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In 2012 — five years after moving to Nashville to chase his dream of being a country artist — Jimmie Allen had little to show for his efforts. He was working multiple jobs to pay the rent, playing writers’ rounds when he could and taking gigs for tip money. He had already been tossed off American Idol.
Then one day, while searching through his attic for family photos, he found a “trashy” spiral notebook and began filling the empty pages with a list of very specific career goals: Land a publishing deal. Sign a record contract. Get a booking agency to expand his reach into movies and TV. Have No. 1 singles. Play sold-out stadiums. Sing with the world’s greatest musical icons, like Elton John.
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A decade later, Allen still has that notebook. And while he hasn’t quite finished checking off all of the items on that list, sure enough, they all seem to be coming true — from signing with BMG’s Stoney Creek/BBR imprint in 2017 to collaborating with John in 2021 — just like he predicted.
“Everything I accomplish, it doesn’t surprise me. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but I’m not surprised at all,” says Allen, leaning forward in his chair on the spacious fifth-floor patio of his record label as a soft rain falls over Nashville’s historic Music Row in late May. “It’s all part of this plan that has been written down.”
Read Jimmie Allen’s full Billboard cover story here, where the 37-year-old country star takes us inside his eclectic empire (and his obsession with bowling).