Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 | 9 a.m.
Music has always been a prominent piece of Jassen Allen’s life. The Las Vegas-based singer and entertainer can recall a “disco party” in preschool that captivated his imagination and before long, he was singing in school groups and in the choir at church.
“I remember a nun looking at me while we were singing a hymn and I thought I was in trouble,” he says on the latest episode of the Sun on the Strip podcast. “She leaned in and made me very nervous, but she said, ‘No no, continue. You have a gift.’”
Allen’s first real gig was a trip overseas to entertain troops as part of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln Scarlet and Cream Singers show choir. Eventually the Des Moines, Iowa-born musician embarked on what he described as the “great migration” for Midwesterners hoping for a career in entertainment, moving south and east across the country looking for jobs and opportunity. Performing at the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa, Florida, earned Allen some attention from cruise ship entertainment producers. He’s played ships off and on for 10 years.
“It’s been a great experience for me … and a very important part of my development as an entertainer,” he says. “I really learned how to front a show, and that experience is priceless. It pushed me along, especially when I came to Vegas. Those were some of the most important lessons I ever learned.”
Allen has bounced around different productions and groups performing all over the Vegas Valley and become a quintessential part of the semi-monthly Mondays Dark charity shows as host Mark Shunock’s right-hand man. He’s also created and starred in several of his own shows including “With Love,” a tribute to Luther Vandross and other R&B luminaries.
With most live entertainment on hold during the pandemic, Allen has maintained his supporting role in the show at Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio, a gig he booked as a swing singer before the coronavirus temporarily closed down the dynamic venue.
“They were determined to bring it back safely and smartly and I have to commend them,” Allen says of the Bellagio team and producers No Ceilings Entertainment. “They are taking no chances because they want people to be able to experience a little bit of what Vegas is right now.”