Jimmie Allen on his 2021 chart and his impact in country music – Billboard

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Jimmie Allen technically hasn’t released a new album in 2021, but his Rolodex has grown dramatically anyway: the country singer-songwriter welcomed Monica and Babyface to last year’s Deluxe Edition. Bettie james album and teamed up with Elton John on “Beauty in the Bones,” which was included on Pop Legend Confinement sessions. Allen has also won long-awaited awards, taking home the Academy of Country Music (ACM) New Male Artist of the Year and Country Music Association (CMA) New Artist of the Year, as well as the Grammy. for the best new artist. name.

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Although he became one of the most exciting emerging artists in the genre, music was just one of the many creative endeavors he led this year: he launched his Bettie James imprint through Sony Music Publishing, with its own management and production company, JAB Entertainment; he produced music for the Netflix series Titretown High; published a children’s book; and found the time to compete on Dancing with the stars. “When I was a kid my dream was never to be just a musician,” says Allen. “He had to be an artist – and an artist covers all aspects. “

What do these rewards mean to you personally?

Especially with the ACM and the CMA, for me these victories were a matter of acceptance. Winning an award voted on by the country music industry means they accept me as a creator and artist. With the Grammy nomination, I was talking to a friend of mine, a pop and R&B writer. He said, “This nomination is more important than you because you are a successful black man from Delaware in country music. Your Grammy nomination is due to your success in country music, a genre of music that you do not know about. don’t associate black people too much. Win or lose, here you have the ability to inspire people who want to do something [similar], but they don’t see a lot of people who look like them. It was then that I really understood how important this appointment was.

After getting two # 1 on Billboardof Country Airplay’s rankings, you could score a third with Brad Paisley’s “Freedom Was a Highway” collaboration. How did this twinning come about?

I wrote this song about growing up in my hometown and recorded it solo over a year before it was released. [Bettie James]. I’ve been listening to Brad’s music for years, so I reached out and he said yes. Having it on this song means a lot to me, and I thank country radio for playing it because in country music, without country radio, we don’t have a career. There would be no Grammy nomination without country radio.

Who else would you like to collaborate with?

Will Smith – I want Will to start rapping again. I already wrote a song that I need to get Drake to play. Shania Twain, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder… a lot of artists are chasing artists who are hot right now, but there is something special about working with artists who have inspired the artists we listen to today. Beyoncé and JAY-Z are definitely two people on my dream list. There were rumors that she wanted to do a country song or a country record. Listen, Beyoncé: I’m here. Let’s go crack.

You recently started a music publishing company as well as a management and production company. What other business and creative goals do you have?

I signed a [management/production deal for] country duo Neon Union. I want to get my own imprint via a large label and sign them. I want to play Aaron Burr in Hamilton. I want to do sitcoms, make movies, have my own talk show. So that, and keep spinning and releasing music.

This story originally appeared in the December 18, 2021 issue of Billboard.

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