What Is Jelly Roll’s Ethnicity? Is He Biracial?

By RahulPublished on: April 12, 2024 Updated on: April 12, 2024
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Meet Jelly Roll, also known as Jason DeFord, a standout artist in the American music scene. Mixing country, rock, and hip-hop, Jelly Roll’s tunes come straight from the heart, earning him a strong following.

He’s known for his deep, soulful voice and meaningful lyrics, especially in hits like Need a Favor and Son of a Sinner. Thanks to his work, he is a recipient of several music awards including CMT Music awards. In the same time, he was also nominated for a Grammy.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at a different aspect of Jason: his ethnicity. Exploring his heritage isn’t just interesting; it helps us understand what influences his music. So, let’s dive right into it!

A Dive Into Jelly’s Background

He has an Old French/English ethnicityThe people who go by the DeFord surname were at one time prevalent in the UK and France. A lot of them then migrated to North America and today they are found in both the US and Canada.

Born on December 4, 1984, he is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and was raised in the Antioch neighborhood. He grew up in a family with a complex dynamic. His father, Horace ‘Buddy’ DeFord, ran a wholesale meat business and also worked on the side as a bookie.

Roll’s family also includes three older half-siblings—brothers Roger and Scott, and a sister named Shelby. However, his early life had its share of challenges, particularly due to his mother’s struggles. She battled with drug addiction and mental health issues, a struggle that deeply affected him and shaped his emotional and artistic development.

Interestingly, it was Jason’s mother who gave him the nickname that would eventually become his stage name. She called him ‘Jelly Roll’ because he was a ‘chubby kid,’ a term of endearment that stuck with him as he ventured into the world of music.

His Journey as a Drug Seller to a Music Star

He experienced a significant family upheaval when his parents divorced at the age of 13. Following the separation, Jelly felt a deep sense of responsibility toward his mother, who struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues.

Jelly then began selling drugs. He recounted in an interview, ‘When [my father] left, I was like, ‘Somebody’s got to do what he was doing, at least trying to figure out some money.’

In January 2024, Jelly took a significant step by speaking before the U.S. Congress to support legislation against fentanyl, a dangerous drug. Drawing on his past experiences, Jelly Roll openly admitted to his role in drug distribution. Speaking to the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, he said, ‘I was a part of the problem. I am here now, standing as a man that wants to be a part of the solution.’


About Author: Rahul

Rahul has been diving into the world of entertainment in niches like celebrity, anime, and health articles since 2016. As a passionate writer, he combines personal experiences with thorough research to create content that's not only informative but also relatable and engaging.