by Jessica Nicholson
Jimmie Allen and Lindsay Ell know a thing or two about high-octane musical collaborations.
Allen’s latest EP, Bettie James, features collaborations with Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Nelly, Darius Rucker and the late Charley Pride. Ell earned a No. 1 hit with “What Happens in a Small Town,” her 2019 collaboration with Brantley Gilbert.
But that doesn’t mean these two hitmakers don’t still have lengthy bucket lists of artists they would love to collaborate with in the future, as they discussed during a recent episode of Allen’s Wildcard Radio on Apple Music.
“It would be really cool to do something with Shawn Mendes, just because we both have the guitar thing. He’s actually Canadian and I just think it would be cool. Ed Sheeran is on that list, for sure.”
Sheryl Crow, Eric Clapton and Lady Gaga also made Ell’s bucket list of collaborators.
Allen also namechecked Matchbox Twenty lead singer Rob Thomas, Elton John and Adele.
“Those are my top three. I always wanted to do a song with Pitbull, but I got one with Pitbull now,” he said. “It’s coming out this year, so I’m excited about that…I just been hitting up random people because I look at it two ways: They can say no, or they can say yes, but if they do say no, that means somebody in their team is going to let them know I reached out. Then at some point they’re going to research and see who I am anyway. So, either way it’s a win-win. Every other genre does it all the time. That’s how you create different musical experiences for people.”
Ell and Allen also discussed how the inspirations for some of their biggest hits—including Allen’s 2018 release “Best Shot”—often come from unlikely places.
Allen shared that “90% of my songs are not my life situations; they are from TV shows and movies. My day-to-day manager Lauren just found out I wrote ‘Best Shot’ about the relationship between Nathan and Haley from One Tree Hill.”
Though most listeners who hear “Best Shot” assume he wrote the song about his wife, he says, “I was not in love at all when I wrote ‘Best Shot’. I didn’t have a girlfriend for longer than two weeks.”
“Gosh, isn’t that the truth though?” Ell responded. “It’s weird as a songwriter… I mean, we talk about writing all the time and it’s like we sometimes need to show up to a write and just write songs about things that we are completely not in.”
“I do that a lot,” Allen said.
“I do too, because it’s like if you just went through a breakup, for instance, you don’t always want to write a breakup song, or if you’re really happy, you don’t always want to write happy songs,” Ell added.
“If it’s a good breakup, you must document it,” Allen said.