Israel Houghton – Loving God. Loving People.

Friday, 20 August, 2010

“If I wasn’t an artist, I would still be an activist – out trying to make a difference and giving a voice to those who don’t have one.” – Israel Houghton

Spreading the message of God’s love as manifested through mankind set to a soundtrack of “soul music” at its most profound, internationally acclaimed artist/composer/producer Israel Houghton has done it again. Building on the theme of his Grammy-winning 2009 offering The Power of One, Houghton returned to the studio, this time London’s famed Abbey Road Studios, to record his new masterwork, Love God. Love People., with a little help from his friends. There, holed up in a hallowed space of classic recordings by Rock royalty The Beatles, Houghton and his crack team of co-producers Aaron Lindsey and Tommy Sims, along with guests Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, and Take 6‘s Claude V. McKnight, Mark Kibble and Joey Kibble, created a new ode to love in this epic, 12-song cycle.

The result, Love God. Love People. (Integrity Music/Columbia), delivers the musical versatility, profound lyrics and galvanizing displays of vocal and instrumental virtuosity fans have come to expect from the multiple Grammy and Stellar Award winner. And it is the perfect and fitting manner in which to celebrate Israel Houghton’s 20 against-the-grain years of music ministry and over a decade of his group New Breed‘s mission of creating “kingdom music.”

“During my career, a lot of people told me to stop trying to merge styles,” Houghton reflects of his signature blending of pop, rock, Latin and R&B influences. “But the times I feel most true to myself are when I am intentionally creating dialogue through music that allows everybody to get involved in the conversation. I thank God that I stayed the course. Now, people are saying, ‘Wow, your music is fresh!’ Ten years ago, people were saying it was confusing! But when God puts something in your heart, you’ve got to stick with it.”

Over the course of the past two decades, Houghton has traveled the world and seen up close the best and the worst of the human spirit at work. He is heartened to report that, of late, he has witnessed great improvement, which inspired and fortified the overall theme of this dynamic new disc.

“This whole concept of a love revolution – thinking beyond yourself – is the great equalizer to our theology,” Houghton states. “Because of the music we make as New Breed, we get invited into a lot of worlds that otherwise would not co-exist. That’s a huge part of our life’s mission successessay – to be effective in all kinds of streams. Even though we may differ in theologies, we as Christians are still the ‘Love People.’ If we can agree that Jesus is Lord, we can connect on what The Lord said, which is ‘Love The Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your might and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Couple that with Matthew: 25 ‘Love to the least of these,’ and there’s a lot we can do together as Christians instead of focusing on things we don’t believe.

Love God. Love People. is a simple yet pivotal statement about the essence of what life here on Earth ultimately comes down to.”

And now it’s time to make a change… Life gets better / It just gets better when we / We look around and see all of humanity / Waiting on someone / Someone is you and me

 

In addition to the obvious Biblical command found in the title song, the heart of the album may lie in the haunting “Others,” penned by Houghton and his wife Meleasa.  The song began when the couple came up with separate parts for what they thought would be different songs. But when they sat down at the piano, Houghton began to feel that the lyrics might go well together. Within minutes of opening to this possibility, the song was born.

“Meleasa has a tendency to write strong, raw lyrics like the opening lines of this song: “I see the state of the world and it grieves me. I tend to come with more of the lighter ‘I wanna love like you love, wanna love others the way that you love me.’ That makes for a lot of tension and release in what we write which is what music always needs.”

That innate sense of music chemistry has helped Houghton create a canon of songs that have become favorites in houses of faith and on radio dials across the globe.  Having written or co-written 11 CCLI Top 500 favorites, Houghton uses his multi-cultural upbringing as a key reference point in his boundary-defying music, inspiring people of all ages, races and cultures to come together under the banner of Christ. Renowned as a worship leader in Pastor Joel Osteen‘s Lakewood church in Houston, Houghton has also led hundreds of thousands in worship at events, churches and festivals around the world. In 1995, he and Meleasa founded New Breed Ministries, an organization comprised of noted musicians and singers who serve within their respective churches and, together, serve the Church at large. For their efforts, they have been fittingly graced with two Gold-selling albums, three Grammy Awards, six Dove Awards, two Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Award.

