Jimmie Allen has spent almost all of 2018 on the road, working on the release of his debut Mercury Lane album, which was released in October. The record, includes his No. 1 debut single, "Best Shot," and has opened up doors for him that at one time, when he was living out of his car, he could barely envision. And Allen is just getting started.
"Ever since I was a kid, I remember telling my mom and telling my grandma and my dad, 'Listen, I'm going to be a singer, an author,'" Allen recalled to PEOPLE. "I'm going to be an actor on Broadway, a movie actor. I'm going to host TV shows. I'm going to do stand-up comedy. I'm going to have my own radio show.' And my mom was like, you will. Do it."
The 32-year-old, who has already hosted the fourth hour of the TODAY show not once but twice, sees no need to focus on one thing at a time. He is already pursuing several acting roles, and is working on a clothing line, cologne and his own whiskey, as well as a couple different book projects.
"I'm just trying to do everything I've always wanted to do," Allen said. "I'm like, there's no rules … People say, 'Well, Jimmie, you should do this first and then worry about that.' I'm like, why? If I've got time to do it all, why can't I?"
Allen's path to country music has been filled with ups and downs, including a failed stint on American Idol, along with unfair prejudices because Allen, as a black man, doesn't fit the stereotype of what a country artist looks like. But all of that has only fueled Allen to work even harder.
"Our dreams don't quit on us," the singer stated simply. "We quit on them."
Allen has previously said that he hopes that his tenacity in the face of what seems like insurmountable odds will inspire other children to reach for their dreams, even when they seem out of reach.
"The best part of my success is ... doing for younger kids that look like me, what Charley Pride did for me," Allen told ABC News Radio. "He was light in a genre that didn't have a lot of people that looked like me. There are not a lot of black people in there."
"So I feel like I can show younger black kids," he continued, "'hey, you know what, you can do country. I'm here'... It's still very important to have someone that looks like you in the career you're chasing."
Allen already has enough music for a couple more albums, but vows to keep working just as hard to make sure everything he wants to do happens.
"It's just proper planning," Allen stated. "Everything I'm doing now, I've been ready. I just had to wait for the music to take off."
Photo Credit: Getty images/Erika Goldring