Allie Colleen Gets Real About Country Music in Nashville: 'This Is a Hard, Hard Town'

"I do believe you see what you look for," says the country music artist who released her latest single "Halos and Horns" earlier this month. "So, I've really tried to change the lens a little bit"

Nothing has come easy for Allie Colleen.

The tattooed songstress hailing from Oklahoma has long found herself in a tug of war with her own soul, trying to determine who she is at her core and what her music should stand for and why that ole 'every blessing is a curse' adage seems to ring so true in her life.

"I went through a lot of really personal changes last year that were the most growth-inspiring months of my life," Colleen, 25, tells PEOPLE in a recent interview. "But they were also the hardest."

Colleen refrains from going into details about those hard changes, but nevertheless, she continues.

"I do believe you see what you look for," says the country music artist who released her latest single "Halos and Horns" earlier this month. "So, I've really tried to change the lens a little bit because yeah, everywhere I look, I see stones in everyone's hands, ready to be thrown."

And sometimes, those stones have been thrown at her as of late.

Allie Colleen - photo credit The Factory Photography by Goldy Locks (2)
Allie Colleen. Goldy Locks

"Anyone with any sort of public profile knows what I mean," says Colleen, who coincidentally released her debut album Stones last year. "Stones can come from all angles. And on some days, you just want to pick them up and throw them right back as hard as you can." She pauses. "But I just kind of try to keep them in my pocket. And the ones that are too heavy? Well, I just leave those where they are."

It's obvious Colleen has a way of putting the complexities of life into an easy-to-understand picture, much like her famous father Garth Brooks has been doing throughout his legendary country music career. But as Colleen begins cementing her own separate legacy, she admits it hasn't been easy.

"I got to grow up and I got to see a lot of things in this industry that a lot of people don't find out until it's just thrown at them," explains Colleen, who will be on the road through October. "I mean, there's so much about this industry that you just don't know about until you find yourself smack dab in the middle of it."

But there is a toughness and a grittiness and a determination in Colleen that makes one believe she isn't going to let any of the tough times slow her down.

"I don't know that my little heart would've made it if I didn't come here so tough," she says. "This is a hard, hard town. And so, to watch my dad and my bonus mom [Trisha Yearwood] and my mom [Sandy Mahl] handle all of that with such grace and just hold their head up through life was very beneficial for me. My whole family is just a bunch of strong people that I think have created this lifeline for me where I just don't care about the stones thrown at me. I just don't care. I don't have to."

Allie Colleen - Photo Credit Victoria Roth
Allie Colleen. Victoria Roth

Instead, she sets her eyes on the road ahead of her, one that is filled with new music and an ever-impressive sorority of women who mix strength and compassion into everything they do.

"It does come through in the words they write," says Colleen, who worked alongside fellow songwriters Sara Brice and De'Leah Shane on the title track of Stones. "It comes through in their empathy and in their moments when they aren't big and huge and strong, you know? That's what I love about these two women… the motherly nature in them. Sara has three beautiful babies. She's got that mom strength behind her, where it's so sweet and it's so gentle, but you would never think of going up against her."

Girl power at its finest.

"Every single person in that room has had boulders chucked at them in this career that we all chose to do," she says quietly. "To take that and turn it into something that was never mean… well, I just think that's beautiful."

And it's this beauty that Colleen's fans can't get enough of.

"That's what makes it so special when people choose to listen to you, because you don't deserve them," she says. "None of us deserve each other. We're humans. We're awful. But you know what? Go find your people that choose you and never leave them."

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