Jelly Roll has had A Week. On Wednesday, he opened and closed the CMA Awards with a pair of performances and won his first-ever CMA for New Artist of the Year (and promptly shattered it). Two days later, he woke up a Grammy nominee.
The Tennessee rapper-turned-country-star is nominated in the all-genre category of Best New Artist, alongside names like Ice Spice and Noah Kahan, and scored a Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Save Me,” his collab with nominee Lainey Wilson. It was all too much to process for the burly Jelly: In a straight-to-camera video posted on Instagram, the man born Jason DeFord openly wept.
“I’m not sure if I should post this or not because I’m so emotional, but the greatest honor an artist can ever hear is that they’ve been nominated for a Grammy,” he said through a face full of tears. “I got to hear that this morning.”
Jelly Roll said he tried to record the video seven times but couldn’t get through it because of the rush of emotion. “I haven’t cried like this since my daddy died,” he said. “I love you all, man, so fucking much.”
While not in tears, he was nonetheless overcome while accepting the CMA for New Artist of the Year during Wednesday’s show, turning his inspiring speech into a pulpit sermon. “Nashville!” he shouted into the arena seats before professing his fandom for fellow nominee Zach Bryan and acknowledging his late-in-life success. “Most importantly, there is something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning New Artist of the Year. Keep going, baby! Success is on the other side of it.”
A longtime mixtape hustler and rapper, the face-inked Jelly Roll has seamlessly transitioned into both a country and rock singer. His sometimes shaky singing style has endeared him to fans and artists, making him a go-to collaborator. Right now, he has collabs with Cody Johnson (“Whiskey Bent”), Jessie Murph (“Wild Ones”), Riley Green (“Copenhagen in a Cadillac”), and Dustin Lynch (“Chevrolet”), and shared the stage with Wilson, Murph, and Eric Church in recent weeks. At the CMAs, he added Wynonna Judd, who nervously joined him onstage for “Need a Favor,” to that list.
Music Country – Rolling Stone