NASHVILLE SINCE 2007
Some say Nashville is a ten-year town. You move to Music City, cut your teeth, work hard, and hope to reap dividends by the time you crack a decade of living in the 615. Jimmie Allen has paid his dues and then some, and now his ship has come in.
“I was in different bands and stuff in the Delaware scene,” Jimmie says, “and I was like, well, time to move. I literally decided I was going to move to Nashville, packed up my car, went to Walmart and bought an air mattress, and eight hours later I was driving to Nashville.”
He called his mom to tell her and she asked when he planned to move. “Right now,” he responded. “I’m on the road.” He got a job at a gym making sandwiches and protein shakes and continued to write and perform his music.
It wasn’t always easy. At one point, he was living in a trailer and then eventually in his car, showering at the gym. “It was either live in my car or go back to Delaware, so I just hung out in the car for a little while, saved some money on rent,” he says.
Finally, something clicked. “I spent so many years trying to do what other people said – ‘Well, since you’re wearing cowboy boots, you should be a lot more country, or since you’re black, you should do R&B,’” he recalls. “Finally I got to the point where I told everyone, “Just shut up, I’m gonna do what I want to do,’” he says. “That’s when everything came together.”
Jimmie quickly signed a publishing deal and then a record deal at BMG Broken Bow. He’s written a song that was featured in a Super Bowl commercial and appeared in a Diet Coke ad alongside Taylor Swift. And he’s quickly gaining attention with his brand new music.
He describes his sound as country lyrics wrapped in pop-rock production with pop and R&B phrasing, a mix of the music he grew up loving. “I like the lyric, but then I’m a huge Matchbox 20 fan, but at the same time pop and R&B phrasing hooks you in with the melody and stuff like that,” he says.
Though the music industry can be a struggle, Jimmie’s tenacity, drive, and focus keep him on top of his game. He also doesn’t want to let anyone down. “The fear of my family members seeing me quit and them not continuing to chase what they’re going after, that’s what really motivates me,” he says. Words from his sister in particular stick strongly with him. “She said, ‘Jimmie, if you would have given up, I don’t know what I would have done, ‘ because she said me not giving up and going through everything I did kind of helped her stay motivated,” he says. “That’s really what motivates me, that fear of letting them down.”
As he continues to make and perform great music, he hopes to connect his journey with people outside of his family as well. “I love travel, touring,” he says. “Some people come to town and get what they’re chasing in three or four years. It took me ten. I’m hoping people can say, ‘You know what, if Jimmie stuck it out, I should keep going.’ That’s really what I’m after.”
Listen to his new self-titled EP on Spotify
Follow him @jimmieallen