Jimmie Allen had plenty of people to thank as he celebrated his No. 1 debut single, “Best Shot,” at an industry party at Nashville hot spot The Local. There were his co-writers, Josh London and J.P. Williams, along with his Broken Bow Records label and management team. But mostly, he could extend the biggest thank-you’s to his grandmother and young son, whom Allen credits for inspiring the uplifting tune.
Allen, London and Williams fielded questions from the media prior to the party and recalled the evolution of “Best Shot,” which apparently began life as an up-tempo tune. “It was like Nickelback meets FGL,” Allen quipped. One evening at a Bluebird Cafe show in Nashville, Allen played a slower version of the song with just an acoustic guitar and knew he had found the right tempo. Co-writer Williams sensed that they had a hit on their hands after completing the process. “It just had that special something to it,” he noted.
Allen’s difficult road from poverty to country success has been well documented. He moved to Nashville in 2007 and endured tough economic times, failing to land a record deal and being turned down for TV’s “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.” But after scoring a publishing deal, Allen performed a showcase for Broken Bow, which signed him to a contract with the label’s Stoney Creek imprint. He released an EP in early 2018, followed by his first full-fledged album, Mercury Lane, this past October. “If you don’t know what patience is,” Allen said in earnest, “you will quickly learn it. Not only for yourself but the patience and faith in your team.”
The perseverance taught to him by his parents and his grandmother pulled him through, Allen told the media members. “That is where I get my strength from, my parents,” he said. “My dad was in the military and he’s a man’s man. If it breaks, he can fix it.” His mother supported his dream of making it in the music world.
Allen’s grandmother was also a source of strength, encouraging him to make the most of life. “She was into music and always told me to chase it, and don’t quit,” Allen recalled. “She said that you can’t blame other people for the chances you don’t take. No matter how risky it may be, do what makes you happy.” As a tribute to his grandmother, who died in 2014, Allen carries a special purple scarf around his belt loop. It was the scarf she always wore when the two would spend time together fishing or picking strawberries. Allen displayed the scarf for the media members, providing a touching moment.
The No. 1 achievement made Allen the first black artist to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart with a debut song. “Best Shot” also marked the first No. 1 for all three writers. During the ceremony, Allen, London and Williams received plaques and accolades from their publishers, the SESAC and BMI performing rights organizations and the Country Music Association. Next up for Allen is the Live Forever Tour with Kane Brown along with his follow-up single, “Make Me Want To.”