As a sixth-generation pastor and an accomplished author, Matthew Hagee has inherited a love for spreading the gospel, in person or in print. Coming from the musical Hagee family, he also developed a gift for expressing God’s truth through song.
Leading pastor, author and recording artist Matthew Hagee has music in his DNA. He and his sisters learned to sing around the family piano when they were young and eventually began singing at church where their dad, John Hagee, was pastor. Today, Matthew is a sixth-generation pastor at the 22,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he preaches alongside his father. A household name, thanks to Cornerstone’s growing television ministry that allows the father and son’s teaching to be broadcast in more than 190 countries around the world each week, Matthew is also the accomplished author of Shaken, Not Shattered (Strang) and part of Dove Award-winning southern gospel quartet Canton Junction. He also regularly records and tours with his family’s vocal group, The Hagees.
While he treasures the musical collaboration he shares with his friends and family, creatively, Matthew also enjoys forging his own path through a budding solo career. For the multi-talented pastoral leader, his second solo project, A New Season (Difference Media), is simply an extension of what he teaches from the pulpit. “I constantly am trying to encourage people that God is a God of new beginnings and second chances. Regardless of what they’ve gone through, if they’re breathing, God’s got better things in store,” he says. “It’s a new season. There’s something better waiting for everybody.”
Produced by Michael Sykes (Oak Ridge Boys, Gaither Vocal Band), A New Season reveals a fresh confidence Matthew carried into the recording studio. “More so than in projects past, I had significant input,” he explains. “At other times, I probably wasn’t comfortable enough to step up and say, ‘This is how I want to sing this.’ And this time, I really got an expression of who I am in there.”
Crafting a solo record is a unique, personal process for the husband and father of four, allowing him to pour his personality and charisma into a project all his own. “Being a part of two vocal groups, I’m accustomed to decisions about songs and the recording process being collective, but when you make a solo project, you are the team—you are the sole decision maker. It extracts a lot from you creatively that you don’t have to consider in a group environment, because so many of those questions are answered whenever you’re working with others.
A New Season finds Matthew sharing his gift for singing through heartfelt lyrics and a mix of fun, toe-tapping melodies and powerful balladry. “This Ain’t Nothin’” holds a special place in Matthew’s heart. He wrote the spunky track with Aaron Wilburn, saying, “It’s poor English, but it’s good preaching.” The mantra was a saying his grandmother used frequently. “She was somewhat of an iron-willed woman in her faith,” he remarks. “Her statement basically meant that God had an answer, that He didn’t bring us to this point to abandon us now.” While pleased his grandmother’s words inspired the song, Matthew was surprised by the melodic direction the boot-stomping, hand-clapping tune took. “Because of my own regard for who my grandmother was on a Sunday morning in a little southern town with Brother Johnny Ray Jenkins preaching heaven down, this was not really how I thought that phrase would come to life,” he shares, “but that’s the coat we dressed it up in, and it seems to work.”
Matthew calls “I Count It Joy” a “sermon in a song,” as it encourages listeners to turn their greatest challenges into triumphs through Christ’s strength. The poignant “That’s Jesus,” reveals Matthew’s father as a co-writer, while “My Nomination” pays tribute to Christ, penned by Matthew himself after watching an awards show on TV. “At the end of it, my hope is that people are giving a standing ovation to the only One who really deserves it, and that’s the King of Kings,” he says.
Standout track “The Day He Wore My Crown,” originally recorded by Sandi Patty, is described by Matthew as a “familiar song with a different twist.” Fans will be delighted to hear the recognizable voices of Larry Stewart and David Innis of legendary country group Restless Heart featured, but no one was more surprised than Matthew himself. It was Michael Sykes who suggested their harmonies would work well on the song, but Matthew never dreamed it would actually come to fruition. “You could have pushed me over with a feather, because I thought, ‘Those guys don’t want to sing back-up for some preacher in Texas.’ And sure enough, just a few phone calls later, they said they would love to,” he explains, chuckling. “They are such talented individuals, and what I originally thought was really a special thing for me just to be able to sing that song became a once-in-a-lifetime experience with their contributions.”
When he’s not in the studio or the pulpit, Matthew, along with his wife Kendal and their four children, ranging from 2-years to 10-years-old—Hannah Rose, John William, Joel Charles and Madison Katherine—live on a Texas ranch, and their home life provides a wealth of opportunities that are equal parts fun and hard work. “My wife and children are the greatest blessings of my life. Every day they inspire me to be the best version of myself,” he says.
“Being together is what makes our time special, regardless of what we are doing,” Matthew notes, adding that sometimes they can be found cleaning out the barn, while other days they’re gathered around the outdoor oven making homemade pizzas or inside watching movies. “Having four kids call me their dad is the highest honor,” he offers. “I strive to make them proud.
With husband, father, pastor, author and recording artist among the many hats this multi-faceted man wears, life is full for Matthew Hagee. Indeed it’s A New Season, and there’s so much to sing about.
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