Music

Jelly Roll Wins New Artist at 2023 CMA Awards, Urges Fans to Keep Going in Rousing Speech

Jelly Roll needs a favor — he wants fans to keep going for their dreams, regardless of their age. The country singer gave a rousing speech after winning the new artist of the year award at the 2023 CMA Awards, held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 8).

As his name was announced by Lady A, the artist gave wife Bunnie Xo a kiss, then hugged fellow nominee Zach Bryan before making his way up to the stage as his song “Need a Favor” — which he performed with Wynonna Judd to kick off the ceremony — played to accept the award.

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“I got a thousand people to thank, but most importantly my lord and my wife — I love you so much, you changed my life, baby. Megan, Parker, Hailey I love all of you all — we’re friends,” he said, shouting out the category’s other nominees — Parker McCollum, Megan Moroney, and Hailey Whitters. “And Zach Bryan, I think you’re one of the hottest things on Earth, not just country music! You deserve this just as anybody else! I love you, I’m glad we’re sitting there partying the rest of the night, baby.”

Then, Jelly Roll kicked his speech into high gear and addressed his fans with an inspirational message.

“Most importantly, there’s something poetic about a 39-year-old man winning new artist of the year. I don’t know where you’re at in your life or what you’re going through, but I want to tell you to keep going, baby. I want to tell you, ‘Success is on the other side,’” he declared passionately, his voice getting louder with each line, the live crowd cheering him along. “I want to tell you, ‘It’s going to be OK!’ I want to tell you that the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror for a reason, because what’s in front of you is so much more important than what’s behind you!”

He concluded his speech by yelling, “Let’s party, Nashville!” raising his trophy in triumph as the arena’s audience gave him a standing ovation.

New artist of the year was just one of the five awards that Jelly Roll was nominated for. He also received nods for single of the year and music video of the year for “Need a Favor,” male vocalist of the year and musical event of the year. The country star is also a finalist in several categories at the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including the top new artist and top rock artist categories. The BBMAs will stream on BBMAs.watch and the Billboard and BBMAs social channels on Nov. 19.

The 2023 CMA Awards were hosted once again by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning. The show aired live on ABC.

Watch Jelly Roll’s acceptance speech for new artist of the year below:

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