Jelly Roll Compares Nashville’s Music Row To A Build-A-Bear Workshop

“Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of Build-A-Bears here,” Jelly Roll said.


Melinda Lorge


Posted on February 25, 2023

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Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy of Big D & Bubba Show/YouTube

Jelly Roll and Build-A-Bear are not two words usually associated with one another. But, when it comes to the country music genre, the former rapper turned country hitmaker couldn’t help but use the teddy bear retailer as a metaphor to describe how the country music industry manufactures its artists.

In a recent interview on the Big D & Bubba show, Jelly Roll, 38, who has built his career from the ground up following over a decade of being trapped in the judicial system, discussed his feelings about the ever-revolving-door process of taking an unnamed artist, handing them an image and selling that image to the public. He explained why he believes the money-making strategy of scriptwriting an artist for a show is not helping the future of country music.

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“You know there are a lot of guys in Nashville that were part of the Build-A-Bear program,” Jelly Roll began. “You know, a label comes in, finds a bear, puts pants on the bear, gives bear microphone, gives bear guitar, hands bear song, gives bear voice lessons, puts bear on stage, gives bear Country radio single. Let’s be honest. There’s a lot of Build-A-Bears here.”


@officialjellyroll explains the “Build a Bear” project… #countrymusic #jellyroll #funny #615 #radio

♬ original sound – bigdandbubba

And while Jelly Roll’s message took a seemingly opposing side to the formula that has been used to build artists for years, he acknowledges that some of the build-a-bear stars “turned out to be great guys, some of ‘em. Some of them deserved it,” before adding. “Some of ‘em not so much.”

On the other hand, Jelly Roll did mention that he has noticed a recent change within the country music format, where talented musicians and singer/songwriters are stepping up by showcasing a more authentic side of themselves.

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

An out-of-the-box musician, Jelly Roll is a proud proponent of many artists, breaking the current mold of country music. He has shown his support for major artists like Morgan Wallen, HARDY, and ERNEST and even championed up-and-comers like Alexandra Kay, revealing that he thinks they will be able to change the complexion of the genre.

“What’s happening right now on Music Row is people actually give a f**k. Like there’s an authenticity finally happening in Country music. Listen, I’ve said this and been very clear. Music Row has always been like Build-A-Bear,” Jelly Roll reiterated in a conversation with Bussin’ With The Boys. “They, literally, just go and find a guy, a lady to style him up, put him in clothes, they hand him a cowboy hat, ERNEST gives them a hit record, they hand them a fing Gibson guitar. Then they set them on stage, and then some dude, you don’t know that has 80 streams is opening up for an amphitheater act as direct support and boring your lights out for 45 minutes, singing songs you don’t fing know. It’s like he was the Build-A-Bear… It was a completely-manufactured thing.”

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Jelly Roll, who has charted two No. 1 hits with “Dead Man Walking” and “Son Of A Sinner” and recently made history, spending a record-breaking 25 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s all-genre Emerging Artists chart, announced his return to the road following a brief touring hiatus.

His North American Backroad Baptism Tour begins on Friday, (July 28) at Bank Plus Amphitheater in Southaven, making stops across the U.S. in Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and more before wrapping up in Tampa at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on Saturday, (October 14). Jelly Roll is bringing with him a whole host of supporting artists for his tour. They include Ashley McBryde, Caitlynne Curtis, Chase Rice, Elle King, Merkules, Struggle Jennings, Three 6 Mafia, Yelawolf, and Josh Adam Meyers.

Aside from his headlining trek, in September, Jelly Roll will also serve as direct support for Eric Church as part of his Outsiders Revival Tour. Jelly Roll is also in the midst of completing a full-length album. His most recent releases to be featured on the upcoming project are “she” and “NEED A FAVOR.”

Tickets for the Backroad Baptism Tour go on sale today (Feb. 24) at 10:00 a.m. local time on For a full listing of tour dates, visit Jelly Roll’s website, here.

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