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'Son Of A Sinner' Star Jelly Roll Could Be Your Next Unexpected Country Favourite

25 November 2022 | 2:55 pm | Mallory Arbour

From his career history in hip-hop, Jelly Roll's 180 into country music has been a perfect fit for the Nashville born-and-bred singer-songwriter.

Jelly Roll

Jelly Roll (Image: Supplied)

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Country music has become something of a hip, new thing with various artists dipping their toes into the genre, while others, like Jelly Roll, have found a place where they belong.

Speaking with Audacy’s Katie Neal, Jelly Roll said he’s never felt more “welcomed” than he does in country music. He even made his Grand Ole Opry debut back in November 2021.

“I’m loving it,” he told Neal. “I’ve never felt more welcomed anywhere. I was born and raised in Nashville, so [country music] is always second nature to me. It’s incredible.”

Born and raised Jason DeFord in Nashville’s Antioch neighbourhood, it was rap and hip-hop that called to him as a child growing up. His deeply personal lyrics and music blends old-school rap, classic rock, country and soul that is therapeutic, raw and tackles the heaviness in life.

Since 2010, the genre-bending singer-songwriter has released an impressive number of albums, EPs and projects and seen him collaborate with the likes of Lil Wyte, Struggle Jennings, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne and Ryan Upchurch, among others. It’s through these collaborations and his musical history that makes Jelly Roll such an interesting artist to watch.

2020 saw a paradigm shift (which is a word he uses frequently with good reason) in Jelly Roll’s career. He credits the release of Save Me from his Self Medicated album as the point in his career where he started to actually sing and 2021’s Ballads of the Broken album saw his current single Son of a Sinner hit the hard rock and alternative songs chart and was most added song on country radio at its debut at the same time.

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Written by Jelly Roll, Ernest Keith Smith and David Ray Stevens, Son of a Sinner peaked at #9 on the Billboard Country Music Chart, claimed the #1 position on Billboards Emerging Artists chart and has over 29 million on-demand streams. It also currently sits at #18 on the Countrytown Hot 50 Country Airplay Chart after only eight weeks.

“To me, it’s about the ultimate duality of life,” he told Neal about the single. “It’s something I learned from my father. He had this beautiful ability to work really, really hard, yet go out and party really hard. [My father] booked bets on the side when times got tough, but he would go to church on every Sunday religiously, and he led the homeless program at his church. He, to me, was the ultimate sign of duality. I think I’ve just always aspired to me like that.”

In an interview earlier this year on The Bobby Bones Show, when asked if he would consider himself a hip-hop artist, Jelly Roll replied, “I consider myself a singer-songwriter. [I] just make real music for real people. I call it therapeutic music. Some music is meant to be heard and some music is meant to be felt. And I hyper focus on making music that people can feel.”

He also dropped the news that a full country album is in the works – and if his appearance on Brantley Gilbert's Son of the Dirty South single is anything to go by – we can’t wait to hear more!


Keep up to date with Jelly Roll on his Facebook page here.