Gospel has been that musical, spiritual connection for people across the globe for decades, and that is especially true these days as the message of love and peace spreads. Artists like Andre Crouch, the Winans, Kirk Franklin, and Donnie Mcclurcklin, who are all veterans in gospel, have all helped build the platform for other artists to share their songs of spiritual liberation. Another generation of artists is beginning to make their mark in the field as well.

In the past few years or so, Israel Houghton has taken on the responsibility of sharing Gospel music, and in the process has impacted millions of people through the “lyrics of his life.”

The worship leader has been in ministry since 1989 and has touched millions of lives with his group New Breed. Houghton’s upcoming album, “Love God, Love People” includes collaborations with Aaron Lindsay and Tommy Sims, and is set to be released September 28.

Houghton recently spent a few minutes with Our Weekly and spoke about the “magic of music” and how it has transformed not only his life, but the lives of his fans.

Our Weekly (OW): What inspired you to become an artist?
Israel Houghton (IH): I think anybody learning their instrument in their bedroom as a teenager has aspirations … especially when they see pieces coming together, learning them and then having a chance to perform them for friends or in front of their church or something like that. Early inspiration for me was in realizing that music can change how someone feels, responds, or finds hope … when I discovered that something I write privately could have a significant affect publicly, I think my inspiration came mainly from that.

OW: Does music draw you closer to God? People? Family? Self? How?
IH: I think music does have the ability to accompany the journey of life–spiritual life and relational life. I have a lot of memories of growing up that are attached to music … there’s something that sticks to your bones differently, when music is attached. Even if you had to memorize scripture, when you put it to music, it stays with you forever.

OW: What is music to you?
IH: A manifold force that has the ability to soothe, provoke, challenge, and give energy and life to a moment.

OW: How are people affected by your music?
IH: Well, we’ve been working for 20 years, and a lot of the feedback we get is from people who say our music is part of the ‘soundtrack’ of their day. That and the stories people share with us, the hope they find in the message of our songs is as inspiring a thing as I can imagine being part of.

OW: What is your goal, when you make music?
IH: To please God and encourage people.

OW: What artists have/continue to inspire you?
IH: Andrae Crouch’s music has always and still inspires me. Also, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, U2, and Sting … it all encourages and challenges me.