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His Best Shot 

After an incredibly successful debut album, Mercury Lane, singer Jimmie Allen’s career continues to soar. His first single, “Best Shot,” landed in the top spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Shortly thereafter, his second single, “Make Me Want To,” was equally as successful, making Allen the first Black artist to launch a country career with two consecutive No. 1 hit songs.

In 2020, Allen released a star-studded collaboration EP Bettie James, named for his late grandmother and late father. The critically acclaimed project features hit songs “Freedom Was a Highway,” “This is Us” and “Why Things Happen.” Last summer, Allen released the project’s follow-up album Bettie James Gold Edition featuring nine new songs including collaborations with artists such as Babyface, Little Big Town, Keith Urban and Pitbull. Allen took home both the ACM New Male Artist of the Year award and CMA New Artist of the Year in 2021. He is currently nominated for Best New Artist at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards in 2022 and is an Outstanding New Artist nominee for the 53rd NAACP Image Awards.

In addition to songwriting, Allen recently authored a children’s book, My Voice Is a Trumpet—a powerful story about speaking up for what you believe in, at any age. Allen also serves as executive music producer for the Netflix series Titletown High. His song “Big in a Small Town” is the theme song for the series. Allen was also a contestant on Dancing with the Stars’ landmark 30th season, reaching the quarterfinals.

Originally from Delaware, Allen currently lives in Nashville with his wife, Alexis, and their children. Last month, he embarked on his first headline tour, Down Home Tour 2022, and he will be taking the stage at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras later this month. Often drawing inspiration from Walt Disney World, Allen is a frequent visitor to Central Florida.

Orlando Family Magazine recently spoke to the multi-platinum recording artist and songwriter about his love of music, family, and the Orlando theme parks.

When did you first become interested in music? Did you always want to be a country music singer?

Ever since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to be a singer and an entertainer.

In 2010, you auditioned for American Idol. What did you learn from that experience?

I learned that there are a lot of great singers in the world, and you always want to work to get better. Don’t look at people like competition, but inspiration.

You worked with Darius Rucker and the late Charley Pride on the hit song “Why Things Happen.” How did that collaboration come about? What was it like to work with such legends?

Darius and Charley have been inspirations of mine for years, not only because of what they’ve done in the country music format but also who they are as men. I reached out to Darius and Charley, told them I had an idea for a song, and they both said yes.

During the pandemic, you took out a substantial loan to ensure that your band and crew were not without money. What prompted such generosity?

Wanting to meet a need that I saw, and realizing my band and my crew are my family, and you don’t just stand by and watch your family struggle when there’s something you can do about it.

You danced beautifully on the most recent season of Dancing with the Stars and dedicated an emotion-filled dance routine to your late father. Can you tell us a little about your dad?

My dad inspired me to be the best version of myself but also taught me to never make excuses, to find ways to succeed even when the obstacles in front of me are designed for [my] failure.

You have shared that you are a big fan of Walt Disney World. You proposed to your wife in front of Cinderella Castle and had a gender reveal party at Disney’s Beach Club resort. Where does your love of Disney World stem from?

My love of Disney World started with being a fan of who Walt Disney was as an innovator, a creator. Then I fell in love with the magic of the place. I visit 4-7 times a year.

On March 26, you will be performing at Universal Orlando Mardi Gras. How excited are you for that? 

I’m looking forward to it; I try to go to Universal’s Mardi Gras every year, and I’m excited to take the stage.

With your performance at Universal Studios and your love of Disney World, will you check out the theme parks while you are in town? 

I will definitely check out the theme parks. That is a must.

Aside from your current tour, do you have any upcoming plans?

Continuing to make music and work on this new album.