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Israel Houghton

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Israel Houghton
…changing the world with The Power of One

Since his humble debut as a recording artist in the `90s, dizzyingly chameleonic Israel Houghton has been injecting contemporary gospel with a blazing, youthful and musically masterful energy that has placed him among the most highly influential tastemakers in his field. As a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer and worship leader, he has created a canon of songs that have become standards in houses of faith around the globe. He has accomplished this largely as the leader of Israel and New Breed, a GRAMMY®, Stellar and Dove Award-winning musical ensemble and ministry organization that has amassed gold-selling albums and critical platitudes reserved for the best of the best.

For his most current musical offering, Israel momentarily steps away from New Breed, whose members are also active in their own ministries, to record a solo album that is his most personal effort to date. The project, The Power of One, is a guest-filled tour de force that is galvanizing in both its inspirational power and Israel's bankable high standard of music making. The Power of One is a challenge to all of faith to be as impassioned and Christ-like in their earthly walk as humanly possible. And does "Iz" ever have the soundtrack for that spiritual walk! From roots reggae and head-banging rock to sanctified funk and power pop, ThePower of One is a visceral rush of bravado and gratitude. Listening to this album - Israel's first solo studio offering after a string of highly successful New Breed concert sets - will surely set your soul on fire.

"This is the first time I've entered into a project with no premeditation," Israel explains. "In the past, I'd go into a project saying we need this kind of song here and that kind there - worrying if it would sell or if the Church would accept it. This time it was fun to go into creating a record with no rules and just do what was in our hearts...a very cathartic experience."

The seeds for The Power of One were planted last May at a friend’s beach house in Southern California. "It's about two miles from where I was born in Carlsbad,” says Israel. “I generally go there by myself to gather my thoughts, turn off the phone, read, write and get inspired. This time I had Tommy Sims and Aaron Lindsey come in to give a collective energy try. We had a couple of acoustic guitars, bass, keys, Pro Tools and a digital studio. We spent three days there...just looking at the ocean and writing the bulk of the album."

Recalling musical missions past, Israel states, “If you look at our albums thematically, the early ones were about the Church and what God is doing… ‘a New Season is coming’ and ‘Another Level.’ On the most recent records, our message has shifted into more social and global concerns, focusing on identity and the purpose of God in everyone's life. I strongly believe that those of us who consider ourselves worshippers need to have a heart for social justice. ‘The Power of One’ is the song we wrote specifically around that thought for this album.”

What if it all depended on me to change the world
What if my only responsibility were to change the world
Let me be the one to start a revolution
Let me sing my song to the people of the world
It all begins with one
The Power of One
Joining the hundreds of millions of people
Believing in One – The Power of One
Don’t hang around
Stand up or sit down and believe
We can change the world together
We can change the world together

Both instrospective and anthemic, the song “Power of One” is an instant high water mark in a catalog already rich in Israel classics. Interestingly, it wasn’t originally intended to be recorded by Israel at all. He explains, “Two and a half years ago, I was asked to write a song for a mainstream artist who was looking for something based around a socially conscious idea. At that time I was just beginning to understand the connection between worship and justice, so this song came very quickly to me. I was about to send it to the artist's manager when my wife Meleasa asked me to play it again. When I did, she said, ‘Don't you dare send that away! The time will soon come for you to sing that song.’ Now is that time.”

As an album, The Power of One overflows with exceptional material, all woven together by mesmerizing interludes. The experience begins with the percussive and grand "Everywhere I Go," a joyous jam about the relationship between The Lord and the faithful. That song and “Moving Forward,” are the two tried and tested numbers of the collection as they had already become fan favorites, uplifting worship concert audiences before writing began for the new album. "Just Wanna Say" is a danceable confection reminiscent of OutKast’s “Hey Ya.” It’s the infectious rave-fave of Israel’s kids (ages 12, 7 and 5). Another highlight is the powerful gospel ballad “Every Prayer” which features Israel’s old friends Mary Mary.

Lyrically direct and musically dynamic, one of the instant ear grabbers is "You Found Me." “I got the original idea riding a jet ski,” Israel confesses. “I was going about 70 miles per hour when the words and melody ‘You Found Me’ just smacked me in the face! Two weeks out from recording, I was playing it on my acoustic and Meleasa loved it. She filled in a lot of the lyrical holes… she’s a genius in painting word pictures. We wrote the chorus together. The last section is a vamp from another song called ‘I Am Free’ from our Sound of The New Breed series - that ‘No more chains holding me’ line fit really well. The song had an Island feel at first, but I’d been listening to some off-the-radar rock groups. Aaron suggested we put the melody over a rockier feel. Within minutes we had a really fun and edgy new thing. So I called (rapper) tobyMac. He loved it and joined me on the song.”

