Jimmie Allen Reflects on the Challenges of Making a Career Out of Country Music

by Quentin Blount

He may have just been named Best New Artist at the CMAs, but Jimmie Allen has had to face a lot of challenges to get to the top of country music.

Jimmie Allen is a country music singer and songwriter who has been on the rise. Currently signed to Broken Bow Records, he’s released two singles in “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To” and the 2018 album Mercury Lane. Not only that, but last year he became the second Black artist to win Best New Artist at the Country Music Association Awards. Before Allen, Darius Rucker had won the award back in 2009.

He also won New Male Artist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2021. It goes without saying that last year couldn’t have gone much better for the country star. Oh, and not to mention, Allen just served as a co-host at this year’s ACMs alongside Dolly Parton and Gabby Barrett.

Jimmie Allen Has Faced Challenges During His Rise in the Country Music Industry

It’s safe to say that Jimmie Allen has come a long way over the years. Born in Milton, Delaware, Allen first moved to Nashville in 2007. But during his first few years living in The Music City, the now 36-year-old experienced poverty and often found himself living out of his car. In addition to some of his financial issues, Allen also remembers watching less talented performers get deals instead of him. He explained as much in a recent sit-down with NPR.

“I had this one guy tell me straight up, he was like, ‘Jimmie, I like you, but I’m not sure how someone that looks like you will go over well in country music,'” he recalled.

“I’m like, ‘Bro, you got Charley Pride!'”

Allen noted that at the time, Pride was the only Black country artist working at the national level. But if Charley Pride could do it, Allen knew that he could too.

“It pisses me off just the way he said it. A lot of people still think that if you’re a Black person, you shouldn’t wear a certain thing or sing a certain type of music because it might not be appealing to the white listener. Even though white artists wear the same thing and they’ve said nothing to them.”

Jimmie Allen knew the whole time that he belonged in country music and he never gave up his dream. Now that he’s succeeded on the biggest stage, he is encouraging others to come on over to country music. Since the days of Charley Pride, there are now several Black country music stars in addition to Allen who are making waves in the industry. You’ve got the likes of Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, Blanco Brown, Breland, Willie Jones, and Reyna Roberts.

Allen believes that the country music genre “is for everyone.”