Country music star Jimmie Allen doesn't hold back when talking about his love for contemporary Christian music.
"I listen to K-Love and Air1 all the time," Allen told Christian Headlines this week before the K-Love Fan Awards, which will be broadcast on Friday, June 3, at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern on TBN. Allen was an on-stage presenter.
"It grounds you," he said of Christian music.
Allen's name is well-known among country fans. He was the 2021 CMA New Artist of the Year and the 2021 ACM Awards New Male Artist of the Year. He was nominated for a Grammy. He even sang at last year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
This fall, he will embark on the 43-city "Denim and Rhinestones" tour with Carrie Underwood.
Allen, though, hasn't strayed from his Christian music roots. When he first moved to Nashville more than a decade ago, he led worship at The People's Church in Franklin (now Church of the City).
In recent months he has collaborated with CCM artists Chris Tomlin and Tauren Wells.
"I love Christian music," Allen said. "... I grew up Christian – and still am. But I've always wanted to do country music. But I'm a huge Christian music fan, and I've always wanted to do songs with Christian artists. I've actually been to the K-Love Awards before as a fan."
Allen listed several Christian artists who influenced him when he was young: Mike Purkey, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Fred Hammond, Bee Bee and Ce Ce Wynans, DC Talk and Andrae Crouch.
"Mike Purkey was my mom's favorite singer," he said.
He even credits Christian music with saving his life during a season of darkness.
"About a year ago, I was in a rough place. And Maverick City Music's music saved my life – literally," he told Christian Headlines, referencing the Grammy-winning Christian group. "And I got to meet Chandler [Moore] from Maverick City Music, and I told him that. ... Every genre is important, but for, personally, there's something special about Christian music that grounds me and takes me back to my roots, and kind of re-focuses me on where I need to be and what I need to do."
Allen's Christian faith, he said, has played a major role in his music career. His faith gives him patience, he said.
"It took me 10 and a half years to get a record deal in Nashville. And without patience, it wouldn't have happened," he said, adding that he lets "God fight the battle."
"Because a lot of times, we want to step in there and help Him," he said, "and the only thing we're doing is getting in His way."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jason Kempin/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.