Exclusive: Jelly Roll Reveals the Strangest Place He’s Been Congratulated on His CMA Award Win

It’s been just over a week since Jelly Roll was named New Artist of the Year at the 2023 CMA Awards, gaining him hoards of new fans and admirers who are approaching him in the most unexpected of places. He sums up the newfound noteriety in one word. “Unreal,” he tells American Songwriter. “Everywhere I go now people are congratulating me—even in public restrooms. It’s just unreal. It felt like three weeks ago I could walk around and nobody even knew me—it’s crazy!”

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The CMA Awards marked a career high for the rapper turned country star. It was the first time he was nominated and performed at the country awards show after years of making a name for himself in the rap scene in Nashville. He also had the honor of opening and closing the show with his hit “Need a Favor” (which saw a surprise appearance by Wynonna Judd) and a cover of The Judds‘ “Love Can Build a Bridge” that he sang with K. Michelle.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Jelly Roll on Grammy Nominations: “I’ve Been Crying all Morning”]

Days later, he experienced another career milestone when he was nominated for the first time for a Grammy Award. Going into the 2024 ceremony, the emerging superstar is nominated in the categories of Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Save Me,” featuring Lainey Wilson. “There is now greater prestige in the music business than being nominated for a Grammy. The moment you get nominated for a Grammy it trumps every other title in front of your name,” he expresses, comparing it to a nurse practionier who graduates to becoming a doctor. “In the world of being a recording artist from now on I’ll always be introduced as being the Grammy-nominated artist Jelly Roll and that is unreal!”

Jelly Roll is nominated for Best New Artist alongside Ice Spice, Gracie Abrams, The War and Treaty, Coco JonesVictoria MonétNoah Kahan and Fred Again…, while Zach Bryan and Kacey Musgraves, Brothers Osborne, Carly Pearce and Chris Stapleton, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, and Dierks Bentley and Billy Strings are also up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

The 2024 Grammy Awards, scheduled for February 4, will be broadcast on CBS.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images

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