Jelly Roll Talks Transformation: ‘I Hated People Forever’

To say that Jelly Roll is a new man is an understatement. The 39-year-old went from a life of crime and addiction to winning awards, receiving his first-ever Grammy Awards nominations, and having hit singles at radio.

“It’s been one of the greatest stories ever told,” Jelly Roll tells CMT. “An almost 40-year-old man won New Artist of the Year, after releasing 300 songs in his career.”

Talent aside, Jelly Roll knows his acceptance, from the music industry, his peers and his fans, is largely because of his ability to love others, a total transformation from where he used to be.

“I hated people forever,” Jelly Roll admits. “I hated life. I blamed everybody but myself. I’m in an era where I just want to love people and be loved and it feels … great. God is just getting started with me. That’s for sure.”

It’s music that has become Jelly Roll’s solace, and his way of coping with his intense past, including time in and out of prison, and his own mental health struggles.

“I was acting kind of weird at the house one time, and (my wife) said, ‘You know, [you] ain’t wrote a song in three months,'” Jelly Roll remembers.  “I think what helps me with my mental health, and it helps me be so joyous, one coming from where I came from, which was the opposite of something. And two, just understanding the therapy that is involved with not only songwriting, but just music in itself and the true power that music holds.

“I’m here to connect,” he adds. “I’m not here to entertain. That’s what I think music does. Before, I was as articulate as I am now, which I’m proud of myself; I could only speak in the form of a song. Even sometimes, like Jim Croce, I have to tell my wife I love her in a song.”

In every way, Jelly Roll is a much different man than he used to be, including his health. The Nashville native reveals he has already lost 40 to 50 pounds, with plans to lose much, much more.

“Weight is normally directly related to mental health, so I’m trying to get that under control and the rest is following that,”Jelly Roll tells Fox News Digital, adding that he is motivated to feel the best he can.

“I don’t even have a goal when it comes to health,” he says. “I just want to keep doing the right thing and feeling better. I’m starting to find a will to live and I wanna lean into that, that’s it. I just want to be happier.”

Find all of Jelly Roll’s music and upcoming shows at

Read ‘Jelly Roll: 11 Things to Know About the Reformed Singer’ here.