Select Artist:
Israel & New Breed
Artist Booking:
New Breed
8 North Main Street; Suite N
Houston, TX,
booking@friendofgod.net
www.newbreedmusic.com
1-866-392-7333
Tour Dates
There are currently no tour dates in our database for this artist.
News
01/17/2014
Integrity Music and Sony Music Release Playlist: The Very Best of Israel & New Breed
08/28/2013
INTEGRITY MUSIC ARTISTS GATHER NINE 2013 DOVE NOMINATIONS
12/07/2007
ISRAEL & NEW BREED CELEBRATE GRAMMY® GOSPEL CATEGORIES WITH A PAIR OF NOMINATIONS
08/14/2006
UK's Oasis Awards Tap Martha Munizzi, Israel Houghton for "International Artist" Honors
Biography

Israel and New Breed has achieved a synthesis of music and message that is electrifying and activating audiences inside and outside of traditional church walls. Most of their albums have to be recorded before live audiences to capture their singular infectious energy. Leader, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Israel Houghton has seen his compositions become integral components for progressive now-generation churches. Flanked by voices filled with joy, purpose and conviction singing over galvanizing arrangements of music with African, Middle Eastern and South American slants -  like Earth Wind & Fire meets Pat Metheny Group - Israel and New Breed have swiftly amassed a legion of followers that crosses generational lines with popularity across African American, Latin and White listener lines. And as barriers are blasted away, the sprawling cutting-edge unit has been fittingly graced with two Gold-selling albums, four Dove Awards, two Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award and four 2007 Grammy® Award nominations, resulting in a Grammy® for Best Traditional Gospel Album for the scorching Alive in South Africa project. Ironically, there is very little that is “traditional” about the way Israel and his group have been working their evangelical magic. 
The group’s sixth Integrity Music CD, A Deeper Level (recorded live at the annual A Deeper Level Conference in Houston) rejoices in the glorious strides they’ve already achieved while revealing a higher calling for Christians to become more engaged in the work God has for all to do on our troubled planet. The seriousness with which this project was helmed was evident in the 40-day fast that preceded Israel and New Breed’s three days of recording, its purpose to petition the Lord to give everyone who hears the new music a heart to go deeper in worship that leads to acts of compassion and justice. The songs are the soundtrack to a companion book to be issued by Whitaker House Publishers that more explicitly details the Christian’s responsibility to be at the forefront of global compassion and justice. In short, A Deeper Level represents the Power of God on Earth at a time when it is stronger than ever yet more desperately needed than ever.
“South Africa was a big eye-opener for us,” Israel states. “When we sang ‘Not Forgotten’ then visited some of Africa’s orphanages, we saw the power of the lyric in a completely different way. The things we are singing about are bigger than us and bigger than music. It's about breaking through and being blessed so that the original purpose of God's heart can come through you - to touch those that can't help themselves. We have to move beyond songs to some kind of action. The more I asked around, I realized that much of the church is asleep to certain issues. I understand the responsibility because I've had the opportunity to travel all over the world and see real plight. Kingdom-minded, Christ-centered people should be the most active in social justice.” 
Referring back to scripture to strengthen his point, Israel continues, “I never saw the correlation between worship and justice until I read Chapter 5 in the Book of Amos. About the 12th verse in, it says something like, "Away with the noise of your songs! Somebody get interested in justice - somebody get interested in change! Then I will hear what you have to say." That was a real eye-opener for me. The thematic fabric that wove this record together is this: The closer we get to the cadence of God's heart, the more we realize it's not beating so that we can have another great church service. It's beating for widows and orphans, the elderly and HIV positive patients.” 
Turning those sentiments into song, Israel and collaborators that include Michael Gungor, Aaron & Adrian Lindsey, Chris Tomlin and Neville Diedricks have created another worthy treasure chest of moving and memorable works. Key strokes of inspiration can be found in gems such as the hooky chorus of “Say So,” the reassuring message of “If Not For Your Grace” or these lines from the body of “Identity”: “Lay Your hands on me / Tell me who I am / I can do all things / If You say I can / Show me I am free / Free to accomplish Your plan for me.” 
Yet it is the fiery, ultra contemporary fare such as the Reggaeton-fueled lead-off single “With Long Life” featuring rapper T-Bone that show just how precisely this group has its fingers on the pulse of today’s youth. “We dabbled with a little Reggaeton on the last record,” Israel reminds us, “but this time we decided to go all the way there. That song was written on guitar and originally sounded like a lot of our other tunes. I got with Aaron and said let's change this thing around. I heard something on Spanish radio that just jumped out at me and said, ‘That's the groove right there!’ Israel is redoing it in Spanish to reach even more young people.
