Tonight is the night. Prepare to meet the preacher who defies all expectations.
USA Networks is launching their newest half hour reality show tonight, “The Rev” which follows Queens Pastor Richard Hartley and his very interesting family. The Rev has spent years crisscrossing the globe to train choirs for recording artists and live special events. Now he’s focusing on his hometown choir while trying to get his adult children, Judea and Jordan, to move out on their own. BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden talked to Rev. Hartley about the new show, which he revealed happened in the most organic way possible.
On Why His Family Decided To Do A Show:
People said it all the time, [that his family is unique] but it wasn’t anything I actively pursued. It came to me. One of those people said I’m going to come to your choir rehearsal because there is something wrong with you. I was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, but come on.’ So he came and he filmed the rehearsal and the family and I was throwing tantrums and throwing books and having a fit because these people can’t sing and he is laughing. So he sent the tape to a friend, the friend sent it to a friend who knew an agent. The agent was laughing, he sent it out to a production company in Los Angeles. They sent it to networks, we had multiple offers, we land on USA and here we are. No 8 by 10 glossies, no audition it was truly organic. It happened just like that.
On His 30 Year Career Training Choirs:
I did choirs for Mariah and Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, with Aretha Franklin on live TV and choirs for awards shows and that’s what I was doing for the last 30 years as well as being a NYC schoolteacher and pastoring a church for the last 20 years and doing my own solo tours around the world for the last 30 years. It’s been crazy. I don’t know how this happens. I’m just an artist and enjoyed doing the art and enjoying the music.
On Wearing Pajamas With His Face All Over Them:
Yes, they are going to be sold as merch and I’m not going to show you what the boxers are going to look like. That was funny those pajamas. These people crazy. That was a group idea. Here’s how that happens. ‘Richard you are so full of yourself.’ ‘Me?’ that was a group production idea, I went with it.
On His Two Twenty-something kids, Judea and Jordan:
I have two grown, won’t leave the house, don’t pay rent, eat my food, sleep in my bed kids, and they’re not kids, they’re like 50 years old each, they’re like eligible for Medicaid. When I was their age I had them.
And you know what they have? They have iPhone babies, that’s their babies. ‘My phone case cracked! It’s an emergency.’
My son is a full time musician, he’s self taught, he plays several instruments but he only has rehearsal at like 4 o clock in the morning. And my daughter she collects college degrees. She has a bachelors in political science, a masters in journalism, she has another masters in public relations. She just applied to a PhD program at Columbia University. She has all these degrees and she doesn’t have a job. I don’t understand. My initials are ATM. I think my wife did that because she’s a hotel manager. She manages the Hartley Hotel. She cooks for them because she can’t cook for me. And she cleans their clothes. And she makes their bed. She even cuts my son’s hair.
Hit the flip for more of our interview with Pastor Hartley