I recently had the privilege to chat with Mylon Hayes about his family, The Mylon Hayes Family. Come on in and enjoy our chat and learn more about this exciting, talented family!
Jennifer Wilkerson: tell us about your family and how you got started singing?
Mylon Hayes: Well, we are a complete family ministering on a full-time basis, and we live in Hudson, North Carolina. The group consists of Mylon (Dad), Wendy (Mom), Conner and Bailey (17 year old twin sons), and Kennedy (13 year old daughter). Wendy and I felt the Lord leading us in the direction of ministering with our family a couple of years before we actually started. But then about 4 and a half years ago, we felt the urgency of it when God seemed to be speaking through many circumstances in our life and we knew it was time to make a recording with our still very young children. Kennedy was 8 and the boys were 12. We thought, “Well, at least we would have their voices preserved on a recording at an early age.” So with the help and encouragement of Wendy’s parents, we did the recording and ordered a few to give to some family and friends. We started doing a few local dates together and many people responded with encouraging words as well as a lot more invitations to go to other places, and our borders just expanded from there. Then, Susan Whisnant heard the recording and wanted to send something off of it to radio. We reluctantly said yes, not knowing if any of the stations would even be interested in playing songs with obvious kids voices on them. But, we sent it and many stations played it and even charted the songs! We were just so blessed by the response and of course that expanded our ministry very quickly to travel to many new areas to sing. Speaking of The Whisnants, Jeff and Susan have been a tremendous help and encouragement to us.
JW: You guys have a distinct, traditional southern gospel sound-reminiscent of your family, The Hayes Family’s sound. Was this on purpose? Fans love it and you’re singing it very well!
MH: Thank you! We didn’t set out to try to have any kind of sound like The Hayes Family. By choice we do not sing any Hayes Family songs. There’s an obvious difference in the make-up of the group, so I didn’t figure we’d sound anything like my family. Also, over the past 4 years the boys voices have gone through the change that most all boys experience. So our sound has evolved a bit since we started. But with our love for the convention style music and the influence from The Hayes Family, it’s hard not to have some similarities. We’re just doing the music that’s in us. It’s where we came from and it’s a part of who we are and the heritage we have. So we’re happy that we can continue that “convention sound” in at least part of what we do, although we have some variety in styles as is demonstrated in our latest radio release, “One More Opportunity.”
JW: How do your kids enjoy road life? Are they home-schooled? Was this a dream of theirs to travel and sing?
MH: They love it. Of course, they grew up traveling on the Hayes Family bus so it wasn’t a big adjustment when we started traveling more as the Mylon Hayes Family. It was just a smaller vehicle and less people. They are always excited about going and never complain so they have a deep love for it. We’ve home-schooled them from the beginning. We couldn’t travel as much as we do if we didn’t home-school. They work hard each week on their music and they give it their all when we’re on the road. Looking at their smiles from the stage, I think they’re living their dream. We give the Lord the praise for this!
JW: I know your Father, Howard, passed away a few years ago. How is your Mom doing? How are your sisters? Are either of them still singing? Do you all ever sing together for reunions or anything?
MH: Mom is doing well. I have the best Mom in the world! She still plays the piano and sings in the church choir. Sharon and her husband Jamie are raising their kids. Sharon is very involved in the music program at her church. She plays the piano and sings there. Janet is teaching piano. She also plays piano at a church and plays at a lot of special events. We still sing a few select dates together as The Hayes Family. Mom feels that she is honoring Dad by us still singing some together. She doesn’t want to completely give it up so we still do about 6 or 8 dates each year to honor her request. Dad and Mom started us out when my sisters and I were small kids. We had many wonderful years together and I wouldn’t take anything for those memories and special times.
JW: You’ve been part of the Hymn Sing tour and the response has been wonderful from that. What has that experience been like for your family? Do you have a favorite hymn that your family likes to sing?
MH: This has been a tremendous opportunity for our family to be a part of this!! Gerald Wolfe has been such a blessing and encouragement to us. We love the great hymns of the church and this style of music is really what we’re about anyway. So it’s just natural for us to join our voices with the other groups and congregations as we lift praise to the Lord with these timeless hymns and classics. It thrills me to see our kids and other young people get excited about these songs too! Our kids know these songs well because they have heard them all their life in our home, our church and even the school curriculum we use emphasizes singing of the hymns. So it has always been a big part of their life. These songs have stood the test of time and bring hope and encouragement to many generations. Our hope is that when other young people see and hear our kids singing these songs, it will encourage them to sing them too and know how great these songs really are. We must pass this heritage down to the next generation. That can’t happen unless we sing them. There are so many favorites it would be hard to pick out just one. We’re singing a medley of “love” theme hymns right now off of our latest recording that includes “The Way That He Loves,” “The Wonder Of It All,” and “The Love Of God.” Also, we sing “What A Day That Will Be.” So for right now, those would be among our favorites.
JW: Your latest project, Devoted, has received wonderful reviews. It’s been a favorite of the staff of our site, so please tell us about it. Who produced it, what are some of the songs, and what are the stories behind why you chose them?
MH: We have been so blessed by the response to this recording! People that have reviewed it have been so gracious and we’re very thankful. We’ve also heard from a lot of people who have purchased it with comments about how much some of the songs have already meant to them. That really touches us beyond words, because we have prayed that the Lord would take our small efforts and use them any way He can to bring Glory to himself and bring help and encouragement to the saints and salvation to those who need the Lord. Roger Talley produced this recording. It had been several years since I had worked with him. What a talent he is! His help was immeasurable…not to mention his encouragement to our kids throughout the process of the recording and beyond.
