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Jelly Rolls Gives Emotional Speech While Accepting ACM Award

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Jelly Roll is feeling grateful to be alive after a year filled with nominations and wins for his music. 

On Thursday, the 37-year-old singer took to the stage of the 2024 ACM Awards to accept the trophy for Best Music Event along with his collaborator, Lainey Wilson, for their song “Save Me.” After a rousing introduction from the Yellowstone actress, 30, Jelly Roll got up to the mic and shared that with “no pun intended,” their song really did change his life for good. 

“I’m going to try not to get emotional but no pun intended, but seriously, this song saved me,” he said on stage.”I was in a dark place, I wrote it from my soul — I knew people would connect with it.”

He continued, “One year ago today Lainey and I stood on this stage and debuted it. This song is a triple platinum record, I wrote it with a high school friend, we never thought we’d be songwriters, I never thought I’d be standing here.”

As he went on, Jelly Roll doubled down on his shock and gratitude at the honor and candidly shared where a younger version of himself thought he would end up in life. 

“I thought I would die or go to jail and I’m standing here as an ACM Award winner,” he said as the camera flashed to his wife, Bunnie XO, in the audience clapping and nodding. The Whitsitt Chapel artist previously served time behind bars before turning his life around through music. 

Jelly Roll holds his ACM Award on stage with Lainey WilsonGetty Images

Before exiting the stage after his first win of the night — the singer took one last moment to get the already-fired-up crowd even more raucous, calling out, “You hear what I’m talking about, Texas? Let’s go baby.”

Jelly Roll was honored with four nominations at the ACM Awards on Thursday, including nods in the Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year categories. The signs of recognition are just the latest after he took the GRAMMY Awards and the CMTs by storm earlier this year.

At the CMT Awards in early April, he pulled off a clean sweep in all of his nominated categories, a feat he also did in 2023. He spoke with ET’s Cassie DiLaura backstage after the wins and shared his surprise at another round of trophies he would be taking home. 

“I don’t know what to say. I’m out of words. By the last time I got up there, I was like, ‘Man, this is crazy,'” the artist shared. “It’s just unreal, man.”

Jelly Roll with a CMA AwardScott Kirkland/Disney via Getty Images

In June 2023, Jelly Roll spoke with ET and explained the importance music has played in his life and why he continues to make music for those who find themselves in a similar situation to the one that he went through before his success. 

“I think at some point in life, everything in life has let me down. But music was always my constant,” he shared. “Like, when I had nothing else, I had a boombox. When I was incarcerated, I had a set of headphones and a little radio.”

The 59th annual Academy of Country Music Awards streams live May 16 on Prime Video. Check out all the nominees and the full winners list.

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