Jimmie Allen saw his star skyrocket in 2021, capping off a big year with a Grammy nomination in the all-genre Best New Artist category.
In a new interview with Billboard, he says the magnitude of that mention didn’t fully hit him until much later, during a conversation with a songwriter friend in the pop and R&B worlds.
“He said, ‘This nomination is bigger than you because you are a Black man from Delaware having success in country music,’” Jimmie remembers his friend saying. “‘Your Grammy nomination came from your success in country music, a genre of music that [people] don’t really associate Black people with too much. Win or lose, you have the ability here to inspire people that want to do something [similar], but they don’t see a lot of people that look like them.’”
Jimmie’s profile in the genre and beyond has also risen due to versatile collaborations. For example, the deluxe edition of his Bettie James album features guest spots from the likes of R&B singer-songwriter Babyface and pop/soul star Monica, as well as country stalwarts like Brad Paisley, whose duet with Jimmie, “Freedom Is a Highway,” is a country radio hit.
He’s not planning to slow his collaborations game down, either: Jimmie would love to team up with other out-of-genre artists like Will Smith and Stevie Wonder, plus country legends like Shania Twain.
“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are definitely two dream people on my list,” he adds. “There were rumors about her wanting to do a country song or a country record. Listen, Beyoncé: I’m here. Let’s get cracking.”
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