The Power of One
The man who reinvented contemporary gospel has reinvented himself as a solo artist on this breakthrough debut, and the result is so unbelievable that even his biggest fans may not recognize the magnitude of his talents until experiencing it for themselves. Following a string of Grammy and Dove awards for his live recordings with Israel & New Breed, the breathtakingly broad-based songwriter and performer laid down his first solo studio album, The Power of One, in 2009. The theme of social consciousness is not new to gospel music, and yet Houghton is able to make it sound so fresh and so infectious that it practically stops you in your tracks, forcing you to sit down and examine new ways to make a difference in the world. Not very many artists have the ability to make such calls to action. And it's that self-examination that Houghton uses to power each masterful track. The album title connotes several dualities that add depth to the lyrics: "one," possibly referring to his becoming a solo artist, as well as a reflection on the theme of coming together in a single voice; and "many," possibly referring to the number of new ways he implies that we can increase our social consciousness, and also the mindbending number of genres that he is able to fuse together, or perhaps the number of guest stars who contribute as either co-writers, singers, or rhythm section. Those guests include tobyMac on the pulsing rock track "You Found Me," Mary Mary on the glorious ballad "Every Prayer," Chevelle Franklyn on the reggae of "Surely Goodness," and Delirious? singer Martin Smith treating listeners on the straightforward rock of "Sing Redemption's Song." Maybe the most impressive feature of the album, however, is how "Iz" captures the energy of his previous live recordings in a studio setting.