Life in the Overflow magazine shares our last interview with the Legendary Rance Allen from our Spring 2018 Stellar issue.
LITO: Our special guest comes to us today, all the way from Toledo, Ohio. He is Bishop Rance Allen – the Legendary Gospel recording artist, songwriter, international evangelist, church leader, and so much more. Please welcome my great friend Bishop Allen, how are you today sir?
Bishop Rance Allen: I’m doing wonderful Treva, glad to be with you
LITO: Well I am so glad, and thank you for this interview. I want to first begin I read somewhere and I know this you’ve been preaching since the age of twelve. And thank you for what you do for God and the Kingdom. Did you know even back then that you would be where you are with Christ today traveling all over the world singing and preaching did you know at the age of twelve that God would open so many doors for you?
Bishop Rance Allen: I was preaching throughout the ages of five to twelve. I was now preaching in different states: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and so on. While I really didn’t have a true concept of what God was doing and where he was taking me, I did know that my relationship with Him was real; and then I was blessed to have people around me who believed that God was going to take me by the hand and use me around the country and in other parts of the world. And my grandmother in particular, she was a great, great force that I had with me for a number of years and she let me know from day one that God wanted to use me to preach; and not only in my own community, but around the country. That was instilled in me by the age of twelve.
LITO: Wow, well that’s the word that the Bible declares that we should train up our children on the way that they should go, so when they are old they will not depart from it, so clearly you are an example sir, in your family. A family of twelve, were all of your siblings singing, preaching and ministering as well?
Bishop Rance Allen: Well, all of us were raised in Christian homes and we’re church kids. I mean, at one point we were having church every night of the week. But even with that said, not all of my brothers and sisters are preachers. But, a great many of them are in the church. Some of them had to make that trip out into the world to see what they thought they had missed, but they’ve come back now, and they are more happy with Jesus than ever before. I have six sisters and five brothers and praise God that all of us are still alive and, for the most part, everyone has had a good relationship with the Lord.
LITO: I love it, now for several years I have covered the Stellars from the red carpet to backstage congratulations on your three Stellar nominations sir, at the 33rd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. How does that make you feel? Plus, you have already received Stellar Awards; you are still an award winner, twice I believe. How many Stellar Awards do you have Bishop?
Bishop Rance Allen: Yeah, I actually have six of them. I tell you it took thirty-seven years to get the first one. This is why I tell younger artists; don’t feel bad if you don’t get chosen to receive an award for a number of years. What you’re doing, you’re doing it for the Lord. Once you settle in on that fact, then it’s kinda like Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and its righteousness and then all these things shall be aired unto you”. So, it took me thirty-seven years, but I praise God now I have six of them that I can show”.
LITO: I love it, now what is it like performing and touring with your brothers? I tell you what it’s a family affair.
Bishop Rance Allen: It is a family affair, my brothers love music. We write together; for many, many years we played together. I was the guitar and the keyboard man. My brother, Steve was the bass man, my brother Tom was the drummer. For about eighteen years or so we played together, and after that, new blood started to come in such as my nephew being the drummer, and people from my church that I knew from when we were young boys, now to young men. They now played for us, and going on the road with Tom and Steve can be a real pleasure if you have the same frame of mind that we have. We are thankful to God for allowing us to be musical carriers of the Gospel. We have loads of fun out on the road.
LITO: I can tell, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it backstage. You all are just happy Christians, just the joy of the Lord, Bishop Allen. I said, “This Bishop is real”. I mean, you’re on the stage we see you one way, but behind the scenes you are just full of life and the Lord. And you credit all success to God, you always pointed back to the King.
Bishop Rance Allen: All of it goes to Him, every bit of it. I’m a firm believer of the scripture that says without me you can do nothing, but with me we can’t be stopped. When God is for you who can be against you?
LITO: Okay, a few more questions for you Bishop. This is an awesome interview and I thank you. Are you performing this weekend at the Stellars sir?
Bishop Rance Allen: No, I won’t be performing.
LITO: Okay, well we’re praying for all of your team and your ministry with three nominations, I tell you what; the people of God truly are blessed in such a creative way. There’s this rapper that’s out there and we have heard of him, by the name of Snoop Dogg. Oh, ‘Bible of Love’, oh my goodness! You have a particular project you’re on with Snoop Dogg himself; can you tell us how that came to be.