Summing up Love God. Love People., and the culmination of his first 20 years in music ministry, Houghton states, “For this season of my life, this is what I’m still passionate about. If I wasn’t an artist, I would still be an activist – out trying to make a difference and giving a voice to those who don’t have one. New Breed could have easily found its end at any time overnight. Not because the music wasn’t good, but because we had failed up to that point to discover our real purpose. It was not to build a platform under myself but to build a platform under others. Once we as a team grasped the understanding that ‘Strength is for service not status’ (Romans: 15), we knew our success was not about winning awards, selling platinum CDs or selling out concert halls. It was about taking whatever momentum we could gather and giving it back in service. That’s what has kept me and New Breed relevant, focused and effective. And I am grateful that God has surrounded me with people who have that same heart.”

INTEGRITY MUSIC LAUNCHES FIRST EVER CHRISTIAN ARTIST ITUNES LP™

Friday, 20 August, 2010

Multiple GRAMMY, Stellar, Dove Award Winner Israel Houghton Joins A Select Group of Artists with iTunes LP

Love God. Love People. iTunes LP is First Ever To Offer Interactive Music Mixer, Social Network Capabilities, More

Houghton Releases Love God. Love People. August 31, Featuring Special Guest Vocalists Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Take 6

Nashville, TN (Aug. 11, 2010) – Integrity Music launches the first ever Christian artist iTunes LP in support of multiple GRAMMY, Stellar and Dove Award winner, Soul Train Award winner and double RIAA certified Gold-selling artist Israel Houghton and his critically acclaimed album, Love God. Love People., releasing August 31 on Integrity Music/Columbia Records. Houghton also becomes the first artist, mainstream or Christian, to have an LP release that includes interactive social network capabilities, a music mixer and Bible verses, as well as the ability to create your own album cover.  Other artists who have popular LPs include John Mayer, Dave Mathews, Lifehouse, OneRepublic and Christina Aguilera.

After becoming the first Christian artist with an iPhone Application last year, Houghton returns to lead the way for the industry with his iTunes LP, a format developed by Apple Inc. to bring back and even enhance the experience of owning the “long play” recording.  Houghton’s Love God. Love People. iTunes LP available Aug. 31 at www.itunes.com/israelhoughton interactively includes not only the new music, but animated lyrics, chord charts, liner notes, performance videos, photos and other bonus materials, as well as the first-ever interactive “Mixer.”

The Love God. Love People. iTunes LP “Mixer” area allows the user to control the mix of the song, “The Name Of,” featured on the new album. Users can pull the lead vocals, background vocals, drums, guitar, bass, and keyboard in or out of the song, or use any combinations thereof.  Similarly, users can interact with the first-ever LP “Create A Cover,” making their own Love God. Love People. cover artwork, which they then can share with friends on their social networks.

“We are very excited to bring a whole new level of interactivity to this exclusive iTunes music experience,” says Chris Estes, Integrity Music Sr. Director of Digital Media.  “This new platform brings the best of both worlds together. Fans will experience the album like never before and be able to create unique content inside the LP. When you combine that with social network interaction, it becomes a valuable shared experience.  We really wanted to push the envelope in this new media, so the best place to start was in the Facebook and Twitter arenas where Israel is well established with over 100,000 fans.  I believe this will be a great album experience for the fans.  I don’t know any other iTunes LPs that offer chord charts, video, extra audio, cover art creation tools, and rich media interactions all for $12.99.”

Other significant features on the iTunes LP include:

– The first-ever “Interactive Bible” that displays a new verse everyday focusing on loving God and loving people.

– A “Song List” play area lets the user, for the first time ever on an iTunes LP, share what song is being listened to via Twitter.

– A “Work Tape” area that features early “demo” song versions being played by Houghton and co-producers Aaron Lindsey and Tommy Sims.

– “Black Cab Sessions” that includes a “making of the album” video filmed at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London, known for being the studio where all the Beatles records were recorded, as well as a host of other best-selling artists.

– Three custom “visualizers” that cue with selected songs and feature recording studio photos, album artwork and more.

