Jelly Roll ‘Can’t Quit Crying’ After His ‘Damascus Road Experience’

Photo from Jelly Roll’s Instagram

Jelly Roll ‘Can’t Quit Crying’ After His ‘Damascus Road Experience’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Country singer Jelly Roll recently compared the birth of his daughter to the conversion of Paul on the road to Damascus.

“I was incarcerated as a juvenile for some horrible decisions and I ended up in kind of that rotating door of the system for like a decade,” he shared during an episode of JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE. “I had a daughter, and it changed my entire life, man. It was almost like the Damascus Road experience where Saul turned to Paul for me.”

He continued, “I was incarcerated, and they knocked on my door and told me she was born. And I just wept. It’s the first time I’d cried, and I can’t quit crying now. Now I cry if I just see a squirrel in the street. I’m like, ‘The little squirrel!’ Spent 30 years not crying, and now I can’t stop.”

Jelly Roll has spoken about his time in prison, saying it was there that he started writing music. 

“I was always writing songs to kind of, like, connect with my mother because she loved music,” the singer explained. “But in jail is when I really started — I had a lot of time. I was like maybe I should invest this time in something positive, and I wrote a bunch of songs.”

Jelly Roll just released a new song, “I Am Not Okay,” the first single off of his upcoming album. 

Speaking about the inspiration behind the album’s tracks, he said, “I’m at gas stations and red carpets and I’m hearing life stories from people, really inspiring stories. I’ve never wrote more.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Jelly Roll’s work with incarcerated teens:

Jelly Roll is giving kids behind bars an incredible opportunity by opening a music studio inside the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center in Nashville, where he was once incarcerated.

“This collaboration, featuring music luminaries Jeffrey Steele and ERNEST, alongside 35 pro-hit songwriters who helped kick off the program launch, embodies the belief in music’s role in personal growth and redemption, showcasing the journey from juvenile detention to success,” a press release about the launch of the studio said.

This project has been a long time coming for Jelly Roll, who has been looking to give back ever since he broke onto the music scene in 2021 after going unnoticed for 18 years.

“It’s important, man. I think it’s important that we give back, especially [to] our kids,” Jelly Roll toldPEOPLE in 2022. “Man, our youth is so impressionable and the old quote goes, ‘None of them asked to be here.’”

“They were born into just whatever situation it was, and sometimes they can’t see past that situation or that neighborhood or that environment,” he continued. “I just hope to bring hope to that and kind of be a beacon and a light for those kids.”

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