logo-desktop-500-v3
Search
Close this search box.

Exclusive: Israel Houghton Calls ‘Worship Anywhere’ The Best Thing He’s Ever Done

Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Facebook

3x GRAMMY-winning collective Israel & New Breed recently released their new live project ‘Worship Anywhere’ via District 11 Entertainment. The moving 14-track album was recorded live at Camp New Breed in Nassau, NY, and features spirited collaborations with Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, Joe L. Barnes, DOE, Nate Diaz and more — all led by 6x GRAMMY-winning artist, songwriter and producer Israel Houghton. In this TCB Exclusive, Israel talks about where the vision for this record came from, what personal events inspired the album title and how his understanding of God’s character has changed.

I want to start by congratulating you on the release of Worship Anywhere. Do you recall when the first seeds of this project came to you?
The first thought for this project came from my wife, who has had the first thoughts of the last few projects. She woke up around 5 AM with the idea to do a full summer camp retreat with the team. I’ve learned to go with her ideas, but I’m so glad I went with this one. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done in our lives, not just musically, but what was captured with the unity and connectedness. 

What inspired the title and cover art? How does this reflect the full project?
‘Worship Anywhere’ is something I started hash-tagging four years ago. I found myself experiencing a time where I went through a divorce and had to rebuild some things in my life. And during that time there were a lot of places I normally would have gone that didn’t want me there. So I found myself doing worship events in some of the most unlikely places, and I realized that it wasn’t necessary to be in a church building – no disrespect to the church building – in order to have an experience with God. And this was two years prior to the pandemic and quarantine. Once that hit it became something that I was a little ahead of the curve on. A lot of people that would show up are ones who wouldn’t feel comfortable in a church, which is a sad commentary for where we are as a church, and it stuck. And the fact that we ended up in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York to record this thing, ‘Worship Anywhere’ felt appropriate. 

Is there a track, or lyric, that you think the world most needs to hear?
This is an easy one for me. There’s a song already making some significant connection called “Wrong About You.” In the chorus, it says, “I’m so glad I was wrong about you because now I know the truth.” I want to preface this by saying I love the local church and am grateful for the upbringing I had. My parents and pastors did the best with what they had, but there are a lot of things in doing that with a good heart that I learned about God that are completely not who He is or His nature. So to be able to sing the lyrics on this up-tempo song, it evokes this emotion that I wasn’t expecting. We’ve done it live a few times now and there’s this lump in my throat as I watch lights come on in people’s eyes as they sing along. 

Are there any personal highlights that stand out to you from the writing and recording of the tracks for this collection?
For me, it was developing the opening song called “New Breed Anthem.” We had to tread lightly between being clever and corny. I feel like we found the nexus of it. We took a bunch of our songs from the past 20 years as a group and took lyrics from different songs to create this “New Breed Anthem.” We even sampled one of our old songs into this song. It became the camp theme song, and I personally had a lot of fun helping craft that. 

You have a few collabs on this project. How did some of these come to be and enhance the collection?
I collaborated with DOE, who has done the last few projects, and Joe L Barnes from Maverick City. He’s just become really special to us. Anna Sailors, who is an amazing vocalist and tremendous human being, sings on my favorite song of the album titled “Blessing and Honor.” They came about very organically. The familial approach to how we’ve done things is just better for me. When it comes to creativity, you want to be as uncomplicated as possible. And when you come to the music of it, you want it to be as uncommercially driven as possible – you want it to be spirit drive and atmosphere oriented. I want whatever is best for the moment and the project. I was very happy with the result. 

With this being such a personal project, how does that impact your definition of success and how you view the project?
I feel this one was the most intentional project I’ve done in 15 years. The last time I remember doing something this specific was the first time we did the Deeper conference and record in 2007. This is a project that had a lot to it and transitioning in a younger crew. And here 15 years later, I’m doing something similar. We had the New Breed team, and then I invited 15 young up and coming worship leaders and artists to hang out with us and see if there is synergy. So, I’m developing another layer to what New Breed is.

What are you most expectant for in the remainder of 2022 and looking into 2023?
In finishing this year and going forward is reattaching some of the areas within the church and worship that have gotten frayed and unattached with some of the schisms and divisions that we’ve experienced in church as of late. There’s been a lot of these areas where the lines used to be blurry, and they’ve become very bold again. I want to see that blurred more again. I’ve hung my hat on the last two-and-a-half decades of worship bringing about unity and diversity and making sure that Sunday morning isn’t the most segregated day of the week.

LATEST FROM TCB

TRENDING ON TCB

1
2
3
4
5

TRENDING ON TCB

TCB NEWSLETTER

Sign up today to start receiving our free weekly email! All of the week’s top stories in one place in the TCB Newsletter.

TCB NEWSLETTER

Sign up today to start receiving our free weekly email! All of the week’s top stories in one place in the TCB Newsletter.