Country music star Jimmie Allen took his rightful place in the genre after he debuted his catchy top-charting single “Best Shot.” The track first hit number one in its 4oth week (it was a slow climb up but still up), descended, and then rebounded back to the top. It was the first song on Country Airplay in a decade that returned to number one after sliding down the chart. And to make his debut even more remarkable, Allen was also the first Black artist to kick off a country career with a chart-topping single.
But just like his single, his life was built with a handful of ups and a little bit more downs. And here, we will know more about Allen before all of the fame he now receives and enjoys. Who was he, and who were his parents who helped him become who he is now?
1. Jimmie Allen was born and raised in Milton, Delaware.
James Edward Allen, also known as Jimmie Allen, was born on June 19, 1985, to parents James E. Allen and Angela Allen. He and his four sisters and two brothers are African-Americans. He was raised the fourth of seven kids, and he grew up in a small town in Milton, Delaware that had small problems. One time, their electricity was shut off, and his mother made the most fun out of it by having a living room campout. To Jimmie, his mom is a saint because of her strength and perseverance and also because of her choice of Christian music.
2. Jimmie Allen’s dad was the one who introduced him to country music.
In an interview with Taste of Country, Jimmie Allen said that his dad introduced country music to him through Aaron Tippin’s music. He was the family redneck – a small-town boy who played sports, went into the military, and listened to nothing but country music. Jimmie also added that if you ever change the dial on his radio, then you’ll surely get a punch in the forehead.
3. Aside from the love for country music, Jimmie and his dad also share a health condition.
When Jimmie was 21, at the cusp of his adulthood, he suffered a heart attack. But he wasn’t surprised at the very least, as it was a hereditary heart condition. According to the country artist, his dad had a heart attack at 22 and had to undergo a couple of bypass surgeries. And his grandfather also suffered from one at 23. Once it happens, the doctors already know what to do.
4. Jimmie moved to Nashville in 2007.
Jimmie decided to try his luck in country music and moved to Nashville. During the first few years of exploring opportunities, he often lived out of his car. And it was during this time that he really got to figure out how bad he wanted to be a singer. The struggles in his life were very difficult (he worked at a local gym and spent the rest of his time writing music and connecting with people), but at the same time, he was thankful that he went through them because they helped build his character and figure out who he was as a man and as an artist.
5. He auditioned for American Idol Season 10.
It was in 2011 that he caught a chance for a big break when he auditioned for the 10th season of American Idol. Unfortunately, he was cut before the live voting rounds. But through all these hardships, his dad was a constant presence reminding him not to quit and to keep moving forward.
6. Broken Bow Records signed him as an artist in 2017.
After a decade, Jimmie Allen finally got his big break. In a 2017 talent showcase for Broken Bow Records, he was signed to the music group’s Stoney Creek Records, where he released his chart-topping 2018 singles “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To” off his debut album ‘Mercury Lane’ which was taken from the name of the street where Jimmie lived as a child. According to BBR, the decision to sign Jimmie was one of the fastest they ever made.
And of course, Jimmie’s dad was one of the most excited for him. He also laughingly added that his dad thought that having a record deal meant he was living next to Trace Adkins and hanging out with Jason Aldean.
7. His dad passed away in September 2019.
Aside from the heart condition that they both suffered from, his dad also battled diabetes and lost a leg. Then in September 2019, just shortly after Jimmie Allen made it as one of the genre’s breakthrough artists, his dad passed away. He actually got the news when he was fishing at one of their favorite spots in Lewes (Roosevelt Inlet), and he decided to just do something they both enjoyed rather than go to the hospital and see his lifeless body.
8. He couldn’t listen to country music for two weeks after his dad passed away.
Jimmie Allen shared that for two weeks, he couldn’t listen to country music because it reminded him so much of his dad. And even on shows, there were some of his favorite songs (and also crowd favorites) that he couldn’t sing because every time he sang them, he just struggled. He even remembered that one show he did with Rascal Flatts, and he didn’t even finish the last song. He just greeted the crowd with a good night, then he walked off the stage. He just felt done that night.
9. His grandmother was an influential figure in his music.
Aside from his dad, his grandmother Bettie Snead was also an influential figure that shaped his music. During shows, you’ll probably see a purple scarf on his belt loop, which was his grandmother’s. And on his guitar strap is her name “Bettie”. He even wrote her a song called “Warrior,” and she inspired his hit single “Best Shot.”
Sadly, she passed away in 2014, a few years before his country career took off.
10. Jimmie Allen dedicated an EP for his late father and grandmother.
Family is definitely everything for Jimmie Allen. And so, to honor his late father James (whom he also called Big Jim) and his grandmother Bettie, he released a star-studded EP called ‘Bettie James’. In an exclusive interview with E! News, he shared that he kind of wanted to start leaving a legacy through his music. And both his father and grandmother inspired him so much to become the man he is today and the man he hopes to be one day.
Jimmie Allen is now happily married to Alexis Gale, a professional nurse. The two first met each other in the autumn of 2019 after they were introduced by the fiancee of Jimmie’s cousin. They were engaged a few months after and welcomed their first child Naomi Bettie Allen on March 1, 2020. He is also a father to 7-year-old Aadyn, a son from his previous relationship.