Jimmie Allen Reveals What Frightened Him Most About His Career

For Jimmie Allen, giving up was never an option, even when that seemed like the easiest choice. The Delaware native moved to Nashville to pursue country music, and kept fighting to be heard even when the odds were against him. His now well-known story includes a period of homelessness and struggling to find a meal, but even then, Allen was more afraid of quitting than anything else.

"I don't know how I did half the things I did," Allen confessed to PEOPLE. "My thing was, 'I know my little sisters are looking up to me.' The [thought] of them giving up on their dreams because I gave up on mine frightened me. That really kept me going even on the days of living in the car and not eating and working two or three jobs at once.

"I used to get excited waking up thinking, 'Today could be the day I get an email or a phone call,'" he added. "Ten years later, it changed."

Thankfully, when Allen finally hit, he hit big. The 32-year-old just earned his first No. 1 hit with "Best Shot," as well as an opening spot on Kane Brown's recent Live Forever Tour, where Allen saw firsthand just how welcoming the country community really is.

"It was great seeing how the world is a lot more loving than people might think it is," Allen recalled. "I was like, 'Here we are in this arena of 10,000-12,000 white people to see two black guys and a white guy.' It just goes to show that more people out there are more willing to love and accept you for who you are than what you might think. So just get out and travel the world. As long as you're good to people, people are good to you."

Allen also experienced another unexpected perk of traveling with Brown – the chance for his 4-year-old son, Aadyn, to get close to his former tour boss and his wife.

"He's bugging Uncle Kane and Aunt Katelyn all day," Allen acknowledged. "After the show we were hanging out one night and he was like, 'I'm going to bring you guys milk.' So he kept bringing me, Kane and [Kane's wife] Katelyn imaginary milk. Kane's crew and Granger's crew, it was like family."

Allen is back at radio with his second single, "Make Me Want To," from his freshman Mercury Lane album. The song, like his previous hit, shows a sensitive side of him, which Allen says he did mostly because that's who he really is on the inside.

"I'm a sensitive guy," Allen conceded. "I go to Disney a bunch of times a year, I wear small pants. I love it, dude. Typically, in relationships, I catch feelings first, fast."

Allen will spend the summer on the road, serving as the opening act for Rascal Flatts on their Summer Playlist Tour. Find dates at Allen's website.

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Photo Credit: Getty / Terry Wyatt