Jelly Roll has a larger-than-life personality, but the country newcomer has a way of making you feel like the only person in the room. That's what he strives for, he says.

Backstage at the 2023 CMA Awards — after he won his first trophy, for New Artist of the Year — the "Son of a Sinner" singer spoke about why he makes music in the first place.

"I'm not here to entertain," he admits. "I'm here to connect. That's what music does."

"Before I was articulate as I am now — which, I'm proud of myself — I could only speak in the form of a song," the star explains. "Even sometimes, like Jim Croce, I had to tell my wife I love her in a song."

The power of a song goes beyond just communication for the "Need a Favor" singer — music is therapeutic for Jelly Roll. He shared a story of feeling off his game when his wife Bunnie Xo pointed out that he hadn't written a song in several months.

That's when a light bulb went off in his head.

"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 it holds," Jelly Roll says.

The "Save Me" singer says it's only the beginning, and he wants to share that with others.

"God is just getting started with me, you know, that's for sure."

Jelly is coming off of a monster of a year. He released his debut country album Whitsitt Chapel, completed a headlining tour, the Backroad Baptism Arena Tour, and picked up three awards at the CMT Music Awards.

11 Songs that Foreshadowed Jelly Roll's Country Music Career

Jelly Roll has taken the country music world by storm over the past year, and he will release his first full-length country album, Whitsitt Chapel, on June 2. Before he jumps right into the deepend of the genre, let's take a walk down memory lane. There are 11 songs that seemed to foreshadow his country music career.

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