The Untold Truth Of Jimmie Allen

Jimmie Allen has only been on the mainstream country scene since 2018, but the singer has already made a habit of topping the charts — not to mention stealing our hearts. But who really is Jimmie Allen? How did he get to where he is today? Like all his fellow country artists who try to make it in Nashville, Allen has quite the backstory, so hang tight as we walk you through the major milestones of his life pre- and post-fame.

The "Make Me Want To" crooner has become a true inspiration for fans everywhere, thanks not only to his music, but also to his inspirational attitude to success. Trust us, his personal philosophy is sure to leave its mark on you; this award-winning, critically acclaimed country singer is a real force for good. Here is what you need to know about Jimmie Allen, the man, the musician, the dance floor legend.

Jimmie Allen was super close to his dad

Jimmie Allen owes his career in part to someone very close to him: his father. "My dad was like 'son, just grab your guitar and just write songs that you love and that best express you,'" he told Sounds Like Nashville. "'Stick to it and eventually you will find the right team.'" Sadly, Allen's dad passed away in 2019. In a since-deleted Instagram post (via Country Now), the singer paid tribute to "Big Jim" with an emotional caption. "I love you dad and I'm thankful for the time we had," he wrote. "Wherever you are now I hope I showed you I love you and how much you mean to me."

Since his passing, "Big Jim" has missed many of the big milestones in his son's life, such as his triumphant appearance at the ACM Awards in 2021 and his stint on "Dancing With the Stars." Allen even dedicated one of his performances on the reality competition show to his father. Posting about it on Instagram, he wrote, "Miss you every single day dad."

Jimmie Allen lived in his car for a while

Jimmie Allen may be one of the brightest stars in country music these days, and he had to grind hard to get to where he is; overnight success he was not. As he told Rolling Stone, he lived in Nashville for 10 years before finding stardom. "I lived in this trailer for a couple months," he told Billboard. "I had a pet mouse for like, a week. [Laughs.] After that, I lived in my car for a little bit."

Even though he went hungry and struggled to secure housing, that wasn't what bummed the artist out the most. "The physical thing didn't bother me," he said in Sounds Like Nashville. "For me, it was more mentally tough because for years I've always known what I wanted and how hard I was willing to work. But my frustration came from other people not seeing it." Luckily, people did end up seeing it: One day in 2016, someone from his entourage invited Allen to a writers' round. "After the show, [songwriter and Wide Open Music founder] Ash Bowers comes up to me and says, 'Hey man, do you have a deal?'" he told Billboard. And the rest is history.

American Idol didn't work out for Jimmie Allen

Like many hopeful rising stars in music, Jimmie Allen tried his hand at "American Idol." Allen competed on the show in 2011 and was eliminated before the Top 24 — but that's still a pretty impressive achievement. "They told me that I was very unique, and my style, it goes against the grain," the country singer told Cape Gazette at the time. "They just said to keep doing what I do, and things will work out. They never really said why I didn't make it."

But 2011 didn't mark the end of Jimmie Allen's "American Idol" journey. Ten years later, the singer had the opportunity to perform on the show as a celebrity guest — quite the turnaround for someone who was previously given the boot by the judges. When he returned, Allen felt this paradox keenly. "Going back this time singing, you know, my own music this time, I still felt like I was being judged," he told guest host tWitch on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "I was nervous, like 'they're about to send me home again.'"

Allen's "American Idol" comeback is a true demonstration of his deeply held philosophy: that you should never give up on the things that mean a lot to you. "Someone telling us 'No' doesn't stop our dream . . . we stop our dream," he wrote alongside a now-deleted Instagram video showing his rejection (via iHeart). "Never stop fighting, never stop dreaming. Believe in yourself, you can rise from the ashes."

Scotty McCreery is a close friend

Although Jimmie Allen didn't make it to the live show when he competed on "American Idol," he did find something perhaps even better: lasting friendship. While on the show, Allen met the one and only Scotty McCreery, who ended up making it all the way to the end of the season and taking home the crown. Speaking of meeting Allen, McCreery told ABC News, "we were both on the show and we were all in a circle, just playing guitar singing songs and Jimmie was there, and I was like, 'Man, this guy, he's got the goods for sure.' So, we do go back."

