Jelly Roll on Embracing Others: 'I'm Like a Fierce Bear Coming in Hot'

Country star Jelly Roll reflects on his recent achievements.

by Nouman Rasool
Jelly Roll on Embracing Others: 'I'm Like a Fierce Bear Coming in Hot'
© Chris Saucedo/Getty Images

At the 2024 CMT Music Awards, country music sensation Jelly Roll not only entertained but also spread warmth through his signature hugs. Known for his robust and affectionate embraces, Jelly Roll shared this special gesture with stars like Gayle King, Ashley McBryde, and Cody Johnson during a lively segment hosted by Kelsea Ballerini. Speaking to PEOPLE, Jelly Roll, 39, revealed the heart behind his famous hugs.

"I’m a big hugger in real life, and that's how they wrote that skit," he explained, appreciating the authenticity of the moment. His approach to hugging? "I’m kind of like a big, aggressive bear that just comes in hot," he described, acknowledging that his larger-than-life embraces are now a beloved trademark.

This affectionate trait previously caught public attention during his appearance on Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest, where he famously lifted Seacrest in a joyful hug after his performance. The moment swiftly went viral, prompting Seacrest to immortalize the hug as a GIF on his Instagram Stories, much to the delight of fans.

Jelly Roll's Award Streak

Beyond his infectious energy and heartfelt hugs, Jelly Roll is riding a high wave of professional accolades. Recently, he woke to his first-ever nominations for the Academy of Country Music Awards set for May 7, 2024.

He's in the running for four big-award categories, including Single of the Year with "Need a Favor" and Music Event of the Year for "Save Me," a duet with Lainey Wilson. This follows the trio's win of three awards at this year's 2023 CMT Music Awards, with the double honor from iHeartRadio Music Award for Best New Artist in their Pop and Country categories.

Reflecting on his whirlwind success and recent nominations, Jelly Roll shared his morning routine of gratitude with his friends in the sauna. "Every morning we get in the sauna, me and my buddies, and we do highs and lows and a gratitude, and man, I just couldn't quit thinking about how unreal the last eight days have been," he shared enthusiastically.

It was a very long road to glory, but for Jelly Roll, in the music industry, for more than two decades, he started his way with hip-hop and only later replaced it with country, thanks to his breakthrough album "Ballads of the Broken" in 2021. He confessed to almost giving up on his dreams but now finds himself grateful and amazed at his current success.