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After high school, Allen moved to Conway, Arkansas, to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where he was a business major and a member of Chi Alpha campus ministries.but instead was persuaded to audition for American Idol along with his brother Daniel and his friend Cale Mills.
He played his first gig at a local bar in downtown Conway during his sophomore year, and he went on to drop out of college in the middle of his junior year to follow his dream of becoming a professional musician. The album's lead single, "Live Like We're Dying", was released on September 21, 2009, and peaked at number eighteen in the U. Allen released his fifth studio album, Letting You In, on March 18, 2016. He began playing the viola in elementary school and went on to play the instrument in the Mills University Studies High School orchestra, eventually winning a spot in the Arkansas all-state orchestra. Allen's second major-label album Thank You Camellia was released on May 22, 2012, and the lead single "The Vision of Love" was released March 26, 2012.Allen played publicly for several years before trying out for Idol, even opening for earlier Idol contestant Sean Michel on multiple occasions.He has described his decision to audition for American Idol as a "last hurrah" before giving up his pursuit of a music career.