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Prior to releasing the EP, Allen worked behind the scenes in the country music industry in Nashville. He moved there from his native Delaware and started working as a songwriter, landing a few publishing deals; one of his songs appeared in a Super Bowl commercial.
Allen signed with BBR's Stoney Creek Records subsidiary in August 2017 and released "Blue Jean Baby," which was the first single from his self-titled debut EP. Released late in 2017, the EP was produced by Ash Bowers and Eric Torres. Named after the street where he grew up, Mercury Lane, Allen's debut long-player, arrived in October 2018. It debuted at 11 on Billboard's Country Albums chart upon its release. In 2019 Allen teamed up Abby Anderson for a cover of the Lady Gaga hit "Shallow," and in 2020 he released "This Is Us," a duet with Noah Cyrus. The latter track appeared on his follow-up EP, Bettie James, in July of that year. In early 2021, Allen won New Male Artist of the Year at the American Country Music Awards and later expanded his second EP into the full-length Bettie James Gold Edition. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine