Jelly Roll – The Man Behind the Moniker – Uncovering His Real Name And It’s Sweet Inspiration

Disney/Eric McCandless

It’s no shock to discover that the singer Jelly Roll goes by a nickname, but what you might be unaware of is his real name.

His real name is Jason Bradley DeFord, and similarly, Jelly Roll’s wife, Alisa DeFord, is commonly referred to as Bunnie Xo.

His Nickname Started In Childhood

The Jelly Roll moniker wasn’t actually coined by him; his story from “The Bobby Bones Show” in May 2022, reveals it was his mother who bestowed this name upon him.

Jelly Roll mentioned, “And my mother named me that when I was a little chubby kid.” Overweight throughout his life, he embraced the name and spent the next 30 years growing into it, and the name stuck, and he believes he has truly embodied it.

Interestingly, one of his classmates, One-Arm Clay, also suggested the Jelly Roll nickname for him. The country music star sometimes rapper takes the whole situation with good humor, although in modern times such a nickname from peers could be taken as bullying.

His Mom Gave Him That Nickname Not Because Of His Overweight But Because Of His Love For A Certain Pastry

During an interview with StageRightSecrets in June 2023 at the CMA Fest, Jelly Roll shared an interesting story about his nickname; he said, “I remember saying, ‘My momma calls me Jelly Roll!’ It’s funny how once high school starts calling you something, it becomes the whole package, and you can’t get away from it.”

Jelly Roll went on to talk about the dessert that inspired his nickname, revealing, “As a chubby little kid, I had a deep love for doughnuts and other pastries. Every Sunday after church, I would indulge in one, and my mom affectionately referred to me as her little Jelly Roll.”

Additionally, Jelly Roll made it clear that stage names and nicknames are not interchangeable, and talked more about stage names.

He Could Have Used Zeus The Warrior Prince As A Stage Name

As the conversation continued, he emphasized, “You don’t have the choice to pick your own nickname, but you do have the freedom to choose your stage name. It’s a different story, right? If it were up to me, I would’ve gone with something grand like Zeus the Warrior Prince.”

He chuckled, envisioning a different path for himself, and further explored the topic, recounting stories of his childhood friends and the less fortunate monikers they were stuck with.

Interestingly, nicknames captivated Jelly Roll’s attention even during his interview with Howard Stern in June 2024. The singer playfully speculated that his life might have taken an alternate course had his mother dubbed him “Slim Jim.”

 Jelly Roll Talks About His Parents And How Music Has Helped His Mother

Even with the passing of his father, Horace “Buddy” DeFord, in 2019, Jelly Roll’s mother, Donna DeFord, the creative force behind his nickname, continues to witness his incredible success.

Jelly Roll also opened up about how music has been a positive influence on his mother Donna DeFord, who has faced mental health and addiction challenges in the past. Jelly Roll shared with Bones, “I just remember thinking, ‘I want to create music that brings people the same joy that it brings my mother.'”

In a heartfelt Instagram post in October 2023, Jelly Roll reflected on this and how his mother inspired him to pursue a career in music. He expressed his love for the moments when she would watch him perform.

Donna DeFord Made A Red Carpet Appearance Via FaceTime

Unfortunately, Donna couldn’t make it to the 2024 Grammys with Jelly Roll, but she did make a special red carpet appearance through FaceTime.

Jelly Roll expressed his happiness in an Entertainment Tonight interview, mentioning his daughter Bailee Ann DeFord and wife Bunnie Xo were by his side. He also shared his concern for his mother Donna, who was watching from home in her wheelchair.

Interviewer Kevin Frazier asked if they could FaceTime Donna, and Jelly quickly grabbed his phone to give it a shot, and to everyone’s surprise, she answered!

Jelly held up his phone for the cameras to see-when Frazier expressed his wish for her to be there, Donna replied, “I wish I could’ve been there too.”

Be sure to catch up with on everything happening with country music right now. Come back here often for country music news and updates.

Editorial credit: lev radin /

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