In 2018, Allen and McCreery toured together, an experience which bonded them even further. Commenting on this development, Allen said in The Boot, "you don't often find artists that not only you respect, but who have the same morals and stuff like that." He continued, "I feel like once you tour with somebody, you tie your name with them, and however they are, people associate that with you."

Fatherhood is everything to Jimmie Allen

Jimmie Allen's success isn't just for himself. He wants to be a role model for the people he cares about the most. As a father to three kids, he feels a responsibility to his family. Revealing the inspiration behind his hit song "Best Shot" to Billboard in 2018, Allen said, "We wanted to write a song about taking each day as an opportunity to be better for a person you have in your life. I have a [four-year-old] son, so for me, every day is an opportunity to be a better dad." But there are other people in his life for whom Allen wants to be his best self and always try to reach for his dreams. "I have siblings that look up to me, so the fear of them giving up on their dream because I gave up on mine is what kept me going for so many years," he added.

To help inspire kids everywhere to reach their full potential, Allen even wrote a children's book named "My Voice is a Trumpet." "Being a father of two kids, I try to encourage them to be themselves and love everyone around them," he told Sounds Like Nashville in June 2021. "I'm hoping this book inspires at least one child and they always remember their voice is a trumpet."

He's addressed race issues in country music

Unfortunately, Black country singers are still few and far between — but things are slowly changing. Jimmie Allen makes a point of speaking out about race whenever he has the opportunity, perhaps in part because he almost didn't try his hand at country music because he is Black. "Growing up listening to country music, I loved it. It's all my dad listened to," he told People in 2021. "My dad was like, 'Well, you should be a country singer,' and I was like, 'Yeah, nah, they're all white. I don't know if they let people like me even sing country music.'" But Allen's father introduced him to Black country artist Charley Pride's music, and he understood in that moment that he could do it too.

Allen addressed diversity in his song "All Tractors Ain't Green." He sings, "I learned back when I was young / Be who you are and know where you're from / And we ain't got to be just alike / Not everything is black or white." When Billboard asked the singer why he believes diversity should be a crucial consideration for the genre, he explained, "I feel like country music fans have always wanted it. There's a lot of black people that are listening to country music." But even though country still leaves much to be desired when it comes to diversity, "As a black man in country music, people have shown me nothing but love," Allen added.

Pushing the boundaries of country

Obviously, Jimmie Allen is a country singer. That said, he doesn't like to be confined by the genre and instead seeks inspiration for his music wherever his heart takes him. To that end, he has made a point to collaborate with not only country artists such as Mickey Guyton, Tim McGraw or Little Big Town, but also with stars from other genres like Nelly and Pitbull. "I was raised on country music and I love country music," Allen told Billboard. "So I want to keep expanding because I want people to feel the love and joy that I feel from being a part of country music. It's a way for country to remain country, but you can still include other people. That's how you grow the country world."

Allen is excited for the future of country music, a future which he believes will be more inclusive in every way. He recognizes that lots of his fellow country stars are testing the limits of the genre these days, and experimenting with different sounds to keep things fresh. "We're still country boys doing the music, but our influences are different than a lot of the artists that we grew up listening to in country," Allen said in Rolling Stone of himself and his contemporaries. "I feel like now it's more acceptable to make country music with more of a progressive, pop-rock production to it."

How much is he worth?

Jimmie Allen may have lived in his car in order to make it in Nashville, but the singer is doing rather well for himself these days. According to Exact Net Worth, Allen is worth roughly $1.5 million, a sum which will no doubt keep growing as he continues to rack up hit after hit. His first album, "Mercury Lane," included two number one songs, the now-cult tracks "Best Shot" and "Make Me Want To," and he has also released the albums "Bettie James" and "Bettie James Gold Edition" since then, according to his official website. Allen also sells merch on said site, which can only contribute to his paycheck.

