Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Isreal Hagan’s musical influences were his parents, Sylvester & Bertha Hagan, who immersed him in music from birth. Isreal’s singing career started in third grade. As a self taught musician, he picked up his first guitar at age nine, followed soon after by the bass. At age 14, Isreal started his songwriting career.
This nine time SAMMY Award Winner and Hall of Famer was featured as the Syracuse New Times cover story in February 1995 and the Post Standard’s Weekend Cover Story in March 1999. The articles depicted him as the outspoken defender of local music and RnB, a man who charts out his own path to success. Isreal had the honor of being flown out to California to perform with the legendary Carlos Santana.
As lead singer of Stroke, his voice possesses an unforgettable tone. With his crystalline vocals and 4 octave range, Isreal Hagan has a voice like no other. Carlos Santana describes Isreal’s voice as “having Ghost Tones”.
Stroke was formed in 1982 and currently features the talents of group founder Isreal Hagan on bass and vocals, Buke Babikian on drums, John Kelsey on guitar, and Bill Barry on keyboards and vocals. What sets this group apart from others is their vast collection of original material released over the course of their time together. Locally, Stroke has won 11 SAMMYs.