Interviews

Allie Colleen Talks Family, Musical Roots and Being a 'Work in Progress'

Meaghan McBell

Singer-songwriter Allie Colleen may be the daughter of a country music superstar, but she's making her own name in the genre. In fact, Colleen, the youngest daughter of Garth Brooks, sings under the name of the original performer in the family: her grandmother, Colleen Carroll.

"The reason that I ultimately chose to sing under my grandma's name is my dad calls me Colleen. He has my whole life. Apparently, his mom and I are the same exact person. Every story I've ever heard [about] her, she was a spitfire... so I know it's a good thing," Allie Colleen tells Wide Open Country.

Colleen Carroll had her own country music career  in the 1950s, performing on Ozark Jubilee and recording songs such as "No Tellin'" and "Blue Bonnet Waltz."

"There's not a memory that I have with my grandpa that he wasn't holding her picture in his hand. He took it with him everywhere. He had it with them all the time and he loved her. He loved her because of her, but he also loved her because of her music," Colleen says. "The fact that my dad pulled his music from her, just like I pull music from my dad and how much I love his music and what he does --  it's really, really special for me."

'Work in Progress'

In 2019, Colleen released her debut single "Work in Progress," a stunning tune that reflects on how everything we've endured shapes who we've become. The song, which Colleen penned with Marcus Hummon and Greg Beick, is a perfect introduction to the emerging performer.

"I've never felt like there was pressure on me to perform a certain way or to do a certain way regarding my family until it came down to picking the very first song," Colleen says. "I thought, what better way to introduce myself and to just be honest and be like, 'I'm a work in progress.' I don't know where my feet are half the time and I can't tell if I agree with this commercial artist's lifestyle or something as beautiful as sitting in a church every Wednesday and staying home with my family and doing that kind of thing. 'Work in Progress' was such a personal decision and such a personal song to release."

Colleen says her follow-up single, "Along the Way," was inspired by her best friend.

"It came from just loving somebody who's kind of crazy and a wandering soul. My best friend Emily is just a wanderer. She probably will be forever and that's her thing. She's very solitary, but also likes to be around people and just be immersed in culture and things like that," Colleen says, adding that the song was also inspired by the unpredictable life of a traveling musician. "It's all about having that courage to tell your partner or your person or your friend or whoever it is in your life...'Go and see your world and try everything that scares you... At the end of the day, I just pray to God that I'm still enough for you to come back home to.'

"After listening to it for about two months -- even after the release -- I was like, this is exactly what God would tell us every day," Colleen says. "That's all 'Along the Way' is about -- just loving somebody enough to let them go and them loving you enough to come back."

With honest, standout songs that draw on her own unique experiences, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter and Belmont University graduate is blazing her own trail. And while  she says her family doesn't discuss the music business, she's navigating her career with the strong support of her parents (Brooks and Sandy Mahl), sisters and "bonus mom" Trisha Yearwood.

"I feel like Trisha treaded the 'bonus mom' waters more than she needed to. She was always so worried to overstep and so worried to parent us too hard...She's always been very great at just being honest and being that rock no matter what happens," Colleen says. "To have two amazing moms and an amazing dad is my support system. My family has just been over the moon. My sisters think I'm the greatest singer on the planet. They're so supportive of me."

For more information on Allie Colleen, visit her official website or follow her on Facebook.

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Allie Colleen Talks Family, Musical Roots and Being a 'Work in Progress'