Jimmie Allen Tearfully Admits He Took Out a ‘Crazy Loan’ to Keep Paying His Band + Crew
The COVID-19 pandemic hit artists hard on every level in 2020. All of a sudden, acts who'd been touring non-stop for years found their lives at a standstill, all the show dates on their calendars canceled. From arena headliners to small performers just getting their start, singers were faced with the prospect of a sudden halt in income, and a year ahead that looked very different than they'd thought it would.
In conversation with ABC's 20/20 ahead of the 2020 CMA Awards, Jimmie Allen recounts the world-altering few weeks that took him from normal life to a pandemic-era, quarantined world. The singer, who's previously opened up about his bipolar diagnosis, said that the uncertainty of life during COVID-19 has been tough on his mental health.
"A lot of my mental issues came back," Allen admits. "Kinda how I coped with [my bipolar disorder] is always staying busy, always doing something...And in the first two weeks, it was rough. I didn't even get out of bed. I didn't eat. Mood swings were terrible. I realized for me and my mental health, I needed to be doing something. So that's kinda what, I was able to just dive into a bunch of other projects."
Allen's not the only artist who struggled with mental health and the feeling of helplessness at the outset of the pandemic. Also in the conversation was Ashley McBryde, who chimed in to say that her experience was similar to Allen's.
"We put a record out, and we had so much momentum I could barely keep up every day," she recounted. "And then the rug came out. 'What do you mean, we're not going back on the road?'"
But perhaps even more crushing, McBryde and Allen agreed, was the realization that not only would they not be able to spend every night on the road with their band and crew — they might not be able to continue paying them, either. That was the part of the conversation that led McBryde to tears, and Allen to admit that he'd made a financially risky decision to try to help take care of his people.
"I couldn't sleep," he says. "I probably did something, I definitely did something that a lot of financial advisors wouldn't, uh, support. But man, my guys, my band that toured with me, and my crew...they sacrificed for me."
"...Because I'd be good, financially. But these guys have wives, they have families," he continues, tears in his eyes. "So I said, 'Screw it.' I went to the bank. I took out this crazy loan."
The singer says he doesn't regret the decision to prioritize his team's wellbeing over his financial stability.
"I was like, 'I got 45 years to pay it back.' And that's just what I decided to do," he adds.
Watch: Jimmie Allen's New Song "Make Me Want To" Sounds So Good Live!