Downtown Franklin is made up of many charming, memorable places, but for Country artist Jimmie Allen, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant will always be a particularly special place that changed his life forever. During his days aspiring toward a career in music, Allen was working at a gym and was introduced by a coworker to songwriter Chris Caminiti, who happened to be hosting a songwriters’ round at Puckett’s and needed two more songwriters to fill the slots. Allen played the round and it was there that he met fellow songwriter Ash Bowers, who signed Allen to his first publishing deal only a week later. “The crazy thing is we were actually both fill-ins because he [Caminiti] had two people cancel,” remembers Allen. “I wasn’t supposed to be there, and neither was Ash. It was crazy.”
While some could say playing the songwriters’ round that day was fate, Allen has spent his life chasing music and makes it a point to show up every chance he gets an opportunity in life. “You never know which opportunity will be the opportunity that you’ve been waiting for…” says Allen.
For the now highly successful artist, music was always the dream. There was never a backup plan for the humble yet confident and driven Allen, who moved to Nashville in 2007 and signed his record deal in 2017. “People ask me, ‘Well Jimmie, did you ever think in a million years you’d be doing what you’re doing now?,’” shares Allen. “Yes, I did – that’s why I put the work in. Nobody puts the work in to fail. Plan B is a distraction from Plan A…It’s impossible to give the career everything you need when you’re splitting it between two. But I feel like if you believe in yourself, you should just go for it.”
The 2021 ACM New Male Artist of the Year and CMA New Artist of the Year’s rise to fame may appear as an overnight success to some, but the multi-Platinum selling country artist has had this vision for years, planning down to the most specific details of what he wanted his career to look like, and has made it a point to stay true to himself and do things his way from the very beginning.
“I have a binder. It’s in the attic in my house. I created it in 2011. So everything I’m doing now is a part of a plan,” he shares. “In 2011, I kind of wrote out a landscape of how I wanted my career to go and that’s what I’ve been doing," He’s accomplished so many of the steps he mapped out over a decade ago, from releasing singles and playing on national television to later hosting shows, winning country music awards, and even being nominated for a GRAMMY.
While he has accomplished so much already, Allen is continuing to look at the endless possibilities the future holds for him. “The next plan that I’m working on now is a reality show. I’m working on sitcoms, movies…a clothing brand is next. There are
two shoe companies that I’m talking to. I want to be the very first country artist with a sneaker deal,” he explains. “I’m trying to do everything. It’s been part of the plan. The kids’ book was in there, Broadway’s in there. I want to go to Broadway and do a show.” However, there’s one thing in his master plan that will surprise even his most avid fan. “I added bowling,” he reveals of his list. “I’m into bowling now…I feel like I’m at a place where I want to do things I love, and I love bowling.”
For the artist and songwriter who has written his own children’s book called My Voice Is a Trumpet, served as Executive Music Producer for Netflix’s series "Titletown High," and even competed on ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars," Allen has always pursued his own unique path in life, which has proven to be the key to his success. “I feel like you have to think outside the box because every artist, we have the same goals. But everybody’s path to get there is completely different and you have to be open to trying new
things. You have to be open to just not relying on the ‘standard’ way of doing things,” says Allen.
Set to release on June 24, Allen’s new album Tulip Drive is full of sentimental meaning. Personal stories and experiences are intricately woven throughout the album’s title and songs, especially the album’s first single “Down Home,” which is a touching, heartfelt letter to Allen’s late father. “My first album is called Mercury Lane, the street I grew up on. The second album Bettie James Gold Edition is named after my dad and my grandma,” explains the Delaware native. “This album’s called Tulip Drive, named after
the street my grandma lived on in Delaware. It’s the first album where I’m writing a lot of personal songs...I actually wanted to do this album [where] everything is based off of a moment in my life…The music’s changing, but it’s still me. You have some country stuff, some country-country stuff, some pop-country stuff, some rock leaning stuff, some pop leaning stuff, some R&B leaning stuff, but the stories are still there. It’s still me. The same kind of music I made on Mercury Lane is the same stuff I’m making now – just a lot more mature; situations are different, the instrumentation might change a little bit in and out to keep it fresh. I’d say it’s just more me.”
With all of the projects Allen has excelled in, the “Down Home” singer and father of three knows that at the end of the day, it’s doing what he loves and being with who he loves that’s the most important. “It’s been really cool getting a chance to do a lot of different things, and getting recognition for it is cool, but the best part is getting to do what I love and provide for my family,” says Allen. “I want my legacy to be someone who cared about other people. Someone who made music he could be proud of, that his kids and wife would be proud of, and just someone [who] always looked for ways to be better.”
When asked if he could go back to the beginning of his career and tell himself one thing knowing everything he knows now, Allen’s answer is quite simple. “Keep going. You’re doing everything right,” he states. “I don’t have any regrets. I don’t wish a record deal would’ve come sooner because I wouldn’t have been ready. There’s so much I learned when I was trying to learn the business before I got a deal. I learned about publishing, how to read different kinds of contracts, booking agencies, business management, PROs…trying to understand things like merchandise, marketing, and really understanding the business. I wouldn’t change anything. I would just tell him: ‘Keep going.’”