Singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen is a chart-topping, platinum-selling recording artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. But undoubtedly Allen has worked extremely hard to get to his position. After previously living in his car and failing to make it to the live auditions in America’s Got Talent and American Idol in the late 2000s, Allen finally got his break after signing a publishing deal with Wide Open Music. Since then, Allen received critical acclaim on his 2018 debut album Mercury Lane, played numerous sold out shows, and is currently the ACM New Male Artist of the Year. The success Allen has seen is a testament to his dedication and talent.
Having released a new EP called Bettie James last year to universal praise, Jimmie Allen is back with the expanded full album version which is entitled: Bettie James Gold Edition. His sophomore record boasts brilliant collaborations with the likes of Pitbull, Keith Urban, and Lindsay Ell to name a few. So House Of Solo chatted with Allen all about the new record, career highlights, and more.
Hi Jimmie, let’s talk about your new album, Bettie James Gold Edition. The original EP version released last year, did you always intend to put out a deluxe version or was this in reaction to how well the record did last year? It was really well received which must have delighted you!
The thought had crossed my mind of putting out more because I love collaborations. So when we got the right songs, we went on with it. It was never a question of if we were if we weren’t… it was kind of just feeling the vibe out, you know, of if we had more songs that could compete with the first batch of songs we put out.
On this new LP, there are nine new tracks which feature some huge guest artists. The record boasts collaborations with Babyface, BRELAND, Keith Urban, LANCO, Lathan Warlick, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, LOCASH, Monica, Neon Union, Pitbull, teamwork. and Vikin. It’s pretty impressive. Can you tell us about how all these artists got involved with the project? And did you actually go to the studio with any of them? I know a lot of collaborations are done online now which doesn’t seem as fun to me but it’s understandable when it comes to logistics.
I reached out to all the artists on there either through a mutual friend or from just knowing them myself. I went to the studio with some of the artists, but not all of them. A lot of people recorded in their own state and their own studio, which is the great thing about technology.
The title of the record is in homage to your later father, James Allen, and your late grandmother, Bettie Snead, which is a really lovely tribute. When you were growing up, how did your father and grandmother impact your music taste/interest in music?
Just kind of what they listened to. You’re kind of used to hearing what you’re exposed to, and after you’re exposed to it, you either develop an interest for it or you don’t. So, I developed an interest in country music through my father and Christian music through my grandmother, and that kind of led me into other genres. What they listened to definitely sparked my musical palette.
It’s fair to say that it’s been a busy year for you so far, alongside the new record, you’ve also released your debut picture book, “My Voice Is A Trumpet”. What inspired you to release the book?
Being a father, I’ve always wanted to leave something else for my kids other than just music. They inspired me to write this book to encourage them and give them confidence in using their voice, as well as other children.
You’ve got loads of US tour dates this year which is great but can we expect to see you over in the UK anytime soon?
I would love to come back over there! As soon as we’re allowed to, I’ll be there.
As you’re a both a husband and a father, how do you tread the line between spending time with loved ones and touring/work? It must be so hard for a lot of musicians…
I’m still in the process of trying to figure that one out!
Although you were unjustly rejected from your attempts at America’s Got Talent and American Idol early on in your music career, it’s sort of an amazing milestone and a big middle finger up to anyone who previously passed on you as you recently won the “New Male Artist of the Year” award at the Academy of Country Music Awards. How does it feel to finally be getting the recognition you thoroughly deserve?
It feels great. Being honored by the country music family with this award is awesome. It makes all my hard work and sacrifices make sense.
What have been your personal career highlights so far?
Performing with Charley Pride for sure. Releasing a children’s book, getting number one on country radio, and playing a few sold-out shows. I think for me, the biggest highlight is watching how my career has inspired other people to continue to chase whatever goals they have.
Finally, what message would you like to convey with your music?
It depends on the song. I think the overall goal of my complete body of work is exceeding expectations and never setting limitations on yourself or what you can achieve.