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.
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
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. For more information, go to http://www.israelhoughton.net/.