Singer-songwriter Jay Allen, who was a contestant on Season 22 of NBC’s The Voice, is paying tribute to his late mother with his latest single “No Prayer Like Mama’s.” Written by Allen with Justin Morgan, the song was inspired by Allen’s personal experience of losing his mother to Alzheimer’s disease in 2019. The emotional track pays homage to the love and sacrifice of all mothers who have dedicated their lives to their children in the face of adversity.
Allen sat down with Music Mayhem and opened up about how he has grieved the loss of his mother through philanthropy and music.
Jay Allen Is an Advocate For The National Alzheimer’s Association
After coming off The Voice, Allen was trying to navigate the passing of his mother.
“I really went to war against that disease, became an advocate for the National Alzheimer’s Association, and a philanthropist, and raised a bunch of money to help fight against Alzheimer’s. But at the same time, I was grieving and in a pretty tough place for a while. And I’ll always be honest about that because I feel like being an artist specifically, it’s your obligation to talk about things that are hard to talk about. Cause that’s how you relate to people and how they relate to you.”
Although it took him a while to get to this place, he now feels that his mother is still with him and that he is able to move into the next chapter of his life.
“Even though I lost my mother, I believe she went home and she’s still with me and she’s still thinking of me, guiding me,” Allen shared.
Watch Jay Allen’s “No Prayer Like Mama’s” Music Video Below
Allen has released a video for his latest single “No Prayer Like Mama’s,” which was directed by Tessa and Dustin Sturm and produced by Southern Pictures. Located in Cleveland, South Carolina, the Fred W. Symmes Chapel, known as “The Pretty Place,” became the backdrop for the powerful video.
”It’s a chapel built on the side of a mountain, and it’s one of the most beautiful views in the country,” says Allen. When his team discovered the location and tried to book it, they found out it would cost more than $2,000 every two hours to rent. “I was like, yeah, that’s a problem. You’re going to kill my budget real quick,” Allen laughed. But, the directors were adamant about making it work. ”So they say, we’re going to give it one last shot. We just feel like God’s leading us to make this happen. So they shared my story, every link they could find online, and they called me back and they were ecstatic.”
A music video had never been filmed there before and they had no intentions of doing one in the future, but after hearing Allen’s story, they were going to make an exception and offer it for free.
During the video shoot, Allen had a spiritual experience. When he first arrived, he was expecting to see a vast expanse of mountains, but clouds were shrouding the view. “I got to the first hook of the song and lights shot through the clouds on me. That’s how the day went. Goosebumps. That is literally how the day went. I mean, I couldn’t have planned it. Even if I shot that music video just for myself to get through these long last few years that I’ve been through, then so be it. But it turned out beautiful.”
Writing “No Prayer Like Mama’s” and filming the video for it were cathartic for Allen. “I feel like there’s almost like a release. I can kind of move on to what’s next.”
Allen moved to Nashville in 2013, then signed a publishing deal in 2014 and an artist deal with SONY/ATV in 2016. Allen was selected as Sirius XM’s “The Highway Find” with the release of “Sounds Good to Me” in 2017.
His 2018 hit “Blank Stares,” a powerful tribute to his mother who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s, went viral and helped raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association. As a result of his advocacy efforts, Allen has received numerous accolades, including The Caregiver Award from the National Alzheimer’s Association. He feels that “No Prayer Like Mama’s” is a bookend for that era of his life and now he’s ready for what’s next.
Covered 3 Doors Down’s “Here Without You”
Part of Allen’s next chapter is peeling back the layers of his influences. Allen released a new cover of “Here Without You,” the 2003 hit single by the iconic American rock band, 3 Doors Down that describes the emotional struggle of being away from a loved one and the yearning to be reunited.
The Iowa native was influenced by the music he heard from his parents. “I love country music because of my mama and all the stories and emotion and heart behind it. My dad, on the other hand, is a hippie through and through a real hippie and my first concert was a Styx concert.”
Influenced By Classic Rock Music
Allen recalled that memorable night of his dad introducing him to the classics.
”He had a long mullet. It was so long that it was not a mullet anymore. It was just dirty. He has more tattoos than me, believe it or not, good tattoos. And came downstairs. He had a jean jacket on with a collar pop, and he had a matching jean jacket for me. I was 10 years old. He said, put on this jacket, we’re going to your first concert. So he rolled up the windows of the 91 Ford Bronco, lit one up and hot boxed me all the way. And I fist bumped to Mr. Roboto.”
When alternative rock emerged in the late 90s, Allen immediately gravitated toward it.
“Being a young person and hormones are flying and emotions are high, those songs really impacted me,” Allen explained. “So every time I think of ‘Here Without You,’ I think about my first big heartbreak. My first girlfriend that I thought I was in love with broke my heart. And so it’s this nostalgic feeling.”
That emotion is why Allen decided to record the cover. His producer suggested taking an old rock song and making it his own, bringing it into the country world. “He actually brought up ‘Here Without You.’ And I was like, that is literally one of my favorite songs. And so we cut it and we put pedal steel on it. We made it faster and we lowered it a half step.” While he was recording the track, he felt goosebumps. “That song feels like it’s more me than the original. It feels like I was supposed to cut it.”
Jay Allen Says “Here Without You” Is One Of His Favorite Songs
In an Instagram post, Allen shared his excitement for the new release.
“It’s out!!! Songs like this were the soundtrack to my high school and college years and are very nostalgic for me. I’m known for a cause and my heart-felt side, which I will always keep at the forefront, but I feel it’s time to start unveiling the other parts of me and how songs like this have inspired my artistry. I figure what better way to open the door to the “what’s next” for me, than to cover one of my favorite songs by one of the greatest bands of all time @3doorsdown”