The hip hop-spiced soul groove “Surely Surely” is a vibrant and special contribution from some new friends to the New Breed family named YPJ, led by Youth Pastor Jonathan. “YPJ is a young guy out of South Bend, Indiana,” Israel shares. “He's underground right now but has a great group with a strong grassroots campaign. Some of the guys in our group got to know him on MySpace. He came to a concert, we talked, he played me some stuff and he blew me away.”
The album-opener “So Come,” a 1991 composition from the pens of Tom Davis and Kevin Prosch with an especially powerful first verse, is an outside contribution that Israel vaguely remembers hearing on a tape somewhere just once before he instinctively pulled it in for use as worship leader at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. “It just stuck with me. I started singing it in church that weekend. With all of the water and identity themes running through the song, it was a perfect fit for A Deeper Level.
Most moving of all is the powerful “You Are Not Forgotten,” one of the first songs Israel and his wife, Meleasa Houghton, ever wrote together. “My wife is a deep well,” Israel states. “She's very much a feeler and a seer. When my Mom became a Christian on the streets of San Diego while she was 8-months pregnant with me, the lady that brought her to Christ told her, ‘You are not forgotten.’ That phrase stuck with us. Years later - once we were married - Meleasa was moved to sing to a girl in a Chicago church, saying, ‘You are not forgotten’ over and over, moving the girl to tears. It was unbelievable. The next day I said, ‘We have got to write a song around those words.’ We finished in 15 minutes - both of us praying, crying and singing. ”
For the recording, Israel and Meleasa wanted to do something special, so they sent the demo to blues/rock singer/guitarist Jonny Lang. “I’ve always been a fan of his since he started, but when I found out he was a fan of ours – singing songs from our Alive in South Africa album to us over the phone – I was stunned. When I heard his ‘Turnaround’ testimony, I was even more enamored. It’s remarkable what God has done in is life. He loved the demo and when we got together to record it, we spent half the night joking and swapping stories. He’s a sweet, humble guy and has become a real friend.”
Israel’s story is remarkable in itself. Born biracial in 1971 to a white mother who was disowned by her family and abandoned by the child’s father, Israel was given his biblical name from a word she saw repeatedly in the Bible given to her by the woman who ministered to her on the streets of San Diego. Not long after Israel was born she married Henry Houghton and they raised Israel and his three younger siblings in Arizona and New Mexico. An interest in music settled within him early on. “I was the kid in church who jumped on the drums at the end of service and annoyed everybody! But my mom is a phenomenal piano player who taught me the basics. And I learned the guitar on a bet from a guy who didn't think I had the discipline to do it. It was 1986 and I was 15 years old. Our bet was 30 days, and in that time I learned how to play practicing every single day. I've always been like that about anything I set my mind to. I’ve always had this feeling that I'm not here to take up free oxygen. Whatever I'm here to do, I'm going to impact my immediate world and, hopefully, the world at large. It’s just inherent.”
Israel is modest when it comes to acknowledging his musical gifts, but one look at him performing demos of A Deeper Level’s songs in videos available on YouTube and its clear – from the sophistication of the chord and rhythm changes to the passion of his vocals. “My parents were pastors in a church in Santa Fe,” he shares, “On Saturday nights we would do outreach programs with music and theatre. We’d take pop songs and change the lyrics to be more evangelistic - pop/rock/funky stuff from Journey to Stevie Wonder, though songs like ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ and ‘Love's in Need of Love Today’ didn’t need much tweaking. The musical training came from elbow grease after school. And throughout junior high and high school I attended a summer music camp in Flagstaff, Arizona - Northern Arizona University - a three week program that gave me great training and great relationships that I have to this day.”
“I'm not a phenomenal musician,” he insists. “I just make what I know work for me. But what I am good at is relationships - connecting with guys that speak a musical language. I've never been afraid of sharing the spotlight with musicians that are 10-times better than me because it's not about me. It's about having a great encounter with God and  a great experience.”
Israel’s first professional recordings were a pair of solo albums for Warner Bros. Records. But the real success began in 1995 when Israel, his wife Meleasa founded New Breed Ministries, an organization inclined to category-defying music created by noted musicians and singers who serve within their respective churches and together serve the church at large. The result has been five albums (two Gold-sellers), Grammy® and gospel awards, network television appearances, SRO concerts on stages around the world and the use of much of their canon in church services every week.
Today, the music of Israel and New Breed is in demand for everything from film soundtracks to commercial jingles. Anywhere the message can be disseminated, Israel will bring it. Ultimately, the purpose of the brilliant new music on A Deeper Level is to light a fire under church people to rise to a higher purpose. “Like the song ‘Say So’ states,” Israel concludes, “We're not here to salt the salt and light the light. We're here to get out to where there is darkness and no flavor - where people need the strength that we, as Christians, have access to and possess.”