Bishop Rance Allen: Well, that has a very unique story to it. Myself and the Rance Allen Group, the band, all of us we were in Chicago, summer of 2017 somewhere around July or August; and we played before a crowd of ten thousand outside the amphitheater. Just before going out to perform, my manager got a call and he told me, ‘you won’t believe this’. It’s a call from Snoop Dogg’s office. He said that ‘his people wanted you to talk with him’. I don’t know why, but I got immediately excited about it, and you know how you say you don’t know what God is up to, but you know he is up to something.
LITO: Yes sir.
Bishop Rance Allen: That’s the feeling that I had. That next week Snoop Dogg and I talked on the phone and he told me that the Lord had changed his life. He told me that he had received Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He told me out of his own mouth, he told that because of the changes God had made in his life, he wanted to do an album of Gospel music. He also told me that he had been listening to me ever since he was fourteen years old. Yeah, and you never know who’s listening to you. Although, he may have gone a wayward kind of way, that Proverbs 22:6 was in him, his mother taught it to him that if you bring up a child in the way that he should go, when he is old he can never really depart from him. He can never get out what the Lord has put in him. We talked and next thing you know, we came up with this song that I had written fifteen years ago, and I told him that I had him in mind when I wrote it; and he was blown away to think that I would have him in mind with what he was doing at that time.
LITO: Fifteen years ago, Bishop, you had Snoop Dogg in your heart.
Bishop Rance Allen: Yep
Bishop Rance Allen: And I’ll tell you why. This has to be the working of the Lord, because I did not listen to his lyrical content at all. All I noticed was that he was a rapper and I liked the way he handled his craft; and so when I wrote this song, I said I want to do it with a rapper’s approach. And I had him in mind. Boy, when he found that out, he said I want to hear this song; and he pulled it up on his phone while we were talking. He heard about ten seconds of it, and boy he went in. He said, “Man I got to have this song, this is the one you got to do for me on the album”. The next week or so, he sent me a track. After that, I put my voice on the track. The next week after that, he put his voice on the track and all of a sudden, we have this beautiful song called ‘Blessing Me Again’.
LITO: Oh, my! I love it! Thank you, Bishop, for blessing the world. I’ve been playing it in my car, I play it when I go to the gym. I said, ‘I don’t care’. My sister said, “Who are you listening to?” I say, Snoop Dogg. Yes, I thank you so much for lending your talent to the world, you’re a crossover, God is using your ministry; and if I could ever present you with an award you know what that award you be Bishop?
Bishop Rance Allen: What would it be?
LITO: It would be best hair. That silver curly hair that lights up the room. Talk about the hair, what is the secret to that great hair? Tell us.
Bishop Rance Allen: Well I started to turn gray at the early age of sixteen and by the time I was maybe twenty-six, going on thirty I said I don’t want to be dying my hair black all the time, because I thought it was going to be too much of a problem. So, I said I’m gonna let it go gray and see what it looks like. So, I did that, and my wife’s beautician saw it and said to me, ‘now if you’re not careful all that gray hair might turn all kinds of weird colors’. So, she said you need to let me treat it for you. She started treating it and she is the one that even to this day, who makes it look this nice silvery looking gray.
LITO: And now it’s your brand, it’s a part of your brand. We all know you have silver hair.
Bishop Rance Allen: It sure is. I’ve had people ask if they can run their fingers through it; others have tried to pull it to see if it was a wig. It’s a part of my persona.
LITO: What advice would you give to up and coming artists? Those who are trying to be where you are today and sometimes may get a little frustrated along the way. What do you say to those artists who are sitting at the award show maybe in the back row; they’re outside passing out fliers and they’re saying God did you call me to do this? What do you say to those artists?
Bishop Rance Allen: Well, because they’re human I would say; and the frustration is part of the package, but when you get past that, you have God on your side and God on your side makes anything bearable. You can come through it and I would like to say to them also, to make sure Gospel music is what they want to do. That will end a lot of the frustration and the confusion, if you’re just certain that Gospel music, giving God glory through your talents and gifts is what you want to do. And if you know that, and take just a few scriptures, like the one I mentioned before, Matthew 6:33. Put His kingdom and his righteousness first; you can’t just sing Gospel, you’ve got to live a life that represents Gospel and then all these other things that God has for you, they will come in time; and you’ve gotta be patient. You have to count all that time that you’re waiting, count it as joy. Really take that time to write some beautiful music, take that time to come up with some words that can change men’s’ lives; come up with some music that can make even the world dance. You’ve got to make use of your time in a godly way, and I promise you, if you stick it out God will come for you, he will come through.