Isaac Cates is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. A classically trained pianist, who is also a gospel music specialist, but also a singer-song writer… Oh! and also a choir clinician. Turns out he is also a fantastic podcast guest! Join Isaac and I in studio for this multifaceted conversation. We discussed Isaac’s approach to forging new paths with his group Isaac Cates and Ordained, his feeling of “never quite fitting in” to a musical category, our thoughts on current trends in music education and much more.
Isaac Cates began singing and playing the piano at age four and started composing as a teenager. While a student at the Conservatory of Music, University of Missouri-Kansas City, he arranged spirituals, composed original chorales and set sacred text. Currently, Cates is in demand as a choral clinician and music educator throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to his leadership at music seminars, he is also a prolific producer, Music educator and recording artist. Isaac is a gifted pianist and vocal arranger, sought after for his vocal coaching expertise. He has a unique ability to blend genres, utilizing different musical techniques such as bel canto style with speech level singing. His original composition, “Strong Tower”, is sung and translated in over 17 different countries languages. Firmly rooted in both gospel and classical training, Isaac combines soulful harmonies, polyphonic rhythms and dazzling piano accompaniments to create his trademark sound.
In 2004 Isaac collaborated with a colleague to form Ordained, a small musical ensemble of skilled vocalists. Together, Isaac Cates & Ordained have appeared in concerts and been featured alongside some of the worlds greatest artists; From gospel artists Bebe and Marvin Winans to country sensations Trace Adkins and Lyle Lovett. Ordained has toured all over the united states and Switzerland. Made up of soloists, worship leaders, music educators and instrumentalists, Ordained is praised for their dynamic sound. Ordained released their first album in 2006 entitled “Take My Life”, a Christmas EP, “Carol Of The Bells” and numerous singles. Ordained’s music videos of “Hold On” and “Carol Of The Bells” have over 1 million views on social media. Ordained is preparing to release a new recording at the end of the Year.