Jimmie Allen’s new album “Tulip Drive” is out now, and the singer admits he put a lot of thought – maybe too much – into making it.
He told Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen that he is “more of a freestyle kind of writer” and says he goes into the booth and just starts to freestyle.
“I just get in the booth and say what I feel,” he says. “If I get something, it’ll come out. If I love it, I’ll write that down.”
Sometimes, he said, he gets stuck in his head too much and finds himself overthinking, which prevents him from living in the moment.
“The world and everything around you is progressing,” he said. “And you’re still stuck here worried about something you can’t change and never will change. Instead of just, ’Hey, handle it the best way you can and move on.’ I look at it like sports. Our coach used to always tell us, ’Don’t worry about the last shot… You take the shot; it’s over.'”
Allen took a different kind of chance when he was writing “Tulip Drive.” It’s the first album of his career where every song on the project is tied to a personal experience. He said every track had to be “very specific” and that even the songs he didn’t write feel like they were written for him.
“I wanted to have this record be the first one where it was a real personal record,” he said. “Because all the songs before, love songs, whatever were written about other people’s relationships, TV shows. This one, I’m writing about relationships from high school, some from college, and some from after college.”
“Settle on Back” is a different type of song. Allen wrote it about his bipolar disorder. When his dad was alive, Allen said he was the one who could help him calm down. His dad would take him fishing or hunting and help ground him.
“Kind of like the same thing with Kanye West,” he said. “His mom Donda was that for him. Like a lot of people with mental issues has one person in their life that they have the strong connection with, that one person that would never be duplicated. When that person’s gone, I’m kind of stuck. For me, now that song, I wrote it about what I do when I feel frustrated, or the entertainment business is too much, or when I have my bipolar breaks. I go home. I fish. I go hang out with people that know me as Jimmy with a Y. Because I used to spell my name J-I-M -M-Y. I switched it to I-E from my grandma because she spelled Betty B-E-T-T-I-E.”
Allen is a dad now, and he wrote “You Won’t Be Alone” for his son Aadyn more than three years ago. He saved a voice recording from when Aadyn was 4 years old and used it in the song.
“I just wanted to write a song just about, no matter what you go through in life, son, you won’t do it alone,” Allen said. “I’ll always be here for you. And even when I’m no longer on this earth, and all the memories that we’ve shared, the things that I taught him that were taught to me will always be with him. So he’ll have a piece of me no matter where he goes.”
On the other end of the spectrum, his Jennifer Lopez duet “On My Way” took him by surprise. Allen had met Lopez a couple of times but never expected a friend from her entourage to send him the song and ask if he wanted to sing it with her.
“I said, ’Heck yeah, bro. Like what kind of question is that?'” Allen said. “So I went, recorded it, sent it back, let them do their thing. They said they liked it. Cool. Then I looped in everyone else and said, Hey, I did this song with J-Lo.’ Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”
Allen’s “Tulip Drive” is available now.