Archive for the ‘Billboard Charts’ Category

Interview : Israel Houghton – “Covered: Alive In Asia” (2015)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

CD100_outMulti Grammy, Stellar, and Dove award winning artist Israel Houghton returns with his new album “Covered: Alive in Asia” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Gospel and Christian Charts. This was Houghton’s seventh album in his career to debut at the top of the charts. This live worship experience was recorded across the continent of Asia in stadiums in Jakarta, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo, and Manila. The album features new songs with Grammy Award Winners Yolanda Adams and Tye Tribett and Gospel rising sensation Jonathan McReynolds. Houghton teams up with longtime producing partner Aaron Lindsay to bring forth the groups legendary sound. Covered: Alive in Asia is the groups 10th album, as they celebrate 15 years of Ministry.

GOSPElflava’s Martin Williams recently caught up with Israel to discuss the new albums all the elements that went into making this project a chart topping success.

 

Martin: You’ve recorded albums all over the world, why did you decide to go to Asia?

Israel: We’ve been going there for seven or eight years as a team, and we have developed a good re pore in several countries there. When you go certain places and you realize there is a grace for you to be there and you like how you feel with those crowds and churches there, the thought about doing an album there begins to creep in. And it just so happen this particular Asian tour last fall worked out great to carry a film and audio crew to capture the energy of these six great places in Asia.

Martin: I listened to one of the tracks on the album and you said there was such a spirit of expectation and a hunger for GOD’s presence. What was it like being in those venues with all of those worshipers on one accord?

Israel: It was absolutely fantastic! No disrespect to us here in America but we have so many options. You can throw a rock and go have a great worship experience somewhere and go hear some of the greatest singers and musicians. In Asia that’s rare for them. It only happens every once in a while. So they come out in significant numbers to experience this and they don’t just stand around they engage. It’s incredibly refreshing especially when you are trying to teach brand new songs. Versus here in America where they may not get with you until you sing something that they like or something that’s familiar. Over there their attitude is BRING IT ON!

Martin: It’s been almost 15 years since your album “New Season” was released. Fast forward to now do you still feel the same excitement? Are you apprehensive? Are you concerned if the fans will like it? How do you feel?

Israel: I think it’s all of the above. I’m still very much excited about recording, writing, and releasing music. Certainly in 2000 and 2001 when “New Season” was released records were bought and sold differently than now. That album was released in the pre I- Tunes and streaming days. People had to actually have to go and buy the physical CD. Now it’s very different there are so many options and it’s harder to get the ground swell. When we did “Live From Another Level” it was our first album to sell 500,000 units and the album was certified “Gold” within a year. That blew our minds. And to sell that many units now is quite an undertaking. The beauty is that we don’t do what we do for the accolades, awards, or sales. Our rewards are ultimately found in the lives of people. The older I get the less panicked I am about a release. I don’t fret about how it’s going to do on the radio or will it go to the number 1 spot on Billboard. Most of our records end up selling for long periods of time. They are not just a quick release and you forget about them. Because we are out in front of people all the time our albums tend to have a longer life of sales. We’ve had Number 1’s, gold records and awards, so hopefully we are past having to prove ourselves and drive ourselves crazy. Ultimately it’s about people being blessed and connected to this music.

 

Martin: Does it still surprise you when you go out all over the world and the people know your music?

Israel: It’s such a true blessing and its speaks to the power of mediums like GOSPELflava and Gospel radio because people have the opportunity to connect with our sound and vision. You all get the word out and I’m grateful. It never gets old getting up and starting a song and hearing the crowd take it over, never gets old. I love when I can step back from the microphone and let the audience sing. I become a kid in those moments!

 

Martin: Out of all of your albums what’s the one song that you can’t go through a concert without singing?

Israel: It’s pretty much a tie between “You Are Good” and “Friend Of God”. If we ever leave the stage and don’t do “Friend of God” it’s going to be a problem. It’s like Marvin Sapp leaving the stage without singing “Never Would Have Made It’ or Kirk Franklin not doing “Stomp” or “Why We Sing”. I tell you the one song that’ gained momentum of the years and that’s “Moving Forward”. I’ve noticed we can’t get through a set without at least hitting the bridge of that song. I’m honored that I’ve been apart of writing some staples and putting those out. It never gets old to me.

Martin: With all the recent tragedies in the world, how important is it that believers continue to cultivate a life of worship?