Israel got to exercise his Reggae muscles elsewhere on "Surely Goodness," which sprang from a series of pan-global happenstances. “Three days before I got to the beach house, I was in Kingston doing an afternoon sound check - just me - playing Crowded House's ‘Don't Dream It's Over’ on my guitar, only more from a reggae standpoint. Next thing I know, I started singing the chorus of what has become ‘Surely Goodness.’ That night I happened to meet (reggae vocal queen) Chevelle Franklyn back at the hotel. I was honored. Told her we should do something together and she said she'd love to. We eventually re-connected in South Africa and she cut the final vocals with me. That lady is unbelievable! Our goal was to get some straight authentic Bob Marley from back in the day - old school reggae, no embellishing.”

Yet another unforgettable song of Christian conviction from The Power of One is "Sing (Redemption Song)" – a mod mash up of Al Green groove and soaring British rock. “It’s rare that I start with just music,” he explains of his songwriting process. “Tommy set it off with a guitar idea. We eventually tracked it with a melody but no lyrics and just lived with it for a while. A month later, I got an idea that led to Tommy and me emailing lyric concepts back and forth. I wound up recording my vocal in South Africa with Chevelle as well as Martin Smith (leader of the British Christian rock band Delirious? - forward thinking musical soul mates of New Breed from across the pond).”

I was lost
I was desperate and broken
Wounded heart
And the wounds were still open
That’s the way You found me

Turn the page
By Your hand
Yesterday washed away as You write in the sand

My accusers where are they
One by one in the silence they all walk away

And I will worship You for

All that you are
And all you’ve done for me
As long as I live
I’ll sing I’ll sing
Redemption’s song

The difference between The Power of One as an Israel solo project vs. New Breed albums is subtle.  “Most New Breed albums are done live,” Israel states. “This is a studio record so it has a different energy. I get to call on any and everybody for specific sessions. The biggest question is always who’s going to play drums. Tthe first week I used Calvin Rogers. The second week we brought in Dan Needham. And we used Lamar Carter on ‘Saved by Grace.’” That song, reminiscent of the classic live New Year’s Eve video of Prince & The Revolution joining Sheila E.’s band for the encore medley “I Would Die For You/Baby I’m a Star” is an all-out throw down, thundering on for a hair-raising 13 minutes like it’s “1999!”

Another special guest on the album is multi-instrumentalist Akil Thompson (son of drum master Chester Thompson from Weather Report and Genesis) who co-wrote “You Are Loved” with Israel. “Akil is a monster on bass, drums and guitar,” Israel marvels.

Israel Houghton has amassed a legion of followers that crosses generational lines with popularity across African American, Latin and Caucasian listener lines as well. While blasting down barriers, he has been fittingly graced with 2 Gold-selling albums, 6 Dove Awards, 2 Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award and 2 GRAMMY® Awards – one for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album” for A Deeper Level and one for “Best Traditional Gospel Album” for Alive In South Africa.  Ironically, there is very little that is “traditional” about Israel’s progressive connection to now-generation believers and the way his music is fanatically embraced around the globe.

Beyond his solo album, Israel is also a published author with other multi-media projects in the works. As for New Breed, Israel is ever and always connected to them, though the unit is currently preparing a live recording without him. This frees him to pursue a myriad of other exciting opportunities for artistic growth and his own personal sojourn into The Power of One.

“I really enjoy what I do,” Israel concludes. “It's about getting a bigger picture of what's going on in the world instead of focusing on my life, wants and needs. It's about connecting with people around the world.”

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A Timeless Christmas
The Power of One
A Deeper Level
Alive in South Africa
Moving Forward
Live From Another Level
New Season
Jesus At The Center
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Israel & New Breed's "Your Presence is Heaven" From Jesus At The Center Receives Grammy Award

Israel Houghton | February 21, 2013 | Categories: Blogs, Press Releases | Tags:

Released amidst international acclaim in August of last year and launching to the top of multiple retail sales charts,Israel & New Breed’s Jesus At The Center received a GRAMMY Award yesterday from The Recording Academy during the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards®, which were broadcast live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on the CBS Television Network. Receiving an award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for the hit AC radio single from More

New From Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton | September 24, 2012 | Categories: News

Arriving hot off the press is the orchestration for Rez Power from Israel Houghton's new album Jesus At The Center. We have a lot of great titles this album including Your Presence Is Heaven To Me and Jesus The Same. Be sure to download your favorites today! More

Israel Houghton and New Breed Release Album

Israel Houghton | August 14, 2012 | Categories: Blogs, News | Tags:

