Jelly Roll And K. Michelle Prepare To ‘Take People To Church’ With A Soul-Stirring Tribute To The Judds At CMA Awards
Jelly Roll says this performance is the “biggest honor” he’s ever had.
Jelly Roll and K. Michelle perform during rehearsals; Photo Courtesy CMA
Jelly Roll and K. Michelle are ready to “take people to church” with their much-anticipated CMA Awards performance.
The five-time CMA Awards nominee and the Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star opened up about their collaborative performance ahead of “Country Music’s Biggest Night,” and shared their excitement over the opportunity to honor Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, The Judds, with a performance of “Love Can Build A Bridge.”
“The ‘Love Can Build A Bridge’ tribute, to me, is the biggest honor I’ve had, ’cause I’m honoring the legacy of The Judds,” Jelly Roll stated. “And the opportunity to honor the story of Wynonna and Naomi. And I don’t think it could be more of an honor than to do that. I’m getting to do it next to who I think is one of the greatest vocalists of our generation. And I am going to respect The Judds. I’m going to perform with love and reference, and I’m going to step out of the way, and let K. Michelle take people to church.”
This is a full-circle moment for first-time CMA Awards performer K. Michelle.
“I’ve been doing R&B a long time and I would always sing Judds songs at my shows,” she revealed during an interview with the Country Music Association. “That was the first tape I ever got my whole career.”
K. Michelle credited The Judds for ushering her “into country music” and explained how the collaboration came together.
“They set it up. They wanted it to be something unique, something different. So they were like, ‘We want you to do ‘Love Can Build A Bridge.’ And then they said, ‘We want you to do it with Jelly Roll.’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s my neighbor.”
The artists previously teamed up to record “Love Can Build A Bridge” with The Fisk Jubilee Singers for the recently released A Tribute To The Judds album. Released on October 27, the project features 14 tracks and an array of artists such as Ashley McBryde, Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Cody Johnson, Lainey Wilson, Dolly Parton, and many more.
In addition to collaborating with K. Michelle during “Country Music’s Biggest Night,” Jelly Roll will also open the show with a yet-to-be-announced special guest.
“The feeling of opening the CMA Awards is a totally different thing. They were like, ‘You’re gonna get to perform this year.’ Right then, I was like ‘No way.’ I immediately got nervous. … They called back and said, ‘We think they want you to open the show. I was like, ‘You’re kidding me,’” the genre-bending star recalled. “ I think the only honor bigger than maybe winning a CMA is getting to open the CMAs.”
Heading into the 57th Annual CMA Awards, Jelly Roll is a top nominee with an impressive five nominations: Single Of The Year (“NEED A FAVOR”), Male Vocalist Of The Year, Musical Event Of The Year (“Save Me” with Lainey Wilson) and Music Video Of The Year (“NEED A FAVOR”).
With this feat, the superstar joins Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Maren Morris, Willie Nelson, and Gretchen Wilson who also received five nods in a first appearance on the Final CMA Awards Ballot. According to the Country Music Association, the record for most nominations in a debut year is six, with Glen Campbell, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, and Lainey Wilson holding the current record.
Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, The 57th Annual CMA Awards airs live TONIGHT (8:00-11:00 PM/EST) on ABC. Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Jordan Davis, HARDY, Alan Jackson, Cody Johnson, Little Big Town, Mac McAnally, Ashley McBryde, Megan Moroney, Old Dominion, Carly Pearce, Post Malone, Chris Stapleton, Tanya Tucker, Morgan Wallen, The War And Treaty, Lainey Wilson and Zac Brown Band are slated to perform.
The CMA Awards presenters include Paula Abdul, Bill Anderson, Nate Bargatze, Kevin Cahoon, Jordan Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Sara Evans, Brian Kelley, Lady A, Martina McBride, Parker McCollum, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Corey Seager, Gerry Turner, Keith Urban, Hailey Whitters and Chris Young.
Lauren Jo Black
Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.