5 Ways Jimmie Allen Showed His Perseverance at ‘Best Shot’ No. 1 Party
Reaching the top of the charts with a debut single is an impressive feat for any artist. But Jimmie Allen's trek to No. 1 with "Best Shot" is even more admirable when considering the adversity he faced getting there.
Living homeless out of his car while facing constant rejection from the music industry, Allen overcame every obstacle in his path to become one of country music's brightest new voices. He's a symbol of perseverance, and while celebrating his first No. 1 hit at a special Nashville party Jan. 22, he opened up about the sign that encouraged him to keep pursuing music, how his newfound success correlates to his family and how he feels about diversity in country music. Here are five quotes from his discussion that epitomize his career journey.
1. "I was throwing out the craziest requests that won't be fulfilled to give me an excuse to quit."
Allen can attest to life as a struggling musician. After years of hearing that he was too country for pop and too pop for country, the young star was on the verge of giving up on music entirely. But one day he asked for a sign from the universe to decipher whether he should continue on his path. "I need a trophy, something I can hold on to," he manifested.
In the days following, Allen attended an L.A. Kings hockey game, the same night the team happened to be celebrating its Stanley Cup win. "As soon as I walk into the game and walk up to the suite, they're handing out these replica rings," he says, pointing to the Stanley Cup ring on his finger. "So for me, that was my sign just to keep going to every show, every interview. I always wear this ring as a constant reminder when I have moments I want to quit and I don't feel like going or don't feel like I have anything worth saying. It reminds me that I do."
2. "You can't blame other people for dreams you don't chase."
One of the most important people in Allen's life is his grandmother, who introduced him to country music, and instilled unwavering strength in him. Just as importantly, she encouraged him to keep fighting for his dreams regardless of obstacles.
"She used to tell me—'Life, you have this one and this is it, and whatever you decide to do with it is your choice. No matter how risky it may be, do what makes you happy.' And she knew music did that for me," he reflects.
She passed away in 2014, and the singer still keeps the purple scarf she used to wear in his back pocket when he's on stage. Allen also wears a feather in his hat each night to honor her Native American heritage, and plans to sell purple scarves at his merchandise table to keep her memory alive.
3. "Every time I achieve a little success, the first thing that pops in mind: How can this benefit my son?"
In addition to being a rising country star, Allen is also father to his 4-year-old son Aadyn. He admits that while it's hard to be away from him while on the road for weeks at a time, he knows the effort he's putting into his passion is sending an important message to his son about achieving one's aspirations.
"For me, it's creating a stable environment financially for him," Allen explains. "Past the monetary side, [it's] just more of an example of if you work hard enough, long enough and you're good to people, eventually you'll find people that are willing to work hard for you...It's cool to have a little bit of success to where all of that time I spent away from him last year kind of paid off."
4. "You realize our first show together is history."
Country music has long suffered from lack of diversity, and so Allen's success is important—not only for him, but the genre at large. Allen is only the second African-American artist to reach the pinnacle spot on the charts with his debut single (behind Darius Rucker) and the first to launch a country career with a No. 1 hit.
As he tours the country on Kane Brown's Live Forever Tour, Allen recognizes what it means for country music to have two hit making, multi-racial artists filling up arenas. "I was actually texting Kane that the other day. I said 'Bro, you realize our first show together is history because someone said there's never been two black country artists that have ever toured together," he notes.
5. "If you don't know what patience is and faith, you will quickly learn it."
Allen spent a decade in Nashville before he had his breakthrough, and he admits there were many times he was frustrated watching "Best Shot" fluctuate on the charts. But with encouragement from radio programmers, and a supportive team around him who knew the song would have its moment, he gained both patience and faith.
"We thought we had a cool song, but for radio programmers to tell me, 'Jimmie, this song is going to work, you just gotta give it time...If you don't know what patience is and faith, you will quickly learn it. Not only patience in yourself, but patience and faith in your team, the people you have working the song."
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