He has ruled the charts, impacted worship segments in churches across the world, sold millions of records and have won countless awards. After all, he is highly stratified as one of the greatest in the Christian/gospel music industry. His name is Israel Houghton, and this Friday his well-anticipated album, Road To DeMaskUs, will make its official debut.
His musical compositions and artistry over the years run deep, which makes him unquestionably one of the greatest in the business. Israel sights Andre Crouch, Stevie Wonder, Maurice White, and Quincy Jones as his musical inspirations. From producing and writing his own music for people from all walks of life, this multi-faceted individual seeks to be real, bringing heart-stirring music to fans near and far.
I couldn't wait to have a conversation with Israel when I heard about his new project.
Harvest Magazine: Hello Mr. Israel Houghton. How are you and can I just call you Israel for the next 15 minutes?
Israel Houghton: Ha! Hello Mr. Panton and yes you may.
Harvest Magazine (HM): Road to DeMaskUs is the name of your current album. Tell me, how did you come up with that name?
Israel Houghton: (IH): It Is taking a little poetic stance. But it is borrowed from the story of the Apostle Paul who had a face to face encounter with God. I mean, I’ve had similar experiences and through it all, I was delivered. In all honesty, there will come a time in your life when all you will have is the ability to depend on God. It is him who gives us the courage to take our mask off and live an authentic life through him.
HM: What should we expect?
IH: Well, the songs are very powerful in the sense that they are rooted in the word of God. They are also very honest and the lyrics are true. Because it is autobiographical, it is looking back over what God has brought me through and so I believe that it will encourage you to let go and let God use you as his instrument. God wants us to be real with him so we can be real with each other.
HM: Now, Israel, many have praised your creativity and originality. What is the secret to this?
IH: Listen; If you are in a fresh place with God, then the music will be fresh. I think I always challenge myself to be interesting – it will not be what everyone is accustom to at the time, even though the message is the same. But ultimately I hope to lead people into the presence of God.
HM: Tell me about a challenging moment while working on this project?
IH: For the most part, the challenges were few because the recording was done at my and Adrienne's home. However, making sure that the project itself is what I really wanted to say and to ensure that I am a true version of what I am putting out. Is always the focus. I believe that by God’s grace I was able to do that.
HM: Which do you prefer, studio albums or live albums?
IH: I like the process that goes into both. However, there is something more immediate and spontaneous about doing a live project. Notwithstanding, I like the process it takes when creating a studio album.
HM: You collaborated with your wife Adrienne Houghton on “Secrets” and “I’m With You/Be Still” what was that experience like?
IH: Wow, it was really great and I enjoyed every moment of it. We really enjoy singing together. When I started this project, I just asked her to be apart of one song, and then I got an inspiration for another (laugh). “Be Still” is probably my favourite song on the record – the lyrics, the delivery and the chemistry are real.
HM: Adrienne shared with the public in the past about insecurities regarding her voice. Would you say that you have influenced her latest musical deliveries?
IH: Well, I will not take credit for it all. But I think things work out together when you are compatible with someone and you also know that because your relationship is rooted in honesty you can be honest with each other. I would never allow my wife to look or sound bad. It really is something that she had to get over on her own and she certainly did. I mean, she is an amazing singer and you don’t sell 5 million records in your life and not be good.
HM: If you were the Pope for a day, what would you first try to implement in the church?
IH: Love and Unity
HM: How important is the anointing in ministry?
IH: It is the fuel for the car and if you don’t have it, you are going to have a broken car.
HM: What does Israel do for fun?
IH: Man, I have spent 42 years of my life not knowing how to relax. So, since of late, I have been relaxing more. I also enjoy spending time with my best friend, my wife.
Israel Houghton, “Secrets” (feat. Adrienne Houghton) and RoadToDeMaskUs pre-order available now: