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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

How Miranda Lambert, Kid Rock are inspiring new breakout country singers Megan Moroney, Jelly Roll

Up-and-coming country artists Megan Moroney and Jelly Roll are both nominated for their first CMT Awards this weekend – and they are both looking back at their journeys and who inspired them as singer-songwriters. 

“Well, I think like from a songwriting aspect, I always love Kacey Musgraves … Miranda Lambert,” Moroney told Fox News Digital, adding that the “If I Was a Cowboy” singer was one of her “musical influences.”

Moroney clarified that while she has never spoken to Lambert, she has run into her – literally.

The 25-year-old said that several years ago, when she was still in college in Georgia, “I accidentally ran into her … and I stepped on her on accident. But I just apologized, but I haven’t had a conversation with her now.” 


Megan Moroney said Miranda Lambert, pictured, has influenced her music.

Megan Moroney said Miranda Lambert, pictured, has influenced her music. (Getty Images)

Moroney is nominated for two CMT awards: breakthrough female video of the year and CMT digital-first performance of the year for “Tennessee Orange,” which fans have guessed might be about Morgan Wallen, who is a blue-eyed Tennessean like the man she sings about in the song. 



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“I have officially decided that the song is about whoever you’d like to think the song’s about. That is my final answer,” Moroney told Fox News Digital of the speculation. The two previously fueled romance rumors.

Moroney also had kind words for Carrie Underwood, who she said has a “very creative mind.”

Megan Moroney said her dad taught her to play the guitar.

Megan Moroney said her dad taught her to play the guitar. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

“I think that she probably is behind a lot of that stuff, which I think is important as an artist,” Moroney said about the work that goes into designing a music video and a performance, noting that the CMT awards are “centered around videos.”

“I’m assuming she has a lot to do with how everything looks, and it feels very her. So, I think that comes across as authentic,” she added.

“I am very involved in all the video and visuals,” she added of her own music.

She said her father, who taught her to play the guitar when she was a kid, was another positive influence on her musically, adding that he helped her learn to pay attention to music and lyrics.



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“He never pushed it on me, but he loved music so much that it was kind of like, ‘Hey, wouldn’t hate if you picked up a guitar,'” she said.


Jelly Roll, who comes from a rap background, listed Kid Rock, Brothers Osborne, Wallen and Ernest Hardy as influences. 

Jelly Roll called Kid Rock "borderline a genius" about business.

Jelly Roll called Kid Rock “borderline a genius” about business. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

“I’ve been inspired by so many different eras of country music,” the singer, who is up for three awards, told Fox News Digital. 

“Kid Rock gave me some solid advice when we first met. He is oh so overlooked as a businessman,” he said, calling the “All Summer Long” singer “borderline a genius.”

“And when you really sit down and talk to Kid Rock, he is borderline a genius because … he don’t get a fair shake at that,” he said. “People don’t see that side of him. And he’s helped me with everything about management, commissions, net profits, backing out production costs before you pay commissions. You know what I mean? Like he just taught me, I could bore you with some of the stuff that Kid Rock has taught me.”

The “Need a Favor” singer said he was “blindsided” by his nominations for male video of the year, breakthrough male video of the year and CMT digital-first performance of the year.

“I didn’t even think this was possible,” he told Fox News Digital. “Like I had just kind of been like, ‘I probably, you know, I got another couple of years of work to do to kind of prove that I’m here to stay or whatever,’ you know. And it was just unreal. I was just – we celebrated like we won just by getting nominated. So, if we lose, we still won.”

Jelly Roll said he's always viewed music as a form of "therapy."

Jelly Roll said he’s always viewed music as a form of “therapy.” (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for BMG/BBR Music Group)

He added, “No matter what happens that night, we won. We were in the building, baby. Our name was on that sheet of paper.”

The singer, who spent a few years as a teen and in his early 20s in jail, also talked about his commitment to helping people who have been incarcerated. 

“I spent a lot of my life early in my life bleeding on people that didn’t cut me,” the singer said. “I think it’s a responsibility to go back and try to help people that I didn’t cut, you know? I believe that as a kid that was in the system that the most impressionable years of our lives are between 14 and 17. And there’s a lot of these kids that feel extremely hopeless in that moment and they make these radical decisions – these radical decisions that change the landscape of their entire life. And I just wanted to go back and love on them.”


He explained that he works with a program that brings music to jails in Tennessee and “we partner with Impact Youth Outreach and donated a quarter-million dollars to the juvenile facility downtown to aftercare programs for kids here. And it’s become an annual charity for us. What we’re going to do for at-risk youth in Nashville, I’ve got a five-year plan that’s going to blow people’s minds.”

Jelly Roll said he has always thought of music as a “form of therapy.”



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“I got into music because of what music did for my family,” he told Fox News Digital. “You know, we were a middle lower-class family and my mother struggled with a lot of mental health stuff. And there was something about music that changed our household. Like we would play an old Barbara Mandrell record or something, and the whole house would gather around, and I just always looked at music as a sense of therapy.”

The 38-year-old added that family has always been his “anchor.”

“The first person to congratulate me on my nomination yesterday was my oldest brother,” he said, explaining that his brother’s birthday is on April 1, the day before the show. “So, he said, ‘April 2nd we’ll be celebrating you, Jason.’” Jelly Roll’s real name is Jason DeFord.


He continued, “My daughter and wife changed my whole life. They changed my perspective of love. They soften that old hard heart of mine. You know, I wasn’t always the grateful, patient human that I’m trying to become today.”

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