Jelly Roll is still being celebrated following an epic night at the 2023 CMT Music Awards, where the genre-bending artist not only performed his current single, “Need A Favor,” but he also took home his very first award at the fan-voted ceremony. Not only that, but he capped off the night by taking home three belt buckles.
The 38-year-old Tennessee native claimed the most awards at the coveted awards ceremony, winning Male Video of the Year, Male Breakthrough Video of the Year, and Digital-First Performance of the Year – all for his chart-topping hit “Son of a Sinner.” The song served as his first-ever single to country radio and later took the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s US Country Airplay Chart and landed in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart.
“You can be whatever you want to be. I promise you that,” Jelly Roll said during one of his acceptance speeches. “I told them I wanted to be a country singer, and I am standing here at the CMT Awards with the male video of the year, baby!”
In another speech, shared on TikTok by his wife, Bunnie XO, he said, “This is for the underdogs, baby! This is for the losers and the have-nots. God takes the impossible and makes it look small. Let’s go, baby!”
Indeed, Jelly Roll’s route to country music stardom is pretty uncommon given that he has spent most of his early life in and out of the juvenile system – a pattern that, for many, takes years to break out of. But Jelly Roll, who began forging his musical path as a rapper collaborating with artists like Lil Wyte and Haystak, found his true identity by blending together various genres. His authenticity and approach to songs, which inspire folks struggling with pain and addiction, have struck a chord with people all over.
And his wife, Bunnie XO, who accompanied Jelly Roll to the CMT Music Awards, has also been moved by her famous husband’s ability to capture hearts and break barriers within the country genre.
Taking to Facebook, the successful Dumb Blonde Podcast host and model expressed her love for Jelly Roll, sharing how proud she is of his accomplishments. In her post, which includes a photo of the pair looking shocked inside the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, before Jelly Roll accepts his award, Bunnie XO also calls her husband “an anomaly.”
“An anomaly: Something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected,” Bunnie XO began her message of praise. “You [are] my sweet other half, are just that. A man that was told ‘no’ every corner he turned only to hit ‘em with that Nashville shuck [and] come out on top every time.”
“I always tell you, you have a horseshoe stuck up your a**, but that isn’t it baby. This is sheer will to spread light, to move mountains, to touch broken souls with your voice, to break generational traumas, and set examples for the future. In short, you are the game changer, Papa. You were sent here to destroy stereotypes and blaze the trail for all the have-nots,” she continued.
Bunnie XO added, “Saying I’m proud of you has to be so redundant after all these years. So tonight, per usual – I stand in awe of you. The pied piper of lost souls, the melancholy maestro… tonight was your night. Hell, if we’re being honest, 2023 has been your YEAR. You filled their hearts with love & brought ‘em to church handsome. Can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Jelly Roll and Bunnie XO’s red carpet appearance was their first at the CMT Music Awards, and they both stepped out dressed to the nines. Bunnie XO looked glam in a black sequin strapless cocktail dress, while Jelly Roll sported a black letterman jacket with a patch promoting his upcoming album, WHITSITT CHAPEL.
Jelly Roll received his first surprise of the evening on the red carpet with the announcement of Jelly Roll’s Digital-First Performance of the Year win.
“What is this? I just won an award? Let’s go! What a way to start the night, baby! Let’s go. This mother’s heavy. Y’all just did that for real? I thought I was doing an interview,” he said. “What a way to start, baby. Cody Allen just told me that I won the award for digital first performance tonight, baby. What a way to start the night. They told me I was coming to walk the carpet.”
Jelly Roll’s debut full length country project, Whitsitt Chapel, arrives on June 2.