Country Next: Allie Colleen
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Allie Colleen.
Photo Courtesy Allie Colleen
Allie Colleen may be the youngest daughter of Garth Brooks and the bonus daughter of Trisha Yearwood, but she isn’t leaning on her famous parents to succeed. The talented singer/songwriter from Owasso, Oklahoma, believes in paying her dues as an artist. She is so determined to earn her way to the top on her own, and in her own time, that she intentionally makes no mention of her dad’s name anywhere in her bio or on any of her social media pages.
Colleen began writing songs as an adolescent. Even though she expressed interest in singing and songwriting early on, she wasn’t able to pursue music right away. After graduating from high school in 2014, she made a deal with her parents that she would obtain a college degree before anything else.
Once Colleen earned her degree at Belmont University in Nashville, she began building a strong reputation in Music City as a singer/songwriter. Already, she has established many connections within the industry and has grown a large fan base.
Colleen’s original songs, which have already earned her thousands of views across all social media channels, showcase her unique ability to connect with listeners through storytelling lyrics. Meanwhile, her unique vocals make it clear that she has a talent unlike anyone else. Those qualities can be heard on her debut single “Work In Progress,” written with hit songwriter Marcus Hummon and studio engineer Greg Beick. The transparent tune reflects how she views her journey as an individual artist. Meanwhile, her follow-up single, “Along The Way,” co-written with Stephen McMorran, tells the heartfelt story of letting go of a traveler who has a love for exploration.
Colleen, who is currently working on her upcoming album, caught up with Country Now to talk about her background, her musical journey, and the stories behind her recent singles.
Read on to learn more about Allie Colleen.
Melinda Lorge: When did you know you wanted to pursue music?
Allie Colleen: It’s always been a thing for me. I started songwriting when I was eight. And, I already knew by eighth grade, I wanted to go to Belmont University. I didn’t look anywhere else. I knew I needed to be in Nashville to pursue what I wanted to do.
Lorge: For those who are just now discovering your music, how would you describe your sound and style?
Colleen: My sound is different, which is cool, and very exciting! When I was a kid, the people I trained my voice after were not country artists. I grew up on Christina Aguilera and that first album that had the song “Genie in a Bottle.” My sister brought a lot of alternative music into the house. So I also loved Evanescence and all those hard rock females. But, my parents hardly ever played country music around the house. My dad doesn’t listen to the radio in the car. It’s weird. There wasn’t a huge music presence in the house, and if there was, it was Michael Jackson, or Queen or Seal, or Kiss or whatever, he was showing me that day. I think one of the only two country artists that [my dad] played in the house was Randy Travis. So it’s cool and refreshing to hear that I sound like no one else. But, it is also kind of scary because you may or may not fit in. So, it is our first year releasing music, and we’re trying to see where we fit in all of those sub-genres of country music.
Lorge: Why is it important for you to blaze your own trail in the music industry?
Colleen: I remember the first time I did well on a spelling test. The kid next to me said, ‘You got 100 percent because you’re so and so’s daughter.’ I was like, ‘No, I studied the spelling list.’ It was so clear to me even as a young child that there was never going to be anything that I earned for myself. It was frustrating and hard, especially knowing that my parents came from very little. They came from large families. They weren’t always able to get what they wanted growing up. My dad had to work hard, which is something I’ve always admired.
Lorge: What is the best advice you’ve received while on your musical journey?
Colleen: Two things have stuck out for me. My dad, growing up, was a huge sports guy. When I was a kid, if I was doing homework or learning guitar or whatever, if I was having a hard time, his response was always the same. He always told me to put your head down and run. That stuck with me because he was always focused and working hard. You’re not racing against anybody else; you’re just racing against yourself. In this industry, as a female, or a male, it’s easy to see people start after you, and still get further than you have. You can get in your head about that. None of that matters when you realize you’re running your race. That’s been a huge deal, and that’s helped me support other artists and not get in my head about it. My parents are so supportive. Everything they’ve ever told me has stuck with me. They give me a lot of confidence and support to do this for myself, and it’s been a huge deal to have a family anchor. I think that’s a big thing to have in any industry.