Israel: It’s never been more important than the days we are living in now. Here we are in the most connective generations of all time through the way of social networking but we’ve also become extremely disconnected by the same reasons. I think the Gospel and the unity that comes from knowing who Jesus is best served and experienced together. What is tragic for me is that these horrible atrocities happen and that causes us to get off our phones for a second and come together as a community. I wish we didn’t need tragedy to do that. That’s one of the things I Love about church there is an hour and half in the week where we come together to say we are connected under one name and one faith. In this day and age we need that because we don’t have a lot of good news on Television. The definition of the Gospel is the good news.

Martin: On the album you collaborate with Tye Tribbett, Yolanda Adams, and Jonathan McReynolds, how was it working with those artists?

Israel: Well after so many years I think people have realized that I love doing collaborations. On “New Season” we had Keith Staten from Commissioned. The second album “Real”, I used a lot of Andrae Crouch’s crew, I didn’t do a lot of collaborations on “Live From Another Level”, but Michael Gunger worked with me on that. Of course the son of South Africa himself Jonathan Butler worked with me on “Alive In South Africa”. “ A Deeper Level” featured Chris Tomlin, YPJ. My Christmas album, “ A Timeless Christmas” has to be my favorite in terms of collaborations because it featured Marvin Winans, CeCe Winans, Lalah Hathaway and many others it was a dream come true. I’ve worked with Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, Take 6, so for me it’s about how the song its best served with another voice and artist. I’ve never been super particular either about collaborations. An artist doesn’t’ have to be of a certain stature for them to be featured on one of my songs. It’s all about what’s going to enhance the song. In some cases I’ve been very fortunate that’ the collaboration does help boost the cache of the album as well as the song.

Martin: You take a classic contemporary Christian song, “Mighty to Save” and you give an upbeat island flair, what made you remix the song?

Israel: For us its something we’ve been doing for years, and just never recorded it. Initially we were going to put it on “Jesus At The Center”. The group and myself found ourselves doing a lot of festivals. And sometimes at these festivals people don’t know us very well so its important to have songs that people know in reserve so they can join in on the experience. It’s always good to have songs you can always add a New Breed twist to it.

Martin: At the end of the day what do you want the listeners to take away from “Covered: Alive In Asia”?

Israel: I want them to take away that hope is not relegated to just one community, skin tone, or preference. Gospel is good news and it needs to be global. There are people in Asia who love Gospel music and this message and you may never see them. We have brothers and sisters who don’t look or talk like us but they serve the same God. It’s a beautiful thing to know. I want people to know Israel and new breed  as ambassadors.

 

Israel’s Latest Release, “Covered: Alive In Asia” is available in stores and online.  The project features a 16 track digital deluxe version and limited edition CD/DVD combo pack that includes 13 tracks plus a documentary offering an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the recording process and footage of some of the most beautiful and exotic cities in Asia.  Additionally, later this year, Houghton will release a special 90 minute concert film with exclusive performances and interviews. 

Pastor Charles Jenkins’ War Makes Its Way To Top Spot On Radio Chart

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

War, the infectious figPastorCharlesJenkinsAlbumCoverht song that serves as the lead single for Any Given Sunday,  Pastor Charles Jenkins and Fellowship Chicago’s latest project has made its way to Number 1 on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart.

“Nothing brings us more joy than hearing people sing #WAR as their personal fight song. There is so much going on in the world and real people are fighting real battles everywhere. The stories and testimonies we hear everyday say it all and in the words of the great Andrae Crouch: To God Be The Glory.”

Richard Smallwood’s Anthology Bows At Number 1

Monday, July 13th, 2015

RCA Inspiration celebrates Anthology, the new disc from celebrated maestro Richard Smallwood making its debut in the number one spot oRichard Smallwood CD Covern the Billboard Gospel Albums chart.  “I’m elated that ANTHOLOGY has entered on the number one spot on the Billboard Top Gospel Chart,” said Richard Smallwood. “Personally, this project is the most important recording that I’ve done, so it adds more to the excitement that people are excited. I’m so appreciative of their support!”

The two disc project is a celebration of Smallwood’s four decades in Gospel music and features his backing ensemble Vision flanked by noteworthy performances from Angela Winbush and former Richard Smallwood Singers alum Dottie Jones .

Tamela Mann Grabs Third #1 Radio Single

Friday, June 12th, 2015

63891-Tamela-Mann-originalThe blessings keep flowing on Tamela Mann.  This Place, the current single from her Best Days CD takes its place and marks the third consecutive number 1 single on the Billboard Gospel Radio chart.  Her fist single, Take Me to the King, penned by Kirk Franklin held on to the top spot on the Gospel radio chart for 24 weeks easily earning gold certification from the RIAA and is well on its way to platinum status. The second single, I Can Only Imagine  spent 13 weeks at #1 and also received an RIAA gold certification.

