Get the Kleenex out…
Former rapper turned rising country music star, Jelly Roll, was a guest on Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience podcast last week, and the 2-hour conversation was a great episode overall.
Talking everything from music, to standup comedy, the episode dives a little bit into Jelly Roll’s incarceration when he was just a teenager and the moment everything changed for him, he talks about his mother’s battle with mental health, the two dig on Colter Wall and a number of other musicians, and way more.
And while Jelly Roll always brings an endearing and captivating amount of honesty and vulnerability to his conversations (one of the reasons he’s so damn likeable), he got Joe in tears too when he showed a clip from American Idol contestant Iam Tongi.
Iam Tongi made a lasting impression on the panel of American Idol judges during his audition earlier this year.
The Hawaiian high school student walked into the room and shared the heartbreaking news that he lost his father, Rodney, only a few months ago. As he speaks to the judges, you can see his heart ripping open with emotion and the love he shared for his father.
“For all my life, my dad told me that singing is the only thing that was meant for me. The main reason I do music is because of my dad.
That is how we bonded, but since he’s passed away, things have been hard.”
He goes on to share that he can still hear him harmonizing with him on every song and you can already tell, this one is gonna be a punch to the gut. Iam starts the intro for the song “Monsters” by James Blunt, which he dedicates to his father.
As he sings:
“I’m not your son, you’re not my father
We’re just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you’re sleeping I’ll try to make you proud
So, daddy, won’t you just close your eyes?
Don’t be afraid, it’s my turn
To chase the monsters away…”
The judges start to tear up, and the camera pans to Luke Bryan dabbing his eyes with a tissue, Lionel Richie is losing it as well. The weight of the emotion that Iam conveys through the song is palpable, even through a screen, so you can only imagine how the people in the room felt.
After the tune, there is not a dry eye in the house.
Luke says to him:
“I cannot handle your heartbreaking about your dad… just seeing you missing your dad just sucks. And, gosh, man, you’ve got a great voice. You’ve got a great voice, and everything was just perfect.”
Of course, Luke lost his own brother, his own sister, and his sister’s husband, so he’s no stranger to the kind of heartache Iam is feeling right now.
Back to Joe and Jelly…
As Joe and Jelly Roll are watching this performance, they are both overcome with emotion, needing to wipe the tears out of their eyes.
“Choked up the whole time… I’m sorry I did that to us, man.”
To which, Joe replies:
“Holy sh*t is he good… that’s crazy. That’s authentic, you just can’t fake that.”
The power of music, man… gotta love it.
The American Idol finale is tonight at 8PM ET on ABC, where Iam Tongi will battle with Colin Stough and Megan Danielle to be crowned the next American Idol.
Here’s the full audition:
Joe Rogan Praises Colter Wall Once More During Podcast With Jelly Roll
I think I speak for every Colter Wall fan when I say that we were all in awe the first time we heard his voice, and then also learned how young he is.
I mean c’mon, whenever you heard some of his early stuff like “Caroline,” “Kate McCannon,” and “Sleeping on the Blacktop,” there was no way you were thinking he was 21-years-old when he first recorded those songs off the bat.
However, there may not be anybody who is more shook about this fact, than Joe Rogan himself.
We’ve seen him play “Kate McCannon” for his podcast guests several times, and he almost appears to go into a trance every time he puts it on.
He shared his love for Colter’s western sound with Luke Combs, comedian Akaash Singh, and more. Needless to say, the man loved Canadian cowboy, and has even tried to get him on the podcast… to no avail.
So, when Jelly Roll made an appearance on his podcast, you already know he had to get the “Kate McCannon” cranking.
In the podcast, you can hear Rogan tell Jelly Roll:
“That f*cking guy (Colter Wall), is so oddly talented. The fact that he was 21 when he wrote that song, play that f*cking song. The fact that this cat is 21-years-old and he’s got this kind of, how many lives did you live before this one?”
As they listen to it, Jelly Roll says:
“It’s Johnny Cash vibes. It’s Johnny Cash western.”
And Rogan said:
“It’s like he absorbed it all. He doesn’t do podcasts but I’d love to sit down with that dude and go ‘Where’d you get all that? Where’s all that coming from? Were you just a freak for that old sh*t and absorbed it all?
Did you listen to every Waylon Jennings record that’s ever been made? Did you listen to Merle Haggard from the time you were two? Where the f*ck are you getting this?”
At all starts around the three minute mark in the clip below:
Jelly Roll Scores His First Career #1 At Country Radio
From prison to the top of the charts.
If you’re not familiar with Jelly Roll, he’s got one hell of a personal comeback story.
Jelly Roll, whose real name is Jason DeFord, spent much of his early life in Nashville in and out of the prison system. He first entered the juvenile system at the age of 14, he spent his late teens and early 20s going in and out of jail on charges like aggravated robbery and drug possession with intent to deliver.
The rapper-turned-country star made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 2021, and has talked extensively about his time spent in the criminal justice system.
It’s a story that he doesn’t run from. Hell, he even describes himself as a “reformed drug dealer” in his Twitter bio. And it’s a story that makes his meteoric rise recently all the more inspiring.
He recently played a sold-out hometown show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, and donated all of the proceeds to a foundation to help build music programs in juvenile facilities – including the one he was locked up in.
And now he’s reached another milestone in his comeback: Jelly Roll officially has his first #1 single at country radio.
“Son Of A Sinner,” a deeply personal song written by Jelly Roll along with Ernest and David Ray Stevens, details Jelly’s life on the road, his personal fight with drug addiction and his struggle between right and wrong.
“I’m just a long-haired son of a sinner
Searching for new ways I can get gone
I’m a pedal to the highway
If you ever wonder why we write these songs
‘Cause I’m only one drink away from the devil
I’m only one call away from home
Yeah, I’m somewhere in the middle
I guess I’m just a little right and wrong”
And now it’s the number one song in the country, reaching the top of the Billboard country charts and giving Jelly his first #1 single at country radio.
Talk about going from the bottom to the top – literally.