Jay Allen Honors Memories of His Mom With New Song: “There Is No Present Like The Time”

In September 2022, #ENDALZ Champion and country music artist Jay Allen debuted as a contestant on “The Voice,” bringing new eyes and ears to the music he created after losing his mom, Sherry, to Alzheimer’s.

When I first came to Nashville 10 years ago, my mindset was similar to every aspiring dreamer who comes to Music City. But it was not until I wrote a song out of heartbreak, “No Present Like the Time,” trying to find a sense of understanding about my mom and her Alzheimer’s experience, that I truly felt like I was doing something special.

My song “Blank Stares,” which I wrote about my mom and brought her up onstage for in 2018, was not done for success — it was done to tell my story and share the effects of this disease with the world. It continues to be the most honest I have ever been. [“Blank Stares” went viral after a fan posted a video of Jay holding onto Sherry during an onstage performance, viewed more than 125 million times on Facebook.]

Human nature is to judge. When I walk into a room with all my tattoos, I know how I am often perceived. I want people to look past what they see and listen instead: to my music, my words, and my message. It has truly become an obligation as an artist to be part of helping heal the Alzheimer’s community. 

By sharing my own story, I hope I am creating a safe place for people to share their heartache. It sounds strange, but I feel like I made it cool to be sad, okay to talk about sad things. Opening up and being vulnerable is the first step on this journey. 

Faith & family

I wrote my new song “No Present Like the Time” before appearing on NBC’s “The Voice” this past fall. This song was born at the tail-end of my grief from losing my mom. I climbed out of a very dark place and created this song to lift myself and others up. It is a reminder of what’s most important in life … and how precious time is. 

Through my music, I am taking people to my church, and I will continue to do that. This song is about going through the grieving process and coming out of it alive and as a better person. 

When you lose someone, you realize we only have one go. It took a lot for me to wrap my head around the idea that I wouldn’t get to see my mom, receive a card from her, or hear her voice. Many people tend to take those moments for granted. Now, I know I never will.
I believe that if you go through life honestly, you have to believe in something. When Alzheimer’s hits home, it is easy to say “Why me?” and point fingers at a higher power like God.

I am still learning that good things come back tenfold when you put positivity in the world. I was not the best brother, but after losing my mom and realizing how important family is, me and my siblings talk every single day. It has also been so easy to wholeheartedly be in my relationship with my wife, who I married in November. You have to choose that. And there is no present like the time. 

Where there is a will, there is a way.

I clearly recall the moment when my mom walked through the door and I immediately knew: “I can’t fix this.” It pissed me off. We have two options in this life, fight or flight; at that moment, I wanted to get out. I didn’t know how to face this disease and I wasn’t ready to open up. Once I was, I realized how important having conversations about Alzheimer’s is, this disease that can be so upsetting, defeating and just plain sad. 

The biggest struggle of Alzheimer’s is the role reversal … that you now have to fight for the person who nurtured and cared and fought for you. When I wrapped my arms around my mom onstage in 2018, that was real. It was the hardest and most brave thing I have ever done, and when the healing began. 

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WmjwWGXLurY?fs=1&enablejsapi=1&version=3
Don’t be scared to share your feelings or show people that you are sad. Be honest in conversations. It took a lot longer for me than I thought it would, but constantly being open and honest during the grieving process allowed me to feel more alive, with more understanding. Losing mom was hell, but it led me to healing.

I didn’t know that by telling my story, strangers would lean on me, put their heads on my shoulders, and cry their eyes out. Even though I take pride in opening up my world and taking on other people’s pain, it reminds me of my own loss. And yet it is so rewarding and has given me a purpose. If I can give healing to one person for a few minutes after one of my shows, I will.

Going on “The Voice” in 2022 allowed me to further create this powerful community of people affected by Alzheimer’s. I felt ready for “The Voice” because I had accomplished all I could on my own and wanted my songs that were born of my journey and healing to continue to be elevated to help others. I wanted a message of hope out in the world, and I wanted my story told.

Today, I am bear-hugging the world. I hope you enjoy my song, and find your own form of healing in its lyrics, and the power to relish in every precious moment we have.

Take a picture, take a chance
Chase a dream, chase a girl
Say a prayer or take a trip
Don’t hold your breath, hold your kids
‘Fore they’re too big

‘Cause it can fade in a minute
No matter how you spin it
That clock keeps tickin’
It can stop on a dime
Be careful how you spend it
In a blink, it’s gone, goodbye
‘Cause there’s no time like the present
There’s no present like the time

It’s a gift, it’s all you get
Make a friend, make amends
Make a call, tell the truth
Say “I love you”

Help a stranger, help yourself
Pull that Bible off that shelf
Open it up with your mind
See the world through His eyes
Make the most of what matters
The most in this life

‘Cause it can fade in a minute
No matter how you spin it
That clock keeps tickin’
It can stop on a dime
Be careful how you spend it
In a blink, it’s gone, goodbye
‘Cause there’s no time like the present
There’s no present like the time

It’s a gift, it’s all you get
Make a friend, make amends
Make a call, tell the truth
Say “I love you”


AboutNBC’s “The Voice” contestant and Alzheimer’s Association Celebrity Champion Jay Allen continues his dedication in the fight to end Alzheimer’s in honor of his mom. Visit Jay on Instagram

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