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Everything to Know About Jelly Roll

What to know about the genre-bending star before his Season 25 finale performance on The Voice.

By Benjamin Bullard

He’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, and a whole lotta pop-infused hip-hop — a perfect fit, in other words, for the stellar cast of celebrity guest performers who’ll be spicing up the proceedings next week on NBC, as The Voice amps up for its epic two-part Season 25 live Finale.

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Yep, we’re talkin’ about Jelly Roll, the Grammy-nominated artist who brings the gritty funk with one foot in his Nashville-area country roots and the other in hip-hop’s streetwise urban bustle. An energetic and versatile performer who’s been, well, on a roll lately in the worlds of both pop and country music, the 39-year-old Tennessee native comes with a compelling backstory — one that’s found his star on a meteoric rise after a rough-and-tumble early start.

Who is Jelly Roll?

Jelly Roll performs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Born Jason Bradley DeFord, Jelly Roll was raised in the ‘burbs south of Nashville, a place that’s since welcomed him with open arms as an official Grand Ole Opry performer. Thanks to an active touring schedule and recent hits like 2021’s “Son of a Sinner” (which earned him a trio of CMT Awards), 2022’s "Dead Man Walking" (his first No.1 hit), and 2023’s “Need a Favor” (which appears on his most recent album Whitsitt Chapel), his twang-y blend of rap and Deep-South vibes have caught on big-time — and not just with the fans.

Though he started out on the ground floor all the way back in 2003 (selling mixtapes right out of his car!), Jelly Roll rubs elbows these days with artistic royalty that spans musical genres. He received his first Grammy nod in 2021 with a Best New Artist nomination, following an extensive and busy string of killer studio albums and crossover collaborations including a four-part album series (Waylon & Wille 1-4, alongside Nashville rapper Struggle Jennings) that tapped deep into the country side of his eclectic musical roots.

RELATED: The Biggest Moments From The Voice Season 25 Live Shows

Jelly Roll’s success marks a big and authentic victory over some pretty significant youthful and early-career challenges. Using his music and celebrity as a platform, he’s been open and accessible about having overcome a past fraught with drugs and street crime — societal issues he’s since worked with lawmakers to address at the ground level. “I was a part of the problem,” he testified before a Congressional committee earlier this year. “I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.”

Who is Jelly Roll’s famous wife?

Already a dad to both a daughter and a son, Jelly Roll met his future wife Alyssa — known to her legion of online fans as Bunnie XO — way back in 2015 in Las Vegas. A year later, they got hitched in the same city where they first connected, after Jelly Roll popped the big question live onstage in the middle of a Deftones concert. Since then, the couple has shared a place in the celebrity spotlight that’s remained all but inseparable.

Boasting close to 10 million followers, Bunnie XO is currently in her seventh season as the host of the Dumb Blonde podcast, where she interviews fellow celebs and touches on topics that run the gamut from plastic surgery and tough social issues to the joys and sorrows of maintaining her high-profile family life. On top of that, she’s never far from her famous husband’s musical side: Alyssa’s a frequently-spotted presence at Jelly Roll’s live performances, even pitching in to introduce his celebratory set during this year’s Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.

Jelly Roll performs on The Voice

No matter which season of The Voice you’re talking about, there’s nothing quite like the back-to-back rush of big-name live sets that signal the sky-high stakes of the competition’s Finale week. That’s especially true for Season 25, which kicks off the proceedings on Monday, May 20 with a hugely anticipated live performance from Mega-Mentor and country superstar Keith Urban.

RELATED: Why Kelly Clarkson's Powerhouse Cover of ''Save Me'' Brought Jelly Roll to Tears

Things get even busier when Jelly Roll hits the stage on Tuesday, May 21, joining a finale guest roster that features even more live performances from country singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson, blues rockers The Black Keys, R&B Grammy winner Muni Long, country icon Thomas Rhett, and even A-list actor Kate Hudson, who’s sneaking the audience a sweet live peek at a track from her brand-new debut album Glorious.

Don’t miss a minute of The Voice’s Season 25 conclusion on NBC, which begins its big two-part live finale at 8/7c on Monday, May 20, and continues with the announcement of this season’s winner (plus Jelly Roll!) at 8/7c on Tuesday, May 21.