Israel Houghton had a rough entrance into the world. At the time, his white mother was 17 years old and his absentee father was black. Living in the conservative town of Waterloo, Iowa, her parents gave her two options when they learned she’d be giving birth to a black child: either have an abortion or leave. With no man and no family by her side, she moved to San Diego to have her child. In her eighth month, she was walking down a street when a woman witnessed to her about Christ. Israel’s mother became a Christian and began to read the Bible daily. It seemed to her that the name Israel was on virtually every page, so she named her child Israel when he was born in 1971. Growing up in church, Houghton gravitated to music and in 1989 he became a fill-time church musician. For a time, he was a member of Fred Hammond’s Radical for Christ. In 1995, Houghton and his wife Melesa, founded New Breed Ministries.
After signing with Integrity Music, Houghton’s praise and worship finally gave him a great radio success story. His 2002 CD Real and 2004 Live From Another Plant put him on the map with songs such as “There’s a Lifting of the Hands” and “Again I Say Rejoice”.
The Stellar, Dove and Grammy artist has also delved into producing on the big screen. His 1st movie project I’m In Love With A Church Girl starred JaRule and Adrienne Bailon. His current project Covered: Alive in Asia debuted #1 on the Billboard charts.