Jelly Roll shared the New Artist of the Year category with Zach Bryan, Parker McCollum, Megan Moroney and Hailey Whitters.
“I got a thousand people to thank,” Jelly Roll said, thanking his record label, Stoney Creek Records, and country radio. “But most importantly, my Lord and my wife [Bunnie]. I love you so much. You changed my life, baby. Megan, Parker. Hailey, I love all of you all. We’re friends. Zach Bryan, I think you are one of the hottest things on earth, not just country music. You deserve this as much as anybody else. I love you. I’m glad we’re sitting here partying the rest of the night.”
Jelly Roll also used his time on stage to reflect on his troubled past, including time in and out of prison, both as a juvenile and adult, before he made the decision to turn his life around.
“But most importantly, there is something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning New Artist of the Year,” Jelly Roll said. “I don’t know where you’re at in your life or what you’re going through, but I want to tell you to keep going, I want to tell you, success is on the other side. I wanna tell you it’s gonna be okay. I want to tell you that the windshield is better than the rearview mirror, because what’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you.”
Jelly Roll couldn’t believe he had received a total of five CMA Awards nominations, which already made him feel like a winner, even before the ceremony began.
“It is known as Country Music’s biggest night,” Jelly Roll said when the nominees were announced. “It literally doesn’t get any bigger than this and I have five nominations. I couldn’t control myself when I got the news… everything about this is unreal. The truth is, being nominated is already a win for me. Just being recognized by my peers and by the industry for the work we put in is amazing, especially for my people, this is a win for all the underdogs and forgotten.
“These are the moments I hope my people are the most proud of, that I have taken our message to the masses without compromise and have been embraced,” he continued. “Thank you to the CMA Country Music Association. This is magical and you can bet the farm that my wife and I will show up dressed to impress yet trashy as ever – see y’all November 8th.”
Find all of Jelly Roll’s music and upcoming shows at JellyRoll615.com.