On the heels of his critically-acclaimed project Bettie James, the chart-topping, platinum-selling recording artist and current ACM New Male Artist of the Year Jimmie Allen, released his new album Bettie James Gold Edition on June 25, 2021, via BBR Music Group/ Stoney Creek Records. The 16-track album doubles down on Allen’s expansive love for music across genres, with nine brand new collaborations in addition to the seven previously featured on Bettie James.
“When it comes to music I love, I don’t really get wrapped up in boundaries or genres. I thought we were gonna stop with the collaborations with Bettie James, and then I was like man, there’s so much music out there that I love, so many artists that I love, and I just wasn’t done,” Allen says of the impetus for Bettie James Gold Edition. “There’s some Pop, there’s some Rock, there’s some Country, there’s some R&B. I got a chance to work with legends! When I was writing some of the songs, I was trying to picture each moment. I went to each artist to work with them so they could be who they are on the song and bring their greatness to the song – I feel like that’s what makes the songs better. I’m super proud of the body of work of this album and can’t wait for people to hear it.”
With $21.00 in your bank account, you went and bought an air mattress, packed it up along with your clothes, and drove down to Nashville. Explain how overcoming this struggle has led you to where you are today.
Jimmie Allen: “It’s more about having confidence and believing in yourself. Life has obstacles, and no matter what those obstacles are, you have to find a way to get through them.”
Congratulations on being named ACM’s New Male Artist of the Year! How does it feel? What does it mean to you?
JA: “It feels great. Being able to win an award that is voted on by people in the music industry, in the country music industry, just really makes me feel like they appreciate what I’m doing and understand why I’m doing it. It’s such an honor.”
Your latest record, Bettie James Gold Edition, continues to pay homage to your late father, James, and grandmother, Bettie. Explain how these important figures in your life have influenced the music you create, and the drive you instill within yourself, to live out your dreams.
JA: “It’s all about everything they taught me. Believing in yourself, working hard, never quitting. That’s kind of everything I put into my shows when I’m choosing songs from my album, and just my day-to-day life. I take all the lessons they taught me and just apply them every day.”
The album features nine brand-new collaborations across a wide array of genres with artists of many generations. What was your initial goal when putting this record together? How did you decide on which songs went on the record, and artists to collaborate with? What have you learned from this experience? How humbling is it to know so many artists believe in the music you create and have taken the time to add their own “signature” to their respective collaborations?
JA: “My initial goal was just to make an album with a song on there for everyone, no matter what genre of music you love. When I was listening to a song, I just tried to visualize which artists’ voices I could picture on the song. I’ve learned that we all have a role to play in creating music and inspiring other people to create what they love as well. I have had so many artists who inspire me to do what I do, so hopefully, the music I make gives people encouragement to push the envelope and create what they want.”
The emotionally-driven ballad “Made For These,” is one I believe perfectly illustrates the journey you’ve led. Though you may not be religious, you are spiritual. Explain just how much a song like this means to you when looking back on how far you’ve come?
JA: “It means a lot. It’s one of those things where I wrote this from the perspective of now looking back, you know? Realizing what it was that kept me focused, realizing the times that I went through were worth it because of where I’m at today. I don’t think I would be where I am today without going through what I did.“
Much like “Made For These” is “Why Things Happen.” Though you’ve battled through some undesirable circumstances, have there been moments in time where you were able to look back and say to yourself, “if this hadn’t happened, I’m not sure I would’ve ended up in the same place I am today,” or at least recognize that certain things had to happen in order for you to experience all that you have?
JA: “I believe that in life, no matter what you choose or don’t choose, as long as you’re working toward something, everything kind of works out. You’ll meet who you meet and go where you’re supposed to go. I don’t have any moments where I think, ‘if this didn’t happen then the next thing wouldn’t happen.’”
You’ve recently announced Bettie James Fest on August 7th and will also be heading out on the road in support of Brad Paisley’s 2021 tour. How excited are you to get back to performing live music given the pandemic? What is it you miss most about performing in front of a live audience?
JA: “It’s fun to get back on tour, you know. We’ve missed it for a year. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there. Performing, I feel like, is what makes the song special. It really connects the audience to the song.”
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