Jimmie Allen Isn’t Afraid of Saying ‘No’
Jimmie Allen's newest single, "Make Me Want To," tells the story of meeting someone special, and not being afraid to lay all his cards -- and feelings -- on the table. "It's a song about a guy that meets a girl, and he catches feelings, and he's not afraid to tell her, 'Hey, it might be too soon to say I love you, but you're gonna make me want to,'" he tells Taste of Country.
In his real-life relationships, Allen continues, he tries to adopt a similar straight-forwardness. "Because I'm a firm believe that in the beginning of a relationship, in the first three months, you know whether you wanna marry someone or not," he explains. "And I feel like a lot of times, I'm the type where if it ain't working, I'm gonna be like, 'Peace out.'"
This isn't brusqueness, Allen reasons, but rather a steady resolve to keep an eye on what's best for both parties. "'Cause I feel like it's not fair to them, because you know you don't wanna be with that person, and you're keeping them away from the person they should be with. And you waste your own time. So I feel like it's okay to be vulnerable."
Lessons learned in his past have shaped Allen's ability to be in touch with what's right for him, and quickly move on from the things that don't fit longterm. This goes for familial relationships as well as romantic ones. In an emotional moment, the singer brings up his maternal grandfather, who he says "wasn't the best husband," and left his wife to raise their children as a single mother.
"I just feel like there's certain things you should never do," Allen relates. "So I didn't really fool with my grandfather too much. He lived in California, and that was cool. Keep him on the other side of the country." While the memory is a painful one, the singer's takeaway is not to dwell on a relationship that didn't work, but rather to celebrate the strength his grandmother displayed in keeping the family together.
"You know, my grandma had to go through all that, plus still work three or four jobs to keep food on the table for four kids," he adds.
In his career, Allen has had to develop an unshakeable faith in who he is and the kind of music he makes. A black artist striving to make it in an overwhelmingly white genre, he faced his share of doubt and bias from the industry. Even so, he knew his place was in country, and he had to walk away from great opportunities because he knew they wouldn't ultimately fit his musical style.
In fact, an L.A. label once approached Allen wanting to sign a band that he was in at the time, but the vision they had for his music didn't match his. "They said, 'Alright, you can't wear your boots ever. And you can't talk about your small town.' So I was like, 'What am I supposed to do?'" Allen recalls with a laugh.
"Country is the one format where I could be completely me. I could be the guy that's, yeah, I'm from a small country town, but I've had the privilege to travel, and get into different fashions, and different musical tastes," Allen goes on to say. "Country was kinda the one place that embraced every part of me, you know?"
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