You’d think that country singer Allie Colleen would’ve been ready for Nashville. She’s got a degree from Belmont University in songwriting and music business, for one thing. And for another, she’s Garth Brooks’ daughter. Yes, that Garth Brooks, one of the best-selling country artists of all time.
So armed with that bloodline and that education, one might think that Colleen, who will perform a solo acoustic show at Genevieve’s Lounge in the Peace Center on Jan. 21, was able to stroll right into Music City with her guitar and know what to expect.
You’d be wrong.
“I personally had no idea what Nashville was going to be like,” Colleen says with a laugh. “I have a lot of people around me that I could’ve easily asked; I could’ve prepared myself better. But the clock was always ticking on coming to Nashville for me. I chose my college [Belmont University] in the eighth grade, and it was because I wanted to go to Nashville. So I don’t think I prepared too much; I just went there, and like everything else I think you just figure it out as you go.”
Rather than trading on her father’s name, Colleen did the work herself, building her career slowly and eventually working with behind-the-scenes heavyweights like songwriter Marcus Hummon (Dixie Chicks, Alabama) and producer Greg Black (Tim McGraw, Little Big Town).
“I was coming here for a songwriting emphasis,” she says. “I wanted to settle in town, and I wanted to spend time writing and meeting people, and I knew the artist thing would come.”
In fact, there was a brief moment when Colleen herself considered staying behind-the-scenes and working as a songwriter instead of becoming a performer.
“Being raised in the family I was raised in, I saw all of the awesome moments of a life in the public eye,” she says, “and I saw all the not-awesome moments. So I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought about just being a songwriter and still being able to take my future family to amusement parks and movies like normal people do. But this is literally the only thing I want to do, and we’re going to take it as far as it will go.”
And so far, it’s going pretty well. Colleen’s first radio single, “Ain’t the Only Hell (My Momma Raised),” hit the country top 30 late last year, and she’s finishing up a full album that will come out later this year.
But while it’s nice to have a hit single and some career momentum, Colleen says she’s interested in other things.
“Quite frankly, I’m not a numbers person,” she says. “That’s not me; I’m an emotional person. The more I get to go out and play shows and hear from people, that’s what it’s really about for me. So a lot of it depends on your definition of success.”
Colleen’s show at Genevieve’s will actually be her first performance of the year; thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, her recent touring plans have pretty much been scuttled.
“It’s the same for all of us,” she says. “Every musician has this problem. I think our year  looked like anywhere from 65-80 shows. And I think we ended up playing three of them. I haven’t gotten to do anything else yet.”
Luckily, she’s used to the stripped down, solo acoustic format of her show here in the Upstate.
“2020 was supposed to be my year to do band shows for the very first time,” she says. “Quite frankly, I’m way more comfortable doing this than I am anything else.”
What: Allie Colleen
Where: Genevieve’s in the Peace Center, 300 S. Main St., Greenville
When: Thursday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $200 (tables only, masks required)
Info: 864-467-3000, peacecenter.org