WARSAW — Mark Allen doesn’t care what you think.
If you think 50 years of age is too old to start a music career, you’re better off talking to the wall. If you think he should trim the last remnants of his hair to match his male pattern baldness, talk to someone else. If you think shows like America’s Got Talent are reserved for rock star poster boys, think again. Allen doesn’t care what you think because he disagrees and if the last year is any indication, he might be right and you might want to put some hot sauce on that healthy helping of crow cobbler.
Allen, 50, a 1987 graduate of Warsaw Community High School, announced this week he had cleared several hurdles in the auditioning process for the popular television talent program. He has official auditions slated for Nov. 12 in Detroit and one for Dec. 21 somewhere as yet unannounced in Indiana.
“I applied for this when the season was going, whenever it came on,” Allen said. “I watch that stuff, religiously,” he added, referring to such programs as American Idol, The Voice and others. He said he filled out the online application “For the heck of it.”
Allen said the application process was extensive. ”They wanted a lot of info,” he said.
Several weeks later, after Allen said he received quite a few phone calls from unrecognized numbers, he checked his email and saw about eight emails with the subject line ‘Mark Allen America’s Got Talent.’
“I pulled one up and it said ‘You need to call us today. We need to hear from you,’” Allen said.
Allen said the first person he talked to was a representative from a company called Monster Casting. The man on the other end of the line asked Allen a barrage of questions and at the end of the conversation told the Warsaw native to hold out his phone and sing something for 30 seconds. Allen obliged by belting out one of his many original rock songs.
The next time he talked to the man, the casting representative told him he’d been approved to go to the next round, which meant he would soon link up with a prep team designed to prepare him for the next two auditions.
“They haven’t said anything about the hair yet, and I know that I’m bald, man, but I like my hair,” Allen quipped. “I don’t care what anybody says, everybody hates it, but I’ve gone so long without hair that it feels good to have it long.”
However, if after the November audition, Allen’s prep team decides the locks have to go, it’ll be scissors time.
“At the one I have to go to in December, they can groom me and do whatever they want,” he said.
Allen has played music for years, but in recent years decided to begin a career playing original music. Against all odds, he’s made inroads into the industry and has marketed his product on a variety of vehicles. Earlier this year, he set a world record by playing his original music at 14,000 feet above sea level.
Allen thinks the quality of his music will carry him far in the audition process and also thinks he will draw a following from a distinct demographic.
“I’m just a simple guy,” he said. “I just turned 50 recently and I’m out for anything. I like my music and I like what I do and I do have a little bit of a following. I’m happy how things are working. Everything I’ve set out to do, I’m doing.”