Jelly Roll is a rapper, a rocker and a genuine local kid all rolled into one and his passion of music spans musical genres. If you’re familiar with his story, you know that he is larger than life. However, if you aren’t acquainted with him yet, let me enlighten you. During the release of his album “Whitsitt Chapel,” he reached out to us through the radio, and through that connection, we’ve learned seven remarkable things about him.
His stage name, Jelly Roll, was given to him by his mom.
Jelly Roll’s mother bestowed upon him the nickname when he was young, and it stuck. His given name is Jason DeFord, but if you try calling him by that, he probably won’t recognize that you’re referring to him.
In addition, the name “Jelly Roll” sets him apart in a unique group: artists and bands named after food (think Red Hot Chili Peppers, Meat Loaf, Corn…).
Brent Smith of Shinedown served as his inspiration to learn how to sing.
He explained, “Before starting on the Shinedown tour, I was aware that I would have to perform for 45 minutes every night, and I thought I was in front of the best frontmen in rock, Brent Smith. So, I took a vocal warm-up from Jack—a shot, a bang hit, and some less potato chips! Therefore, I embarked on vocal lessons as if it were my first time.”
Singing His Biggest Hits Is a Challenging Task
During the acceptance speech, Jelly Roll stated, “I never explained it in an interview because I’m modest, but singing ‘Son of a Sinner’ and ‘Save Me’ was so challenging for me… So (a year later) I had to learn how to sing ‘Save Me’ correctly, as the muscle memory was ‘as high as you can sing, sing.’ But at that time, I was going outside for a smoke… I had to learn how to sing my own songs again, the right way.”
Meeting Garth Brooks Filled Him with Excitement and Led to an Unexpected Lift
He laughed at “I didn’t understand that I had elevated him (Brent Smith) with me until the clip became viral. I was very excited, and there was this big kid inside me, Garth Brooks!… And then I go on TikTok and, like my wife, say, ‘Garth Brooks, you have a video with 4 million views,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh no!'”
‘Nobody Cries Alone’ Policy: Offering Support and Empathy to All
His connection with his fans is deep and entirely genuine. “There’s nothing more important than the relationship between an artist and their craft… They should never hear good or bad news from someone else but me.”
He added, “I’m inherently empathetic. I don’t just listen to you; I feel you.”
Madison Square Garden: The Ultimate Dream Venue
He has performed at grand venues like the Opry and Red Rocks, but topping the bucket list is the venue at Madison Square Garden for Jelly Roll’s music.
The Cast is Set: The Movie on His Life is Already Cast
Who would portray him and his wife Bonnie in a feature film? “Absolutely, Jonah Hill would have to be Jelly Roll… In real life, he’s a lively, happy-go-lucky friend, and he can also handle serious stuff… And no one can portray Bonnie other than Margot Robbie. Who fits better?!”