Following four back-to-back Billboard Top 200-selling, GRAMMY Award-winning albums, Israel Houghton returns with New Breed for their first live recording in five years, Jesus At The Center, releasing today amidst wide acclaim on Integrity Music / RGM-New Breed. Recorded live over four days in front of more than 29,000 worshippers at Houston’s Lakewood Church, the Jesus At The Center double-CD, 18 song album with three additional studio singles features More

Israel Houghton Jesus At The Center

Israel Houghton | August 13, 2012 | Categories: News | Tags:

Just released is the highly anticipated album called Jesus At The Center; we have tracks, charts and orchestrations for this release.  To commemorate this release, we are offering FREE chord charts for Your Presence Is Heaven to Me, Jesus At The Center Of It All, It's Not Over and I Call You Jesus.  In addition to the chord chart, we are also offering a FREE mp3 for Jesus The Same.  More

Israel Houghton and New Breed Record Album

Israel Houghton | August 9, 2012 | Categories: Blogs, News | Tags:

In the dynamic world of praise and worship, the music never stops as believers seek new songs to express their hearts to God. No one knows this better than gospel-praise powerhouse Israel & New Breed and its bandleader, Israel Houghton, who for more than a decade have been resourcing the Church with such classics as “Friend of God,” “You Are Good,” “Again I Say Rejoice” and “Alpha and Omega.” More

Israel Houghton Returns With New Breed

Israel Houghton | July 31, 2012 | Categories: News | Tags:

Following two back-to-back Billboard Top 200-selling, GRAMMY Award-winning solo studio albums, Israel Houghton returns with New Breed for their first live recording in five years, Jesus At The Center, releasing Aug. 14 on Integrity Music. Recorded live with thousands of worshippers at Houston’s Lakewood Church, this double-CD, 17 song album with three additional studio singles features Israel & New Breed returning to their roots, delivering More

The Story Behind the Song You Are Good

Israel Houghton | June 27, 2012 | Categories: Blogs | Tags:

Born to an unwed teenage mother whose parents had urged her to have an abortion, Israel Houghton could easily have become a statistic, but for the goodness of God. More

New Israel Houghton Album: Decade

Israel Houghton | March 6, 2012 | Categories: News

Israel Houghton has released a new album Decade, full of hits from the past 10 years of his career, and there's a new song on the album, Jesus At The Center Of It All.  Get the chord chart for free!  Some favorites from Israel include Again I Say Rejoice, Friend Of God, You Are Good, Say So and Moving Forward. More

"You Hold My World" Orchestration

Israel Houghton, PraiseCharts | November 1, 2010 | Categories: News

We've got the orchestration for You Hold My World from Israel Houghton's new album Love God, Love People. Chord charts and lead sheets are available for the rest of the album and also the orchestration for Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher),  You can read a review of the album here. More

"Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)" Orchestration Is Here!

Israel Houghton, PraiseCharts | October 11, 2010 | Categories: News

You absolutely will not want to miss the Orchestration for Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher) from Israel Houghton's new album Love God Love People.  It is stunningly beautiful and is ideal for weekly services or Christmas planning.  Read a review of the album here and see the album trailer here.   More

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I’m In Love With A Church Girl

I’m In Love With A Church Girl is being released January 14, 2014 wherever DVDs are sold.  Be sure to
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Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Response

Typhoon Haiyan, considered one of the strongest tropical storms ever, made landfall in the Philippines early November 8 and caused
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Israel Houghton featured in Charisma magazine

Charisma has released an interview with Israel Houghton in their most recent issue. In the interview, he explains how creativity,
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Israel & New Breed featured in Yet I Will Trust Him

Israel Houghton & New Breed are being featured in the stage production of Yet I Will Trust Him on Friday,
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Israel Featured in Charisma

Israel Houghton, the multitalented worship pioneer, explains how creativity, talent and, yes, a little bit of perfectionism can be a
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“Israel & New Breed Headline at Selah Conference”


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Deeper 2013 “The Surrendered Ones” Tickets On Sale Now!

Tickets for Israel Houghton’s annual Deeper Conference are now on sale. Visit the Deeper 2013 site for more information.

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Israel wins Grammy for “Your Presence Is Heaven”!

This Award Marks Israel Houghton’s 5th GRAMMY Award, His First Win For Best Contemporary Christian Music Song Israel & New
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Israel’s J@TC Project Gathers Two Grammy Nominations

Houghton Set To Perform Hit Single, “It’s Not Over (When God Is In It)” During Stellar Awards Taping Jan. 19
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J@TC Album Listed in Top 15 Worship Albums

Israel’s newest recording has been listed in Worship Leader’s Top 15 Worship Albums. Check it out at this link. Click
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