A Talk with Jimmie Allen

Several times a week, people reach out to us and ask who sings the songs in our commercials. The answer: Jimmie Allen with Colour of London. Jimmie Allen is a natural-born, self-taught musician, singer and songwriter, originating from Lewes, Delaware. Only three years out of high school, in 2007, Jimmie relocated to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue his passion.

Living out of a rented trailer, he focused on his calling while in search of a full-time job. Several months later, however, his dream was crushed after learning his trailer had to be sold, forcing Jimmie to live out of his car. For the next year, Jimmie bounced around several odd jobs, without being able to focus of his music, before meeting a fellow musician who recognized that Jimmie had a real talent to share with the world. This musician ignited the courage in Jimmie to return to music and with this new motivation, Jimmie concentrated his talents on a new sound.

The soothing and firey tones of Jimmie’s voice captured the listeners of American Idol, where he made the TOP 40 out of 176,000 auditions in Season 10. Jimmie was ultimately cut before the TOP 24 contestants were announced, but still got to go on tour in Japan with his fellow TOP 40 contestants singing and performing original songs throughout the country.

Since Idol, Jimmie’s musical journey is booming, as he stays determined and continues to believe in his music and in his dream. His personality and talent is so contagious, that Alex and Ani CEO Giovanni Feroce could see and hear it. Having kept in contact following an introduction several years prior, in 2011 Jimmie was introduced to Alex and Ani Founder and Creative Director Carolyn Rafaelian. Carolyn easily fell in love with Jimmie’s sound and passion and, a few months later, his signature song, “Beautiful Day,” was recorded for the brand’s lifestyle video and was also featured in Alex and Ani retail stores.

Jimmie currently performs with newly formed band, Colour of London, where they are presently on tour.

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Q: You’re a self-taught musician. How did you assess your talent growing up?
A: It was more about how my mom couldn’t afford it. So she would buy me an instrument and I would teach myself. With the guitar, I picked my two favorite songs in each genre of music and listened to them over and over. I’d go through the chords, find them and try to figure out the sound. I did the same thing with the drums and piano. When I started picking it up and realized other people tried to do the same thing and took longer, I thought: “Maybe I can do this professionally one day.”

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration in life and why?
A: My mother, a guy named Mike Tate, and Rob Thomas. My mom because she was always a fighter. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but she always found a way to give us food, shelter and make us better. Mike Tate [he was with DC Talk; now he’s with Newsboys] is an African American man and did this whole rock thing. Rob Thomas for his writing style and delivery. He has an incredible ability to translate that to the audience.

Q: What made you decide to try out for “American Idol?” What did you learn most from that experience?
A: I lost a bet with one of my friends and if I lost I had to try out. Through that experience, I met a lot of cool people that work for the show and the contestants. There’s also producers that I’ve stayed friends with.

Q: What was it like going on tour for American Idol in Japan?
A: Japan was awesome; it’s one of my favorite countries. It was amazing to see how loyal the fans are. They are awesome and treated us really well. And I love sushi.

Q: The entertainment industry is extremely competitive. What keeps you motivated to continue to pursue your dreams?
A: Music is what I do. I realized there’s no other option. Also, to not accept failure. The more you push and the harder you work, then the more talented you become. I learned you have to be willing to sacrifice pleasures to do what it takes to make it.

Q: How did you first meet our CEO, Giovanni Feroce, and what was it like when he approached you about meeting Carolyn?
A: I met Giovanni back when I was in high school through a guy named Ross, when he was trying to start a record company. Giovanni heard me play and said, “If there is any way I can help,” then he reached out to me when he started working with Alex and Ani. He had my best interest at heart from day one. I love him like an uncle.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: Life … other people. Things I ‘ve gone through, people’s willingness to help other people. The good times and bad times. I watched a lot of TV growing up and I people watch a lot. I draw from real life inspirations and try to find new ways to create.

Q: Tell me a little bit about your band mate and the chemistry you guys have?
A: Nate [Woodall] is the one guy I have met that we have always had each other’s back. He works just as hard as I do; has the same morals; we’re like brothers. We’re the same, but we’re opposite. He’s laid back, I’m in your face. We keep each other balanced, but hold each other accountable. We have the same goal: To spread music and love.

Q: How did the song Carolyn come about?
A: I reached out to her. This song is about Carolyn and who she is, but also about anyone that has a person in their life that motivated them to be a better person.