December 6, 2023

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Inside Jelly Roll’s Intimate Q&A at Billboard Country Live: 9 Biggest Revelations

7 min read
Inside Jelly Roll’s Intimate Q&A at Billboard Country Live: 9 Biggest Revelations

On Wednesday (June 7), Billboard hosted a series of intimate conversations and panels with country legends like Garth Brooks and rising stars like Jelly Roll. Titled Billboard Country Live in Conversation, the one-day ticketed conference for fans and industry insiders took over Marathon Music Works in Nashville.

Jelly Roll closed out the eventful day, during which he discussed his first Billboard cover and honor as the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, which he received the night prior (June 6) at Billboard‘s 2023 Country Power Players celebration.

During his Q&A with Billboard executive editor Melinda Newman, the hitmaker went deep on fatherhood, the juvenile justice system and the similarities — and differences — he sees in rap (where he got his start) and country (where he has since taken off). Yet, he made sure to note that his influences extend far beyond either genre, citing songs like Bette Midler’s “The Rose” (“instant snot buckets,” he says) or James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” among other hits by Bob Seger and Kid Rock, that have deeply affected him.

His love of music, he says, “started with my mother and how much music affected her with her mental health and drug addiction… When nobody was there for me, music was. … I love songs that grow with you.”

He later suggested what a difference it would have made if he had been able to make music while incarcerated, saying, “Imagine having a platform to find my talent and love earlier? You have gasoline poured on a small flame… It’s another form of connection.”

He later summarized his current place in life by saying: “10 years before this, I was f—ed, 10 years later I may still be, but in this window, I am cool cruising, baby.”

Below are the biggest revelations from his conversation.

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