Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes give touching musical tribute to Dolly Parton in new Netflix special

Dolly Parton sitting in a crowd / Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes singing for her

Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes performed a heartfelt rendition of “Islands in the Steam” on Netflix’s just-released Dolly Parton tribute special.

Netflix released Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute on Wednesday (7 April), giving fans a chance to relive to 2019 MusiCares Person of the Year concert, which honoured the country music legend. The film also gives a look back at Parton’s life and career, recounting the moments that made her into the household name she is today.

The tribute was hosted by the country band Little Big Town and included star-studded performances by Katy Perry, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, Yolanda Adams and even Saint Dolly herself.

But arguably the most heartwarming performance came from Miley Cyrus and Shawn Mendes with Mark Ronson on the guitar. The trio kicked off the concert with a duet of Dolly and Kenny Loggins’ 1982 classic “Islands in the Stream”. Cyrus even waved to the “9 to 5” singer who was sitting in the crowd.

The country legend and Miley Cyrus have a very close relationship. Parton told Good Morning America in 2009 that she has known Cyrus since she was a baby as her father – Billy Ray Cyrus – is a “close friend”. Parton revealed that she’s technically an “honorary godmother” to the singer-actor, and she has treated Cyrus as if she was her own daughter.

“When she was born, he [Billy Ray Cyrus] said, ‘You just have to be her godmother’, and I said, ‘I accept’,” Parton said. “We never did do a big ceremony, but I’m so proud of her, love her and she’s just like one of my own.”

Dolly Parton: A MusiCares Tribute was taped right before the Grammy Awards in February 2019, when Parton became the first country music artist to receive the Person of the Year honour. Past recipients have included Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Carole King.

The Rolling Stone reported the Dolly Parton event raised more than $6.7 million for MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s organisation that assists musicians and their families with urgent health needs.