What Is Jelly Roll’s Real Name? Plus, Felony Past Revealed & Why He Went to Prison

Jelly Roll is one of the most popular rising stars in country music at the moment and he’s about to have a big night at the 2023 CMA Awards.

The 38-year-old singer is nominated for New Artist of the Year and he’s already arrived on the red carpet alongside his wife Bunnie XO.

If you want to know more about Jelly Roll, his real name, and his past, we have you covered.

Keep reading to find out more…

Jelly Roll was born Jason Bradley DeFord in the Antioch neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee.

In a Facebook post back in 2014, he explained the meaning behind his stage name.

“My name is something that has always held me back in my career to a degree. To people who have no clue who I am the name seems like a joke or some sort of a gimmick. My mother started calling me JellyRoll at an early age. Then later in my early teen years my buddy One Arm Clay started calling me JellyRoll– it stuck,” he said.

He continued, “I’m from a place where nick names are given to you, not what you decided to call yourself because it sounded cool. Some of the greatest street legends from Nashville had some of the weirdest nick names. One of the reasons I never changed my name is because I felt like it represented Nashville and the culture of the real Nashville (not music row, lower broadway, or the tv show) but the REAL NASHVILLE- I was born and raised in this place. Just like my mother and just like my father. So for the ones who have no f–king clue who I am, listen to the music and research me—- you’ll find out my name represents my size and demeanor in life at times but not my music and what I stand for.”

The singer has been very honest about being arrested at the age of 16 for aggravated robbery. He was charged as an adult and ended up serving over a year in prison, followed by seven years of probation.

“I never want to overlook the fact that it was a heinous crime,” he told Billboard. “This is a grown man looking back at a 16-year-old kid that made the worst decision that he could have made in life and people could have got hurt and, by the grace of God, thankfully, nobody did.”

Jelly Roll faced a potential 20-year sentence, but received much less.

“They were talking about giving me more time than I’d been alive,” he told Billboard. “I hadn’t hit my last growth spurt. I was charged as an adult years before I could buy a beer, lease an apartment, get a pack of cigarettes … I feel like the justice system at that point kind of parked me on my only set path.”

Jelly Roll has said that he faces a lot of repercussions from the crime, including being unable to vote or own a firearm. He was also rejected from living in a gated community.

Later on, Jelly Roll was sent to jail again for drug dealing at the age of 23. He eventually got his GED while in jail.

Jelly Roll is the father of a daughter, born in 2008, and a son, born in 2016.

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