For iHeartCountry On The Verge artist Jimmie Allen, a simple phrase sums up his view on life and music: Never give up.
A native of Southern Delaware – the “slower, lower” part of the state, he explains – Allen has carried that mantra with him through good times and bad, whether than meant living in his car or rocking amphitheaters on Toby Keith’s Interstates & Tailgates Tour.
He’s poured out his soul at Music City’s famous Bluebird Cafe, wrote a song that was featured in a Super Bowl commercial, and appeared in a Diet Coke ad with superstar Taylor Swift. But now with the BBR Music Group debut of his self-titled EP, a lifetime of never giving up has brought him full circle.
“I didn’t quit, I never will,” he says. “Stuff ain’t easy, and you shouldn’t quit either. There’s a big difference between busting your ass, and sitting on it.”
For Allen, musical dreams and a love of true-to-themselves artists like Alan Jackson, Aaron Tippin, Montgomery Gentry, and Jason Aldean brought him all the way to Nashville – and eventually around the world for an Armed Forces Entertainment tour of Japan.
But it was actually a nightmare which turned this promising singer into the artist he is today. After a series of bad breaks Allen was forced to live in his car, too proud to ask for a bail out. For months he worked multiple jobs and finally saved enough for an apartment, but hit then another snag – country music wasn’t ready for him.
“People were just trying to help,” he says now. “But they wanted me to change my sound and told me I had to lose my boots. The turning point came when I stopped listening, and finally let my music be a natural reflection of who I am.”
Since then Allen has been following his own compass, and it’s leading somewhere special.
A guiding light in Jimmie's life was his grandmother. He says that no matter what he was doing she was there to support him. When she passed away, it got to the point where he almost wanted to give up music. In the extremely motional second episode of getting to know Jimmie, he shares even more about his grandmother and how he knows she would be proud of him today.
When Jimmie moved to Nashville, he had $21 and all of his stuff packed into his Malibu. He found a trailer to live in off craigslist, when the trailer was sold he had no other option than to sleep in his car for a few months. Mom said that when she found out he was sleeping in his car it broke her heart. Even today when she thinks about it, it can cause her to tear up.
Jimmie shares with us even more of his story in this second episode of getting to know him.
Jimmie grew up in Milton, Delaware, which is also known as "Slower Lower." Milton is a very small down, but he says it was great growing up there. He is still friends to this day with the people in the neighborhood he grew up with. As he shows us parts of his hometown, we meet his kindergarten teacher who takes full responsibility for his singing career - because they sang in class everyday. When the other kids would stop singing, Jimmie would just keep singing. He says that people in his hometown were loving and really cared about each other.
His musical journey really began at Mount Carmel Church, the church he grew up in. He wanted to play the drums while people were singing hymns, so his mom bought him a paper drum set to use.
In this latest episode of getting to know Jimmie, we get a look at what his childhood was like.