Jelly Roll Says He Still Measures His Success Based More On People Working The Venue Than People In The Music Industry

Jelly Roll
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Man of the people.

It’s hard to call Jelly Roll a secret anymore now that he’s become one of the biggest names in country music. But for years, the Antioch, Tennessee native was a rapper who was selling a few hundred tickets as he tried to make a name for himself in the music world after years spent behind bars.

Obviously his past has been well documented, and Jelly Roll (whose real name is Jason DeFord) has been open about his struggles with addiction, dealing drugs, and legal issues before he was able to turn things around.

But things have definitely changed for Jelly Roll, who has three #1 singles at country radio so far (and a fourth likely on the way with his latest single “Halfway to Hell”), a CMA award for New Artist of the Year, and two Grammy nominations under his belt since the release of his debut album Whitsitt Chapel.

Despite all the accolades he’s racked up though, Jelly Roll says he still measures his success more on the folks who are working the venue than the awards and the music industry bigwigs in the room.

During a recent interview with GQ, the “Save Me” singer talked about his music resonating with blue-collar listeners:

“My barometer is more the people working there: the security, the bartenders.”

And he says that he’s still surprised that people in the industry actually listen to his music:

“It’s like, damn, I didn’t even know y’all were seeing what I was doing.

I knew the cook was seeing it, because he shouts at me every time I go to the steakhouse. I knew the valet parker was.

But was the dude running ASCAP seeing it?”

I think it’s fair to say that at this point, everybody is seeing what he’s doing.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock