By Tom Mailey
Jimmie Allen is one of the most talked-about new artists in country music that you haven’t heard of.
His debut single, “Best Shot”, on Broken Bow records (home of Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch) was this week’s most added song to country radio and many industry insiders believe he could be the format’s next big star.
And he kind of IS the whole package: good looking, great voice, charismatic and with a great backstory about perseverance and self-confidence that might make a good movie someday.
Jimmie is currently on a radio tour and recently his bus pulled into Sacramento. Pat and I were lucky enough to spend a few minutes with him and asked about his “overnight success”, which has been nearly ten years in the making. It’s not one we’d recommend for everyone…especially if you don’t want your credit rating to crater. But it worked for him.
Jimmie came to Nashville from his home state of Delaware in 2009, with barely a dime to his name.
“Not a lot of people know but you can fill up on credit, and they only charge you a dollar and it doesn’t hit your bank account til like two days later. So I just filled up on credit the whole way down to Nashville” he laughed. “And like a week later my account was like negative $200 but I didn’t care. I was like, I’ll pay ‘em back when I get some money”, adding, “I know it seems irresponsible, but I literally bet it all on myself”.
And boy, did he. Jimmie admits he basically ruined his credit but…he felt like it was the only way he could support his dream. “I think you have to be willing to do that. I feel like I can’t expect anyone else to bet on me…if I don’t spend my own money myself.”
He didn’t have enough money to afford an apartment so for six months, he slept in his car and never bothering to tell his mom. Whenever she’d call, if that’s where he was, Jimmie would turn up the volume on his little video/DVD player to make it sound like he was in his apartment. The last thing he needed, he said, was for her to be worried about him. During the day, he followed up on leads, knocked on doors, and tried to meet with as many people in the industry that would talk to him as he could. It was incredibly hard, he admits, but…“I just felt like as a man, it’s what I needed to do. I feel like a lot of times some people are … babied. And it’s impossible for someone to learn to grow, and trust themselves, you know, if a safety net is there.”
To hear more of Jimmie’s hard-earned wisdom—and how his all-in gamble on himself is finally paying off (including offers now rolling in from credit card companies), watch the video of our interview. And listen for Best Shot on KNCI soon!