Jelly Roll Returns To Juvenile Detention Center To Open Music Studio

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Jelly Roll opened a music studio in Nashville’s Juvenile Detention Center after dedicating a portion of the proceeds from his hometown arena headlining show to the endeavor. He and ERNEST, another Nashville-born breakout star who features Jelly Roll on “I Went To College/I Went To Jail” on his latest album, recently delivered a performance together at the new studio with other artists and songwriters.

The “Need A Favor” powerhouse opened the studio with a “Redemption Songs” Event, hosted by The Beat of Life Organization, a Nashville-based nonprofit, per a press release and sneak peek video posted on Thursday evening (April 18). Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell introduced Jelly Roll and ERNEST, in addition to Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway and others in attendance.

“Jelly Roll officially opened his studios, making the event the first to kick off using the lasting resource for aspiring musicians in the very place he was once housed as a youth,” reads the release and video on the Beat of Life social media pages (warning: language). “This collaboration, featuring music luminaries Jeffrey Steele and Ernest alongside 35 pro/hit songwriters who helped kick off the program launch, embodies the belief in music's role in personal growth and redemption, showcasing the journey from juvenile detention to success.”

“Music did save my life,” Jelly Roll said as he marked the music studio's opening. “I am the life that music changed, for the record. I am that life, and I believe that somebody else is that life in here.”

Earlier this year, Jelly Roll posted a video at the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center to explain why he did not attend the 2024 People’s Choice Awards, where he won in the Male Country Artist of the Year category. The Whitsitt Chapel star said he teamed up with The Beat of Life to launch a music program, and “I didn’t wanna be one of the people letting these kids down.”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there. Here’s the truth,” he said in the video at that time. “I’m actually standing in the juvenile courthouse right now. I just walked out of the juvenile facility. We partnered with The Beat of Life to bring a music program to the kids. This has been on my calendar for a long time. I promised these kids I was coming. I know whenever I was a kid in here, I got let down a lot. I didn’t wanna be one of the people letting these kids down. I had to honor my word. I hate I wasn’t (at the People’s Choice Awards), but don’t take me not being there as a sign of anything other than love and respect, and me trying to do better for my community, baby. Anyways, these kids wrote some big songs today, man. We’re gonna work something out where y’all can start hearing what we’re working on in this juvenile (facility). …This has been unreal. Love y’all.”