Jimmie Allen leaves no home for interpretation when he says country music isn’t really racist. His Grammy nomination in the Most effective New Artist category proves it, he insists.
Conversing to Evan Paul on Flavor of Country Nights, the “Liberty Was a Freeway” singer was requested how he learned of his Grammy nomination. The 2022 Grammy nominations came final November, just as Allen was getting ready to rehearse for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. His publicist woke him up to share the information. You can listen to the entire trade commencing at about 8:55:
“And then when she advised me the classification, it’s the Ideal New Artist,” Allen recalls. “And which is all-style, and I’m the only country artist in that style.”
Saweetie, Olivia Rodrigo, Arlo Parks and Finneas are 4 additional of the 10 nominees in total in the class. The Grammys will air dwell on CBS on April 3.
It’s not unheard of for a country artist to be included in this classification — Ingrid Andress (2021), Luke Combs (2019), Margo Rate (2019) and Maren Morris (2017) have all been nominated in current a long time. Zac Brown Band was the final state act to win the New Artist Grammy, in 2010.
“What my buddy said makes it a huge offer,” Allen states. “He said, ‘Jimmie, feel about it. You are a Black guy that’s nominated for a Grammy, for the reason that of the good results you had in region music … Your story correct there is killing the narrative — the false narrative — that people today have that region songs is racist.’”
“It is not,” he states subject-of-factly, “Due to the fact if that was correct, I would not have my vocation. I would not have my Grammy nomination. My Grammy nomination didn’t arrive from hip-hop, did not come from R&B, didn’t occur from rock — it came from my good results in nation audio simply because region radio, nation family members has supported me. And just that, right there on your own, can inspire so numerous individuals and bring so quite a few persons together and get started to see that there’s more enjoy than detest out there.”
Allen has never shied away from speaking about challenges of race in region audio, and has, in the past, acknowledged complications within just the genre. In 2018, he spoke to the Guardian about range in nation new music, noting that historically speaking, “Country music came from Black folks — it all commenced with the blues and bluegrass.”
He also noted that he thought Black artists began to get edged out of place new music in the 2nd half of the 20th century, with Motown audio getting to be the target for a lot of Black musicians, though Charley Satisfaction and Ray Charles — each Black guys — discovered success in nation.
“In state tunes, we are even now at the rear of the moments,” Allen advised the publication at the time. “Outside the house of place new music, it would not be new to any individual to be a Black pop artist or a white rapper, but this genre is distinct.”
In 2018, Allen experienced just scored his first No. 1 nation airplay hit with “Ideal Shot.” He followed that up with a different termed “Make Me Want To,” and then released “This Is Us” with Noah Cyrus, a music that failed to crack the Top rated 40. “Freedom Was a Highway” — a duet with Brad Paisley — is at No. 3 on Mediabase’s region airplay chart this 7 days. The song appears on the expanded edition of Allen’s Bettie James EP, produced in 2021.
None of these wins arrived rapidly for Allen, an artist who — following moving to Nashville in 2007 — used a 10 years on the lookout for his crack, as numerous do. “At to start with, issues were not heading my way,” he advised the Guardian. “I was a little something new — no a person was likely to just take a possibility on a Black artist from Delaware.”
In 2022, when conversing about tough topics like race in nation music, Allen keeps it optimistic and preaches like. This was never ever a lot more apparent than in the months soon after Morgan Wallen was caught employing the N-term on digicam. The industry correctly banished Wallen for several months, but Allen told Bobby Bones he’d been talking to Wallen daily, offering assist and empathy, while not condoning his actions.
More recently, Allen confirmed up in support of Mickey Guyton, who on Jan. 8 publicized a message she’d acquired from a person upset that she was pursuing country new music as a vocal Black woman.
“All you people converse about is your god damn race and skin shade,” the human being stated, in aspect.
“Oh you know … just a further Saturday for us,” Allen commented. “That simple fact that he took time out of his day to produce this when getting a movie recreation have his profile pic … he is a joke. Appreciate sis.”
This strategy that a team (in this case, place songs as a style) can be not racist but even now shelter racists is at the center of the conversation about race in nation audio. The structure has been good to Allen, but he is a unicorn, some thing he freely admits. In March 2021, SongData released a review termed “Redlining in Nation Songs: Illustration in the State Audio Business (2000-2020)” that comes to some obvious conclusions: Black, indigenous or individuals of coloration (BIPOC) make up considerably less than 4 per cent of the commercial region marketplace. This team receives 2.3 per cent of the airplay, with 96 p.c of that slice heading to men. Just 2.3 p.c of ACM Awards nominees and 1.6 p.c of CMA Awards nominees are persons of shade (information as quoted in the Tennessean).
Allen has won New Artist of the Year awards at equally the ACM Awards and CMA Awards. It truly is not very clear if he’ll look or perform at the 2022 Grammy Awards this spring. On Monday (Feb. 7), he was introduced as a co-host of the 2022 ACM Awards alongside Gabby Barrett and Dolly Parton.
All through the full Flavor of Country Evenings, On Desire job interview, Allen also talks about new audio he’s working on, as properly as the numerous television productions he’s a aspect of.