As an innovative worship leader, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Israel is also known for his work as a master collaborator, drawing out the best performances from all those around him.  Having written or co-written 11 CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) Top 500 favorites, creating a canon of songs that have become standards in houses of faith around the globe, Love God. Love People. follows Israel’s acclaimed GRAMMY Award winning and Billboard Top 200 hit, The Power Of One, and promises to be an inspiration to all who listen.

Love God. Love People. is a return to a simple, foundational Gospel command: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself,” says Israel.  “Virtually every song touches on this profound simplicity. It all comes down to ‘Love God, love people.’ Period.”

The album features the musically masterful energy that has become synonymous with Israel Houghton recordings, and includes special guest appearances by Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Take 6’s Claude V. McKnight, III, Mark Kibble and Joey Kibble, as well as song co-writes with Meleasa Houghton, Aaron Lindsey, Tommy Sims and Michael GungorLove God. Love People. blends the musical genres of worship, rock, pop, Gospel and R&B and was recorded and engineered at Abbey Road Studios.

Writing or co-writing all but one of the songs on Love God. Love People., Israel creates music that breaks down barriers and defies categorization.  Israel uses his own multi-cultural upbringing as a reference point with a desire to draw people of all races, ages and cultures together. Israel laughingly describes himself as “black kid who grew up in a white family in a Hispanic neighborhood.”

Active as worship leader in his local church, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Houston, Israel has served as worship leader at Hillsong conferences, Franklin Graham crusades, and is a featured CompassionArt songwriter and artist.  Israel also ministers through concerts in the U.S. and around the world, has accompanied Alicia Keys at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for a performance of George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” and has performed at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards, taking part in a segment saluting Gospel music alongside the likes of Aretha Franklin and BeBe Winans.

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, CNN, TBN and CBN, and has amassed a legion of fans that cross generational and cultural lines. While blasting down barriers, he has been fittingly graced with 2 Gold-selling albums, 3 GRAMMY Awards, 6 Dove Awards, 2 Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Award.

Israel Houghton is signed to Integrity Music, distributed to Christian retail by Provident-Integrity Distribution and to the general market by Columbia Records/Sony Music Distribution.

ISRAEL HOUGHTON RELEASES LOVE GOD. LOVE PEOPLE. AUGUST 31

Friday, 20 August, 2010

New Album From Multiple GRAMMY, Stellar, Dove Award Winner Features Special Guest Vocalists
Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Take 6

Nashville, TN (July 13, 2010) – Multiple GRAMMY, Stellar and Dove Award winner, Soul Train Award winner and double RIAA certified Gold-selling artist Israel Houghton highlights the greatest Gospel commandment with Love God. Love People. releasing August 31 on Integrity Music/Columbia Records.  Featuring the musically masterful energy that has become synonymous with Israel Houghton recordings, the album also reveals special guest appearances by Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond and Take 6’s Claude V. McKnight, III, Mark Kibble and Joey Kibble, as well as song co-writes with Meleasa Houghton, Aaron Lindsey, Tommy Sims and Michael Gungor.

As a worship leader, singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Israel is also known for his work as a master collaborator, drawing out the best performances from all those around him.  Having 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, Love God. Love People. follows Israel’s acclaimed GRAMMY Award winning and Billboard Top 200 hit, The Power Of One, and promises to be an inspiration to all who listen.

Love God. Love People. is a return to a simple, foundational Gospel command: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself,” says Israel.  “Virtually every song touches on this profound simplicity. It all comes down to ‘Love God, love people.’ Period.”

Israel co-produced the new album with longtime collaborator Aaron Lindsey, whose credits include Shirley Caesar, Martha Munizzi, CeCe Winans and many more, and with Tommy Sims, whose writing, recording and performing credits range from Bruce Springstein and Garth Brooks to Wynnona and Kelly Clarkson.  The trio of producers also co-wrote five of the songs, including the first Gospel single, “You Hold My World.” Three additional songs were penned by Israel and his wife Meleasa.

Love God. Love People. blends the musical genres of worship, rock, funk and power pop, and was recorded and engineered by Danny Duncan (India.Arie, Hillsong LIVE, Natalie Grant, CeCe Winans) at Abbey Road Studios in London.