 

Marvin Sapp’s You Shall Live Takes Billboard Top Spot

Friday, June 12th, 2015

MarvinSapp_10_024_590x287You Shall Live, the 10th solo album from Marvin Sapp made its debut atop the Billboard Gospel Charts this week.  This marks the fourth #1 album debut for the two dozen Stellar Award winner.  “I am humbled that so many people still believe in the practical musical message that my team and I have shared over the years……………….Words can’t express the appreciation that I feel, ‘ Sapp noted.

 

Casey J Continues Billboard Chart Action

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

CaseyJ2 Marquis Boone Entertprises/Tyscot recording artist Casey J continues to make waves as her single Fill Me Up marks its 13th week atop the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart in addition to making a showing at #29 on the R & B chart.

Her debut CD, The Truth bowed at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Albums last month and continues to find a resting place in the top ten as she continues to travel the country in support of the album’s release.

A #1 Debut For Casey J

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015

Truth be told, Casey J makes her opening week debut at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart. The Truth is being fueled by the hit single Fill Me Up, which continues its 9th week at the top spot on the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart.Casey J

“We are so thankful and excited at Marquis Boone Enterprises that The Truth debuted at number #1 on Billboard,” says Casey J’s manager, Marquis Boone. “We were so optimistic about this artist and project and I believe the proof is in the pudding. Thank you to everyone that purchased the album and helped make this young new artist’s dream come true.”

Trent Von Lee Makes Bold Declaration With I Am A Praiser

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Vegasgiovanni | Trent“Some may not understand why I lift my hands or why I run and dance, its because that’s who I am. I am a Praiser!” With these words we are introduced to the ministry gift that is Trent Von Lee.  The west coast based worship leader, psalmist, author and teacher’s  debut CD Bishop Noel Jones Presents: Trent Von Lee I Am A Praiser was released on March 24th and was warmly received making its way into the top 10 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart.

Von Lee has been leading worship and ushering people into the presence of God for more than a decade serving under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Marichal Monts and the late Bishop Kenneth Moales before relocating to Los Angeles and joining the City of Refuge pastored by Bishop Noel Jones.  After surviving a bout with prostate cancer and loss of a kidney, Trent stands on the promises of God to declare and sing the Lord’s praises to all who will hear and receive.

Pastor Keion Henderson Shines On Give Me More

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Henderson Head Shot Pastor Keion Henderson enters the class of singing preachers with the debut of his single, Give Us More.  The Pastor of one of Houston’s fastest growing churches, The Lighthouse Church (where Gospel balladeer Earnest Pugh serves in music ministry) is already well known for his preaching and teaching and  is now gaining national attention as the single makes its way up the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart.

Give Me More, written by Lucious Hoskins is available via digital outlets.

This Week’s Top Gospel CDs

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

This was the week for the return of HELP, Erica Campbell’s deluxe edition of her solo disc captured the top spot on the Billboard Top Gospel Erica NewAlbums chart (likely aided by her Stellar Award wins).  Kirk Whalum’s Gospel According to Jazz series also continues to hold a spot in the top ten and Trent Von Lee makes its debut at number 12.  The top Gospel CDs are listed below:

  1.  Erica Campbell                                            Help 2.0
  2. Various Artists                                              WOW Gospel 2015
  3. Charles Jenkins/Fellowship Chicago       Any Given Sunday
  4. 21:03                                                                Outsiders
  5. Tasha Cobbs                                                  Grace
  6. Kirk Whalum                                                 Gospel According To Jazz
  7. Fred Hammond                                            I Will Trust
  8. Various Artists                                              WOW Gospel 2014
  9. Jason Nelson                                                 Jesus Revealed
  10. Various Artists                                              Billboard #1 Gospel Hits
  11. Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir                        Pray
  12. Trent Von Lee                                               I am a Praiser
  13. The Walls Group                                          Fast Forward
  14. Dorinda Clark Cole                                      Living It
  15. Tasha Page Lockhart                                   Here Right Now
  16. 3 Winans Brothers                                       Foreign Land
  17. Stellar Awards 30                                         Stellar Awards 30
  18. VaShawn Mitchell                                       Unstoppable
  19. J Moss                                                           Grown Folk Gospel
  20. Brian Courtney Wilson                              Worth Fighting For
  21. Michelle Williams                                       Journey To Freedom
  22. Smokie Norful                                             Forever Yours
  23. Icon Gospel                                                  Icon Gospel
  24. Kevin Levar                                                  Destiny
  25. Deitrick Haddon                                         Best of Deitrick Haddon