Chris Young Applauds Jelly Roll For Turning His Struggles Into Success

“He is not your normal success story,” Young shared of Jelly Roll.

By

Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on February 20, 2023

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Chris Young, Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy of John Shearer/Getty Images

Jelly Roll has a definite friend and fan in fellow country artist Chris Young. The “Famous Friends” crooner, 37, recently shared his appreciation and respect for the “Son of a Sinner” singer, calling him both “welcoming” and “awesome.”

“I just want to talk about him and how welcoming and awesome and polite and nice that guy is,” Young gushed during a round-robin with Music Mayhem and other media outlets. “And he’s just having such a cool run right now.”

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Young also reflected on Jelly Roll’s talent early on in his career and complimented the Nashville native on his effortless ability to be able to reach and captivate audiences who listen to music outside of the country genre.

“I remember talking about this music he’s putting out. I think well over a year ago on some of it. And it’s just amazing to see him having the moment he’s having. I think he is kind of that person where he’s like, ‘Hey, I can do multiple genres. I can kind of hop back and forth [and] I just want to create.’ And I think not everybody can do that,” Young said. “It’s really, really cool. He’s just worked hard for a really long time, and obviously, he talks about – he’s had struggles in his life, had things he’s been through.”

While Jelly Roll has been in the spotlight for years, his upbringing has been a striking contrast from the glitz and glamour that fans tend to associate celebrities with. The 38-year-old musician, who is now happily married to Bunnie XO DeFord, grew up in a middle-lower class community. He wound up spending nearly a decade in and out of the jail system. It wasn’t until he found out he had a child on the way that his mindset changed. Promising himself he would do everything in his power to stay out of jail, he turned to music, often selling mixtapes from the trunk of his car in his hometown suburb of Antioch, Tennessee.

Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy of John Shearer/Getty Images
Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy of John Shearer/Getty Images

These days, Jelly Roll is on the upswing and an inspiration to folks, especially those who share a similar backstory to his. The rapper and country singer, who has charted two No. 1 hits with “Dead Man Walking” and “Son Of A Sinner” and recently made history spending a record-breaking 25th week at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre Emerging Artists chart, gives back anytime he can.

In fact, in late 2020, he performed his first-ever sold-out show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where he donated the money from ticket sales to the Impact Youth Outreach organization, to build music programs and a recording studio in the same juvenile center he was incarcerated in.

With such a big heart and a welcoming attitude, other artists have taken notice of Jelly Roll personality and have even become inspired themselves.

“He is not your normal success story, he’s just himself, and he’s welcoming to everyone else. That’s why you see me and Sam Hunt and everybody else getting up at his show and getting to play with him,” Young said. “It was a really cool moment seeing him in Bridgestone. It was really, really cool. And I was originally supposed to do that before Covid with him when he was going to play the Ryman.”

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Chris Young Was One Of Many Guests At Jelly Roll’s Nashville Concert

Young was amongst several guest artists during Jelly Roll’s hometown show. ERNEST, Riley Green, and others were also on the bill at Bridgestone Arena. And when asked if he’d ever collaborate with Jelly Roll on a song in the future, Young doesn’t hesitate to answer.

“Oh, absolutely. I think you may see something from both of us at some point. I think he’s just a great dude,” Young said. “And you know what, I always say this about collaborations. It’s got to be the right song [and] It’s got to be the song where I’m like, that’s it, that works one plus one equals eight. It’s that kind of thing. But yeah, I absolutely could see something like that happening in the future.”

Chris Young; Photo Courtesy of Jeff Johnson
Chris Young; Photo Provided

Additionally, Chris Young is currently in the process of finalizing his next album. His latest singles include two new songs – “Looking For You,” and “All Dogs Go To Heaven.” Jelly Roll, meanwhile, is enjoying the steady rise of his current single, “NEED A FAVOR,” on multiple charts. He, too, is working on a brand-new album, which will feature his current single and recently released “She.” Jelly Roll is also currently collaborating with Brantley Gilbert on a full-length project.

Later this year, Jelly Roll will embark on his massive headlining arena trek, dubbed the Backroad Baptism Tour. The tour kicks off on Friday, July 28 at Bank Plus Amphitheater in Southhaven, Mississippi and runs through Saturday, October 14.

Hosted by Josh Adam Meyers, the Backroad Baptism Tour will wrap up in Tampa, Florida at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre and features support from Ashley McBryde, Caitlynne Curtis, Chase Rice, Elle King, Merkules, Struggle Jennings, Three 6 Mafia, and Yelawolf.

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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