Award-winning worship leader and artist Israel Houghton will be releasing a new solo album next year that features guest vocals from leading Christian artists including tobyMac, Martin Smith of delirious?, Mary Mary and Chevelle Franklin.
"This is the first time I've entered into a project with no premeditation," says Houghton, whose last album, A Deeper Level, was awarded a Grammy this year following its 2007 release.
"In the past I'd go into a project saying we need this kind of song here and that kind there – worrying if it would sell or if the Church would accept it," he noted in his announcement of the new project. "This time it was fun to go into creating a record with no rules and just do what was in our hearts."
Houghton called the experience behind producing Power of One "a very cathartic" one.
For his newest album, which releases Mar. 24, 2009, Houghton invited some of his friends representing very different musical genres to join him. Noted rapper tobyMac is featured in the rock song "You Found Me," while the gospel ballad "Every Prayer" features popular duo Mary Mary. Well-known reggae vocalist Chevelle Franklin joins Houghton on the Bob Marley-influenced "Surely Goodness." Franklin also joins Houghton and delirious? frontman Martin Smith on the worshipful British-rocker "Sing (Redemption's Song)."
"[T]he album features the youthful and musically masterful energy that has made Israel among the most highly influential tastemakers across a variety of musical genres," promoters of the new album say.
Also notable in Houghton's upcoming album is the challenge it presents 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," said Israel regarding the past albums he released with his group, New Breed.
"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," he added.
Houghton says it was two and a half years ago – when he was asked to write a song for a mainstream artist – that he began to understand the connection between worship and justice.
Now, he says, "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," he added.
As a singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Houghton 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. He is also a worship leader at Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, the largest church in America.
The Power of One will be Houghton's eighth album – his seventh with Integrity Media.