“I was living out a dream come true recording at Abbey Road,” says Israel.  “The ‘stomps’ on the famous staircase for ‘Name Of Love’ were just absolutely special and unforgettable. And I wept several times while The London Session Orchestra played ‘Others’ and ‘Hosanna.’  I later spoke to some of the string players who were crying while they played… absolute presence of God was captured!”

Other album highlights include Israel singing “Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)” with Take 6’s Claude V. McKnight, III, Joey Kibble and Mark Kibble, who arranged the track.  “Mercies” features the unmistakable voice of Kirk Franklin, while “Surprises” is augmented by the talent of Fred Hammond.

Special guest instrumentalists on the album include Akil Thompson (son of drum master Chester Thompson from Weather Report and Genesis) and Michael Gungor (who co-wrote “You Won’t Let Go” with Israel) on guitars. On drums are Dan Needham (Amy Grant, Vanessa Williams, Michael McDonald) and Teddy Campbell (Seal, Celine Dion, Smokie Norful).  Co-producers Tommy Sims and Aaron Lindsey handle the bass and keyboards respectively.  Backing vocals on select tracks are handled by Daniel Johnson, Erica King and Charlin Moore, all members of New Breed, a music ministry organization founded and led by Israel.

 Israel Houghton is pictured standing on the top of the staircase at Abbey Road Studios directing the “stomps” heard in the song, “In The Name Of,” from Love God. Love People. Microphones were placed under the studio staircase to get the right “womp” sound for the song. Trying earlier to come up with the right sound by banging on some of the equipment cases, Israel, who was standing on the staircase, jumped on the stair to show the kind of sound he was looking for… and the production team decided, “Okay, that’s it!” and recorded the sound.

The full Love God. Love People. track listing follows:

1) Love God Love People

2) Yahweh (The Lifter)

3) Love Rev

4) That’s Why I Love You

5) Others

6) You Hold My World

7) You Won’t Let Go

8) Our God

9) Mercies featuring Kirk Franklin

10) Surprises featuring Fred Hammond

11) Name Of Love

12) Hosanna (Be Lifted Higher)

Writing or co-writing all but one of the songs on Love God. Love People., Israel creates music that breaks down barriers and defies categorization.  Israel uses his own multi-cultural upbringing as a reference point with a desire to draw people of all races, ages and cultures together. Israel laughingly describes himself as “black kid who grew up in a white family in a Hispanic neighborhood.”

Active as worship leader in his local church, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, Houston, Israel has served as worship leader at Hillsong conferences, Franklin Graham crusades, and is a featured CompassionArt songwriter and artist.  Israel also ministers through concerts in the U.S. and around the world, has accompanied Alicia Keys at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards for a performance of George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” and has performed at the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards, taking part in a segment saluting Gospel music alongside the likes of Aretha Franklin and BeBe Winans.

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, CNN, 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 2 Gold-selling albums, 3 GRAMMY Awards, 6 Dove Awards, 2 Stellar Awards and a Soul Train Award.

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.

Israel’s Latest Project Love God. Love People

Saturday, 7 August, 2010

Look for it on itunes or at a store near you on August 31st!

Israel Houghton to be Featured on CBS Easter Sunday

Friday, 2 April, 2010

Israel Houghton Interviews with the 700 Club – 3/26

Friday, 26 March, 2010

Israel interviews with the 700 Club, sharing his testimony and his heart behind the Power of One. Click here to watch the interview.

Israel Joins Friends In Compilation Project – Healing 4 Haiti

Tuesday, 2 March, 2010

On the night after the earthquake in Haiti, survivors gathered across the capital, and the sound of singing pierced Port-au-Prince’s darkness. Now Christian artists have united to lift their own songs and pierce the darkness of despair with the sound of healing and hope in Jesus Christ.

By purchasing this benefit album, you can stand with us to care for and comfort thousands of hurting Haitians. A minimum of $5.00 per copy of the album sold will be donated to Haiti earthquake relief, including clean water, shelter, survival supplies, medical care, and other critical aid from Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, organizations all of us at New Breed are passionate about.

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