Multiple Grammy, Stellar, and Soul Train Award winner and double RIAA certified Gold-selling artist Israel Houghton returns to his roots as a solo artist with “The Power of One” released today March 24, 2009 on Integrity Music/Columbia Records.
The album features the youthful and musically masterful energy that has made Israel Houghton among the most highly influential tastemakers across a variety of musical genres. The album also features guest vocals from such genre-leading artists as tobyMac, Martin Smith of Delirious?, Mary Mary and Chevelle Franklin.
As a worship leader, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Israel has written or co-written 11 CCLI Top 500 favorites, creating a canon of songs that have become standards in houses of faith around the globe. “The Power of One,” Israel’s first studio offering after a string of highly successful New Breed live concert projects, comes with a challenge to people of faith to be as impassioned and Christ-like in their earthly walk as humanly possible.
“If you look at our albums thematically, the early ones were about the church and what God is doing,” recalls Israel. “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. ‘Power of One’ is the song we wrote specifically around that thought for this album.”
Interestingly, the title track was not originally intended to be recorded by Israel.
“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,” explains Israel. “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.”
Throwing out the rulebook, Israel was free to also invite some of his friends representing very different musical genres to join him on the record. Noted rapper tobyMac is featured on the rock song “You Found Me, while the powerful gospel ballad “Every Prayer” features Mary Mary. Well-known reggae vocalist Chevelle Franklin joins Israel on the Bob Marley influenced “Surely Goodness.” Chevelle Franklin also joins Israel and Delirious? frontman Martin Smith on the worshipful British-rocker, “Sing (Redemption’s Song).”
The difference between “The Power of One” as an Israel solo project verses a New Breed album is subtle.
“Most New Breed albums are done live,” says Israel. “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. The first week I used Calvin Rogers [Smokie Norful, Fred Hammond, Yolanda Adams]. The second week we brought in Dan Needham [Amy Grant, Vanessa Williams, Michael McDonald]. And we used Lamar Carter [Ayiesha Woods, India.Arie, Out of Eden] on ‘Saved by Grace.’”
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 “U R Loved” with Israel.
In 1995, Israel and Meleasa Houghton founded New Breed Ministries, an organization they continue to run and that is comprised of noted musicians and singers who serve within their respective churches and together serve the Church at large. Since then, Israel has been featured on FOX, CBS, ABC, BET, TBN and CBN, and has amassed a legion of followers that crosses generational lines with popularity across African American, Latin and Caucasian listener lines. While blasting down barriers, he has been fittingly graced with two Gold-selling albums, six Dove Awards, two Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award and two 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. He also penned his first book with New Breed, A Deeper Level (Whitaker House), and wrote a chapter in the upcoming The Art of Compassion charity book.
Israel Houghton is signed to Integrity Music, distributed to Christian retail by Provident-Integrity Distribution and to the general market by Columbia Records/Sony-BMG Distribution.
More… For more information, go to www.newbreedmusic.com.