Jacksonville, NC – Stepping towards the red 1959-tailfin convertible Cadillac, she tosses an old tattered suitcase into the back. Swinging open the driver’s door, she falls into the soft, leather seat. Quickly the key aligns into place as she flips the switch and the engine starts purring like a kitten after a bowl of sweet cream. Foot on the gas and she’s out of there. Winding her way over concrete ribbon, the click of the Cadillac’s tires increase tempo as it races towards the closest interstate she can find.
As another mile appears in the rearview mirror, her mood lightens and her heart whispers to keep going. She’s more than ready for a change of atmosphere. She reaches into her bag and pulls out music for the trip, inserting it into the car’s player. She turns the volume up and out comes the smoky, sultry voice of Bobbie Allen, reaching out to touch her soul before escaping into the wind.
Where she is headed is as mysterious to her as anyone else, but the music sends her back to a place and time when things were not as hard to figure out.
Bobbie Allen conveys a certain reminiscent element with her music that naturally brings back thoughts of better days. She exhibits a bold, lighthearted flair while she shares the talent from within her with serious purpose. Bobbie is unique and considers her music something of the American Folk genre with a modern day style.
“Americana Folk,” smiles Bobbie. “That is the root of it; and it’s not hard on the ears.”
Bobbie’s interest in music began many years ago. Even though her family moved around quite a bit due to her father’s military assignment, there was always a means to listen to music in every room of the house.
“My mom was always singing … still is. There was always a lot of music in our house. Every room had a CD or tape player. It’s funny because I didn’t realize it was unusual until my friends commented on how every room had some kind pick or play music system in it.”
Bobbie, herself, was soon singing all the time, too. In fact, she loved it so much, when she sang her way through preschool, her teacher told her parents not to discourage her. Bobbie kept on singing every day until she graduated high school. She even joined the choir.
All was well until she went to college.
“I just stopped singing,” explained Bobbie. “Nobody really knew I could do it in college because there was work to be done.”
It didn’t take long though for her to recognize that music was just too deeply embedded within her to leave it behind. She started thinking seriously of becoming a singer/songwriter but realized she had to do more if she wanted to achieve her dream. For Bobbie, that meant playing an instrument. She chose the guitar.
“I always wanted to play an instrument. I knew that I had to bring something else to the table. I didn’t play anything so, after college, I actually taught myself how to play guitar.”
At the time, she was interning at The Globe, a military-based newspaper from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Every day when she came home from work, she searched for written music from other artists.
“I would get my guitar, sit in front of my computer and look up other artists’ music.”
Looking up the cords to some of her favorite artists’ taught her where to put her fingers and soon she was retaining cords to memory.
“I didn’t even realize I was doing it.”
Now she could write her own music and play guitar with trained musicians.
“It’s funny because the guys I’ve played with in bands were classically trained and I didn’t learn music theory.”
Although she voiced a concern, the musicians she played with told her lack of music theory wouldn’t hurt her one bit and that many times the ability to write music became more inhibited with formal training.
Bobbie Allen was well on her way to making a name for herself. The only thing left to conquer now was fear.
“I had debilitating stage fright when I decided to start singing and playing guitar in front of people,” said Bobbie. “Quitting was never an option though. I thought, ‘I have to do this.’ Now I’m a little nervous before I go on but I’m never really scared. I feel like I’m so lucky and fortunate. I put a product out … a message … basically, a diary set to music.”
A family friend, Joe Galloway, who wrote, “We Were Soldiers Once.. and Young,” gave Bobbie sound advice when it came to putting herself out there as a writer and performer. He said, “Anything worth doing is going to be really hard. Anything you love won’t feel like work because you love it so.”
Such has been the case with Bobbie’s music. Since the beginning, she’s had her eye on the prize – that of setting heartfelt words to music.
“I write everything myself. It just keeps coming. I finish a song and people really love it and it makes me feel happy.”
With all the writing, performing and touring that she does now, it can’t be easy to keep up but she seems to do it with ease. The life of a performer takes dedication and hard work and Bobbie’s proven that’s exactly what she’s made of.
“I don’t think I would change anything. There is nothing I have done so far that I would do differently. Performing is kind of like learning on the job. You learn while you are there and also from example. It’s almost as though I’ve been studying to have this job my whole life because of the way I love music.”
Bobbie has some advice, too, for those that desire to someday chase their dreams.
“Believe that you can do it. Just go for it. Don’t listen to people that are negative, just follow what you love. Because you love it so much, nothing bad can come from it. No matter what, you’re doing what you love and you’re getting something out of it. The little beginnings of a dream … The little glimmers … The little sparkles … you have to nurture it …”
Bobbie Allen has had some great opportunities so far and her future is starting to look even brighter. This past July 4th, she performed to the cheering crowds of service men and women, friends and family onboard Camp LeJeune Marine Base in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
“I want to do this … living … touring … This is more of who I am. Being a musician is what I always wanted to be … even when I couldn’t play. I’ve always loved music so much. I hope that I am able to just keep on doing it and sharing with people … I hope I am still making music and I hope that people will still like it.”