Lorge: What’s the inspiration behind your current single, “Along The Way”?
Colleen: That song is very special to me. A friend of mine inspired it. She’s one of those wandering souls. I know in my heart that she’s happy, and she knows in her heart that she’s happy. But she’s going to see everything on the planet and then decide what she wants. That’s what “Along The Way” is all about. It’s just a love story about going out and seeing the whole world, and doing whatever you’ve always wanted to do, and then realizing that what you have in the beginning is still worth coming home to.
Lorge: What was your friend’s reaction when she heard “Along The Way”?
Colleen: She is my biggest fan on the planet! She has listened to all of my songs. When I was a kid, we used to get bored at the house and she would make up scenarios and make me write songs about them. She’s always been so supportive. So when the press release came out for “Along the Way,” it talked about my friend Emily. I sent it to her, and she was just above the moon that her name was in a press release. Everyone thinks these things are a lot cooler than they are. That’s Emily! She thinks I’m so much cooler than I am. She is my best friend.
Lorge: How about “Work in Progress.” Can you tell us about that song?
Colleen: That song came out on July 10, which is my Grandma Colleen’s birthday. I never really felt like there was a lot of pressure for me to put stuff out and to be automatically perfect. A lot of people ask me if that’s what I felt, because of my family. But, I chose “Work in Progress” because I wanted the first thing anybody heard from me to know that I’m still figuring it out. I never wanted anyone to think that I had it all together or that I knew what I was doing or that I know what I’m doing now. “Work in Progress” was such a perfect song that explained who I am so well. The chorus says, ‘I’m the best I’ve ever been, but not the best I’ll ever be.’ For us, “Work in Progress” was a great introduction. Coming out with that song first, was like, I worked so hard, I waited so long, I know who I am, but still, it’s going to get so much better after this.
Lorge: Are you particular with the songs that you choose to put out?
Colleen: I’ve held onto [songs] that are important to me, but my writing has changed a lot since I was a kid. When I was a kid, I wrote for myself. Now, these days, I love radio, and I love the artists that are on it, but I feel like in this time that we’re in right now, there aren’t a lot of nutrients in those songs that we’re getting. I remember listening to songs as a kid, and feeling like they were written about me. We all need songs like that. So, we cut most of our songs strictly for those people out there that need it. We’re solely focused on what the audience needs right now in my mind. So, on the upcoming album, we have a song called “What a Good Woman Does,” which is about how as a good woman, when you’re in love with somebody, and they’re in love, you don’t get a part in a person’s life. We have another song that’s called “Playing House,” which is about staying in the same place for a long time. So I wrote all of the songs, and they all have a very personal life with me, but most of them are not my stories, they are what I believe to be other people’s stories.
Lorge: Musically, what are your goals in the next few years?
Colleen: I plan to reach whoever God intends us to reach, whether that’s in an intimate theatre setting or a stadium. We will keep working as hard as we can and keep climbing. I don’t see a peak on that yet. But, I think that when we get there, I want to do it all. I want to travel all around the world. I want to have at least two world tours in my life. One of the big goals we have is to play Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, [Oklahoma]. I’ve gotten to open there before, but I never got to headline Cain’s Ballroom. It’s not a very big venue, but I would be on top of the world if I got to headline there, or any of those dancing halls down in Texas. Being able to headline at Billy Bob’s would also be so cool to me. So that’s my mountain three-year goal, is headlining those kinds of places. I’m going to work from there.
Lorge: What do you want fans to take away from your music?
Colleen: I want them to take away whatever they need and to find love, encouragement, and confidence. I pray that I can at least make one song that helps them find whatever it is they need in their life, whether it’s in their downtime, or at the top of the mountain, I want to help them.
Lorge: When can we expect the album?
Colleen: We haven’t set a date for the album yet. We recorded it once already, but it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. So we are going to do it again. We have seven songs recorded. Since then, we’ve written a couple more that we know will be on there. But, it could be next year before any of that comes out. So we’re sticking with the single thing for right now.
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