Us Weekly’s Backstage Pass: Jelly Roll Shares His Favorite Fan Experience, Pre-Show Routine, and More (Exclusive)

Jelly Roll has had many encounters with fans over the years, but the country star shared which interaction he “still remembers” among others exclusively with Us Weekly’s Backstage Pass.

“Last year in Las Vegas, there was a 70-year-old veteran with his wife – I knew he was a veteran because the hat he wore really showed it, he was so proud,” Jelly Roll, 39, exclusively told Us. “Seeing the man and his wife enjoying the concert was one of the most surreal moments of the tour – I’m proud to have him as a fan. I asked security to bring him backstage and we talked for almost an hour – it really meant a lot to me.”

As he prepares to perform at the iHeartRadio Music Awards 2024 on Monday, April 1, Jelly Roll said he still feels “crazy” that there are “people who come to my show and are in the front row singing every word along with me.”

More fans will get the chance to sing along with Jelly Roll at the iHeartRadio Music Awards as the artist is one of many stars set to perform at the event. Jelly Roll is nominated for a total of eight awards, including Artist of the Year, Best New Artist (Pop), Artist of the Year (Country), Best New Artist (Country), Best New Artist (Alternative and Rock), Rock Song of the Year, Rock Artist of the Year, and nominated in the new Favorite On-Screen category for his song “Save Me.”

Although Jelly Roll told Us that he loves all his songs “for different reasons,” his successful song “Save Me” is what has “continued to reach people in ways I couldn’t imagine when writing it.”

He continued: “Fans sing [‘Save Me’] back every night. Also incredible to see the radio impact and how fans sing back ‘Need A Favor’ – the ongoing musical relationship and reactions from people to my songs is something I never take lightly.”

Released in 2020, “Save Me” marked Jelly Roll’s first platinum hit since releasing his mixtape, The Plain Shmear Tape, in 2003. He transitioned to country music a year after the song’s release and has since performed at the Grand Ole Opry, scored his first number one song with “Son of a Sinner,” won Best New Artist at the 2023 CMAs, and been nominated for two Grammys.

Whether he’s performing at concerts or award shows, Jelly Roll always follows the same backstage ritual. “We listen to music, relax before the show then right before we go on stage we gather before going on stage in a circle with the band and the whole team and say a prayer and get pumped up to go out and perform,” he said. “And a kiss from the wife.” (Jelly Roll has been married to his wife, Bunnie XO, since 2016.)

Jelly Roll always enjoys the good atmosphere in the dressing room, which he describes as “a gathering of friends and family and chatting with old and new friends in every city.” He added: “I’ve been more focused on my health lately – so we’ve added some time beforehand to take a breather before the show too.”

He also enjoys celebrating after the performance, telling us that the post-show party includes “the band, family, team, tequila, meeting more fans, and playing new music demos.”

The iHeartRadio Music Awards 2024 will air on Fox on Monday, April 1, at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Sarah Jones