We felt so blessed to receive some great songs from some of the best gospel music writer’s out there! My cousin, Rebecca Peck, and her husband Tom sent us the most songs. Rebecca not only writes wonderful songs by herself but she also co-writes with a lot of up and coming writers. She and the great Dianne Wilkinson have teamed up lately and are writing some fantastic songs! The title album title Devoted came from one of their compositions, “Devoted To You.” This song is one of my favorites. We ended up recording 8 songs from Peck Music Group. Rodney Griffin is a great friend and top writer today. He and Nathalie Harp wrote “Grace Happened Here” which is an outstanding song. Sandy Blythe is another top writer today. The song we did of hers is a song of great challenge and commitment to the Lord called “I Choose To Stand.” Of course, we always try to include some familiar songs. This time we did 2 Redback Church Hymnal songs: “Praise Him, Praise Him” and then the convention classic “It’s Just Like Heaven.” “Praise Him, Praise Him” is an a cappella piece, and Cody McVey did the arrangement on it. He also wrote the arrangements for the full live orchestrations on 3 songs. He is an unbelievably talented young man who studied and was personally trained by the late great Lari Goss. We were thrilled with what he did on this recording, and I know you will be hearing a lot from Cody. Overall, the dominant theme of the songs on the project challenge us as Christians to stand firm on the word of God and live out our faith in a world that is growing more and more wicked.
JW: Is there one significant song that has a special meaning for you?
MH: Well, there’s more than just one… but off of our latest CD, the one song that I knew I wanted to record the first time I heard the demo was “What An Anchor”. I am enjoying singing this song written by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson. The message is so re-assuring and comforting to know that the Lord Jesus Christ never changes nor does His Word. Having the assurance of that truth gives peace and stability in our lives when the world all around us is always changing. After picking that song it seemed that many of the other songs we picked had a message that went along with it. So that song encapsulates the general theme people will hear on this recording and what they might hear at one of our concerts. I think of Hebrews 6:19 when we sing the song. It says, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast”.
JW: What can fans expect from a Mylon Hayes Family Concert?
MH: I think people of all ages can enjoy something we do. We do a variety of songs and have them arranged so that each person is featured. The kids are learning piano and are playing some on stage now. That’s always a favorite. We’re hoping they will continue to progress with the instruments they play so we can do more and more “live” music in the future. Wendy usually has some time to share her heart. Not only does she have a beautiful alto voice but she has a special touch on her when she speaks. She’s a very genuine person and that comes through when she shares. That explain’s why folks relate well to her and love her so much.
JW: Do you have a funny road story or an embarrassing moment from the stage you can share?
MH: We were singing at the Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri with the Collingsworth Family which was very exciting for us. Phil asked us to join them on the 2nd round to sing “Show A Little Bit Of Love And Kindness.” So after we sang the song we started off the stage. If you’ve ever been to that wonderful event hosted by the Lesters, you know that it’s a tall stage. As Wendy started down she slipped on the 3rd step and basically slid the rest of the way down. Thankfully, the sound guy was there to help break her fall. She was ok but the heel on one of her favorite shoes didn’t survive. Another funny part was that it was a bit of a quite moment when this happened so almost everyone heard it…including Phil who asked from the stage “Are you alright?” To which she replied in a squeaky voice “I’m alright!”
Another funny time was not on stage but it was on a Sunday afternoon. We sang that morning in eastern North Carolina and didn’t have a Sunday evening date. So we were anxious to get home. Well, when I got to Interstate 40 I was supposed to go west but instead, I unknowingly went east!… for over an hour!! What made me realize my mistake was when I read a sign, “Wilmington 30 miles.” We just laughed about it and were thankful it wasn’t mid-night and still so far from home.
JW: How can fans reach you, find your schedule, buy product and keep up with you?
MH: The best way is by going to our website www.themylonhayesfamily.com. Our family is also on Facebook and Twitter. Our music is now also available on Itunes.
JW: What do you want fans to take away from a concert or from your music?
MH: Take away from a concert?….A CD!!! Ha! Ha! Seriously…we sing mostly to people who would say they know the Lord. So we want those folks to go away more in love with the Savior. Our constant prayer is that God will use our songs and testimonies to encourage someone who is discouraged or help that person who is struggling with an addiction, having marriage problems or whatever the need might be. We want to make sure they know that they can find hope and forgiveness in the Lord. We also know that the breakdown of the family unit is a big issue in America. We believe many of the problems in our country stem from that. We hope to encourage families knowing that God established the family even before the church. We are certainly not a perfect family but we do try to gather together and read scriptures daily and pray. We don’t know the needs of all who come and listen but if the need is salvation, we not only want that person to understand why they need to be saved but also how they can be saved and that Jesus is the only one who can save them from their sins. We understand that there is an entertainment element in the vehicle of music we use to deliver the message and it’s fun to sing but at the end of the concert the most important thing to us is that the folks have been helped spiritually in some way.
JW: Any final thoughts for our readers?
MH: For those of you who are familiar with our family and have our music we want to thank you for being so gracious and kind to us. To those who don’t know us or have any of our music, we hope you’ll come to a concert if we’re in your area or order some of our music in the near future. Last but not least, we thank God for all He has done and is doing in our lives. Our desire is to spend the rest of our days pointing people to Him. Please keep us in your prayers! Thanks to Absolutely Gospel for giving us this opportunity!