I’ve interviewed plenty of musical artists before, but The Allen Family is my first reality show interviewee. Their new tv show Home Sweet Bus premieres Tuesday, October 28 on TLC. Here’s a little sneak peek at what life is like for this Southern Gospel singing family of ten.
First, Josh, tell us a little about yourself and your role in The Allen Family.
My name is Josh Allen, and I’m the third of my parent’s eight children. For eighteen years my family, The Allen Family, has traveled around the world, first in evangelistic ministry, and now as a Southern Gospel Music group. Besides being a family of ten that travels full time, we are unique because we have lived in RV’s and tour buses with no stationary house anywhere else since we began our ministry. I am nineteen years old, and since we’ve been on the road for eighteen years, that makes me a founding member of the group! Haha! After living on a bus all these years, our family attracted the attention of a production company interested in how a family as large as ours could live on the road full time like we do.
Tell us about a typical day for your family.
Good question! I am just as curious about this as you are! I have absolutely no idea what a typical day for our family is like. Living on the road means our surroundings are always different, as well as our situations. In a year’s time we’ll travel 60,000 to 75,000 miles, so we could be anywhere doing anything, and are rarely in the same place twice in the same year. That’s typical!
What led to The Allen Family getting a TLC show?
We received an email from a production company in California looking for a family like ours to be in a show for a different television network. We sent the company a demo of our family singing and telling about who we were for the network’s consideration. After viewing what we had sent, this network decided we weren’t what they were looking for. However, the production company liked what they saw and decided to pitch our family to other networks. Ultimately, it was TLC that decided to develop the show about our family. They filmed a pilot episode earlier this year, and it will be premiering October 28.
What is it like filming a reality tv show?
It was definitely a different experience to be on camera all day. You are constantly thinking about what you are saying and watching how you react to certain situations. Even if you’re a “good” person who gets along with everybody, you can’t help but be in focus mode when everything you do is recorded!
How is reality tv different than what happens in reality?
There are many different types of reality tv shows. In some shows the cameras role 24 hours a day, capturing everything that goes on. In other reality shows everything is scripted, and things only appear real. Our show was not scripted, nor were we filmed 24/7. They would film us during the daytime hours as we did our “usual” pursuits, and every now and then they’d ask us to do something so the audience could see how we did that particular thing.
How has filming the show impacted your singing ministry?
We’ve received enormous support from our friends in the Southern Gospel Music industry, and of course, our fans are excited as well! Since the show has not aired yet, we are unsure of what to expect. We have been told that we will receive many more supporters, but we’ll also receive many haters. Our family very firmly believes in honoring Christ in all we do, so naturally the show could irritate a fair amount of people who don’t appreciate that.
What are your goals for the show?
Our main goal is to shine the light of Christ to the world while also showing them that family still works. We want to give broken families hope that they can rebuild on God’s word and create a family that can stand the test of time.