio’s Enhanced COVID-19 Protections

After Nozell’s team was through gutting and reinventing the two-studio Noz  Entertainment in September, Parton took over the next month, recording and filming like crazy: 19 productions in all, including the one-hour Holly Dolly Christmas Special, which aired on CBS in December, a Pandora Live performance around the same time, her “All I Want for Christmas Is You” duet with Jimmy Fallon in which Parton sat by a fake fireplace, the audio for her “5 to 9” Squarespace ad that aired during the Super Bowl, plus additional videos and content for Apple and Amazon.

“Dolly was sitting at home watching herself get oversaturated everywhere,” Nozell says.

JB Rowland/Noz Entertainment

Dolly Parton performing on stage at Noz Entertainment in La Vergne, Tennessee.

Like everybody, Nozell was initially frustrated in early 2020 when his original plans fizzled due to the pandemic: He had already received a $25 million loan to build what he believed to be Nashville’s only “major studio with filming and scoring big enough to put in a 100-person orchestra” on three commercial properties he’d recently purchased. But a week before breaking ground in fateful March 2020, Nozell had to pivot, updating his 10,000-square-foot warehouse with the help of an engineer and contractor.

“We started basically from scratch,” he says.

Why go to all the trouble? “Dolly said she wanted to do a Christmas album,” says Nozell, who has managed the country-music icon for 16 years, in addition to Barry Gibb, Meat Loaf and others. He also saw broader opportunity. After Parton finished her work at the completed studios, Nozell opened the buildings to other artists in a way that, he says, will pay for itself.

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