Matthew Lawson: Richard, it’s so great to chat with you today, my friend. The Hyssongs have quickly become a recognizable name in Southern Gospel Music. However, for those who don’t know you, would you please introduce yourself and your ministry?
Richard Hyssong: God has really blessed and expanded our ministry. For that we are so humbled. I have been travelling with my parents Dell and Susan Hyssong for twenty four years this month. Yes, Hyssong is our last name. People always think that we made it up.
Along with singing, my mom plays piano, my dad plays trumpet and I play the trombone. People seem to enjoy the live instrumentation in our concerts. Our goal has and always will be to glorify God, uplift Christians, and bring a message through song that will hopefully bring many to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
In 2005, Kelly and I got married. She, along with our daughter, Makayla, and son, Richard, also travel with us everywhere we go. It makes the rig a little bit smaller with three generations, but I would not trade it for the world. Over the last two years, my wife and daughter will join us on a song or two. Now that is really cool for me!
ML: When you were younger, did you know this is what God had called you to do?
RH: At a very young age, I would get a plastic toy microphone and stand on a chair or whatever and put on my own concerts. I loved music and we always had music playing in the background. Growing up my dad was a Pastor, however both he and my mom were music majors in college. My dad loved southern gospel music, he fell in love with the music when he was a child. I did not grow up in areas that were big on SG, however when the Cathedrals or Gaithers came to our state we were always there. When we went on vacation, my dad always seemed to find a gospel concert to go to. LOL My grandparents lived outside of Greenville, SC and we went to the All – Night thanksgiving sing.
However, after all that, I did not know that God would call me to sing and minister with my family. I knew that God wanted me to be in ministry, but I did not know in what capacity. The day I was accepted to college for music education, it seemed like our phone for bookings exploded. God was opening doors so quickly, that we do not have time to get into it all in this interview. I knew that God was calling me into full time music ministry. The tug at my heart and life was overwhelming. If you would have told me 20 plus years that I would be travelling with my parents every day, I would have said that you were crazy!
Who would have known then that we would sing about 220 concerts per year, have four #1 songs, and be a part of a ministry where we see lives changed every day.
ML: Who are a few artists/singers (SGM or secular) that you admire and why?
RH: This is a hard question. I would not want to leave anyone out, but I would love to go back in time and talk to George Younce and Glenn Payne. They stepped off the Cathedral bus 20 years ago, and yet the industry talks about them like they retired last year. I admire how their impact has lasted so long. That is the ultimate goal, to leave this world and have such lasting impact on lives. To reach our heavenly father and have him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
I think the McKameys are some that you have to admire. They have accomplished so much. Many said that they could not make it, but look at how God has blessed them. I have not had the honor to really get to know them, however I did run into Peg and Ruben at a Singing News Awards ceremony. They were in a corner just by themselves, humble and quiet. They have done so much, yet so kind. We talked and it was a really enjoyable encounter.
For secular, right now I have Michael Buble in my car cd player. Love standards, and he has a great voice.
ML: Out of all the songs you have recorded/performed across the globe, is there one song that never seems to grow “stale”? One song that you could sing ’til Jesus comes, and it will never grow old to your soul? If so, what is that song?
RH: “I Tell Them Jesus”. That song will never grow stale. I will sing that song every chance I can get. Our daughter was born with over 22 tumors in the heart and massive amount of brain tumors. We were told that she would never make it. If she did, then she would never be like other children. Let me skip over 11 years and tell everyone that God did a miracoulous miracle. The tumors in her heart have shrunk and are completely gone. People often asked my wife and I, how we could make it, or why I kept on singing or smiling. The answer is simple, Jesus is the only way we could! When our producer, Shane Roark, pitched us the song he had written, we knew that it was our song! People all over the world have been ministered to by this song. It was also the #1 song in Feb 2018.
ML: You have a brand new project coming out soon. I’m thankful to personally be a part of the project myself. Tell us about the new record and the songs you have selected and why.
RH: I first want to thank you for being a big part of our new album Pressing On. There are so many writers that pitch us songs. Without writers, we would not have songs to sing. I am always listening to new music for our albums. If a song speaks to us, we know that it will minister to others. We are very selective in the songs that we choose. Our goal is to sing songs that have a strong message. The Lord’s return is coming soon, and we need to redeem the time. We just had a radio single called “Choose Life.” Many said that we should not release a song like that, however we felt that it is exactly the message that needs to be heard for such a time as this.
My favorite song on the album is “God Says You Can”. (I have to say this since you wrote it) But seriously, people always try to discourage you from doing what God is calling you to do. With our family, they would say that we could never make it in SG since we live in Maine. Or how can you support your family travelling? Well if God Says You Can, do it, do not let anyone put you down or put doubts in your mind. They can hinder you from doing God’s will, and that would be terrible. We have done very well and look forward to many mores years of ministry. By the way, that song has just been shipped to radio. (shameless promotion) LOL
ML: What is God currently teaching you in this season of life?
RH: This is a great question. I feel like I have entered a new season for sure. As we are conducting this interview I am watching our seven year old hang out with friends, and our eleven year old is helping me with the answers. LOL How did she get so old?
To open up to the readers, I have always had issues with worry. God has blessed and has even healed our daughter, and still I sometimes worry.
I feel like God is currently teaching me how to be a better father. I want my kids to learn not from my words but actions. They watch everything we do, and copy us. We only have our kids for a few short years before they go out on their own. We need to teach them Godly principles, right and wrong, and that their word is vitally important.
It has been an honor for me to be interviewed for the AG website. We do not take it lightly and appreciate you all. May God continue to bless you all. I also look forward to seeing many readers at a concert in the near future. Keep pressing on, and do not give up!