The singer has also toured with the likes of Scotty McCreery and Brad Paisley, and played country festivals including Stagecoach and Country to Country in Germany. Additionally, his time on "Dancing With the Stars" could bring in a nice pile of cash: As Variety reported in 2019, sources said show contestants earn a minimum of $125,000.

Jimmie Allen will never forget where he came from

Jimmie Allen grew up in Lewes, Delaware, where he attended Cape Henlopen High School and played basketball. Even living in Nashville, Allen still likes to go back to Delaware — at least he liked to in 2011. "I haven't been home in a while, so it will be good to just get home and relax and be around people I know," he told Cape Gazette that year.

Even as he was making it big in the capital of country music, Allen wanted to honor his roots. That's why he titled his first album, "Mercury Lane," after the street where his childhood home could be found. "The album encompasses life lessons: being patient, staying motivated, and also just having a good time," he said in Billboard in 2018. "I was taught all of those qualities while living on Mercury Lane. What better way than naming an album the place that helped me become the man I am today?"

The Allens had a secret wedding

Jimmie Allen inscribed himself in a long-held celebrity tradition by getting secretly married to his wife Alexis "Lexi" Gale (now Allen) long before their "official" wedding. As far as the public was concerned, the couple said "I do" in May 2021, but that wasn't the full story. "We haven't officially announced this, but we've actually been married for a year," Gale told People in August 2021. "We got married on his birthday — June 18 — last year. Actually being publicly Mr. and Mrs. has been really exciting! I thought it was going to be the same, but I feel like it's a new honeymoon stage for us. We get to wear our rings out in public."

Allen and Gale are so cute together, and nothing proved it better than their incredibly romantic proposal at Disney World. After the proposal, Allen told People, "Her smile melts me, her pure heart challenges me to love better, the way she motivates and supports me is unlike anything I've ever seen, the way she loves me and my son is unlike anything I've ever experienced." Aww, we're the ones melting here. 

Allen isn't the only one who likes to gush, though. "I am so incredibly proud of all of your accomplishments and to be able to stand by your side through it all has been such a blessing," Gale wrote on Instagram to accompany a picture of her and her husband at the CMA Awards in 2020. Adorable.

Making history at the ACMs

In 2021, at the 56th ACM Awards — that's Academy of Country Music Awards for the uninitiated — Jimmie Allen became the first Black artist to win New Male Artist of the Year. The singer understands all too well just how significant that is. "I feel like representation is so important, so to see artists like Mickey Guyton doing her thing, Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, Willie Jones, Breland, Brittany Spencer, Tiera — it's just so many that are starting to come to this genre of music, doing it their way, having their own sound, and I love to see it," he told People after his historic win.

That said, Allen rightfully takes the time to question why it took so long for a milestone like this one to materialize. "On one half, it feels great," he told tWitch on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "The other half is kinda sad that, you know, we're in 2021, and kinda still talking about that, so my thing, man, it just shows the growth of the country music genre, where we're heading, and hopefully the next couple of years it'll be like every other genre where it's not really about your skin color." Allen just wants himself and his fellow nonwhite country artists to be seen for who they really are and the art they create.

Memorable moves on Dancing With the Stars

Jimmie Allen has gotten some pretty cool opportunities throughout his career, culminating with his appearance on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2021 with dance partner Emma Slater. Always one to play with the unexpected, as pointed out by Country Living, Allen kicked off the show by dancing a tango to a song by Timbaland — which isn't something that happens every day, that's for sure.

Allen isn't shy about his love for Disney, so "Dancing With the Stars" was without a doubt the TV show for him. For the Disney Heroes Night, he and Slater danced the paso doble to the "Mulan" song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" (and ended up winning that night's Mickey Dance Challenge), but one of his true crowning glories came on Disney Villains' Night when they did a "Peter Pan" jazz routine set to Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy." Posting a video of the performance on Instagram, Allen wrote, "Captain Hook vs Tinker Bell a fight for the crown of Neverland!!! My partner @theemmaslater is a genius and I'm so lucky to be working with her." For us, though, it's the neon pink outfits the pair wore on Britney Night while dancing to "Outrageous" that won't be soon forgotten.