The country musician spent his adolescent and early 20s in and out of jail before becoming famous, but why was Jelly Roll behind bars? The singer, whose real name is Jason DeFord, made his debut on the music scene in 2011 and has since grown incredibly popular.
Since the release of his studio album Ballads of the Broken in 2021, Jelly Roll has established himself as a household figure in the country music industry. Several of his supporters recently learned that he had previously spent time in prison.
Why Was Jelly Roll in Prison?
Between the ages of 14 and his early 20s, Jelly spent a few years in juvenile detention facilities for various offenses before beginning his profession. He was charged with aggravated robbery and possession with the intent to sell before he turned 21.
Jelly served his first prison term for theft at the age of 14, and when he was 18, he was sentenced to two years for charges of armed robbery. He was detained once more in 2003, when he was 21 years old, on charges of narcotics possession with the intent to resell. He was sentenced to five years in prison.
Singer Opens Up About Mental Health
Jelly has been open about his troubled past, and his stint in prison stems from a period when he experienced mental health issues. The musician confessed in an interview with the podcast I’m Listening that he struggled with depression and anxiety as a teenager and was taught to “brush it off” for years. He explained (According to Audacy)
“I would have realized that my need for acceptance stemmed from feeling like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like nobody accepted me. When you feel like nobody accepts you, there’s always that one group that will and it’s always the trouble. I feel like I might have made some crazy different life decisions if I could have sat down and felt vocal enough to say, Hey I’m leaning towards this because I don’t feel accepted anywhere else.”
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He Donated to Nashville Youth
In November 2022, Jelly gave generously to underserved youngsters in Nashville by working with the nonprofit Impact Youth Outreach and contributing $250,000. Five Davidson Country graduating seniors would receive a $10,000 scholarship as part of the donation.
Jelly said in a press conference at the time (as reported by HITC)
“Nashville is a town that people come and take from. They come and they party. They make the best memory of their life right here on Broadway. They come and they chase their dreams. They join the medical field. They become big musicians in the music industry and make millions of dollars. But they never give back.”
He added (According to Tennessean)
“As a local kid, I felt like it was important to start addressing the problem hands-on, at a community level.”
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