Artist Spotlight: Collector’s Edition
“We speak for the new generation of listeners,” explains VG of exciting new soul/funk/hip-hop act Collector’s Edition. “Those who refuse to follow the stereotypes of who or what one must listen to. The people who want to experience life and other cultures and ideas without restrictions.”
A military brat born in Germany, VG brings lyrical talent and percussion to Collector’s Edition, while his other half—Chicago-bred crooner D. Allen—plays keyboard and shares songwriting duties. Get to know the Georgia-based duo below as they share their thoughts on being a rare commodity in today’s cluttered music scene, their funky debut track “Strip,” their upcoming mixtape and definition of what makes a true musician.
You guys call yourselves Collector’s Edition because you “fit the mold of rarity.” What makes you so rare?
V.G.: “What makes us so rare is the focus on being an organic hip-hop group. We pursue direction and emotion with the tracks—a lot of time we start with a concept and build around it.”
D.Allen: “I think the thing that makes us rare is we bring a certain vibe in our music that gets people interested. We make music that’s personal, for people to really like. It’s rare that you find that in music nowadays, everything is seems too predictable and manufactured.”
How did you come together as a group?
V.G.: “D and I worked together at Best Buy; we each did music separately. I had heard from other individuals around the store he played the keys, and I needed an individual with better keyboard skills than I had for a track I was working on. After collaborating on that track, we liked the chemistry that came from the project and decided to do a couple more songs together. From there we slowly evolved into a group.
D.Allen: “During those sessions we became friends and developed a sound that gives us no boundaries on what we can do musically.”
Your MySpace page reads “True musicians…cats who love their craft and spend the time perfecting it.” What do you think makes a musician successful?
D.Allen: “One thing that makes a musician successful is the impact and influence they bring through their music—a musician that can inspire and influence people, whether it’s for people to pursue music or for people to live life. I mean, look at what Michael Jackson did with his music. His music reached out to so many people of different races and ages for decades, and influenced generations of musicians to pursue music, including Collector’s Edition.
V.G.: “A true musician is an individual who creates music, who looks at music as an art form, like a painting. It starts with blank canvas and they strive to express their emotions, thoughts and views through the craft…to show the world through their eyes.”
Why was “Strip” chosen as the debut track to introduce you?
D.Allen: “‘Strip’ is a fun party song that will get your attention as soon as you hear it. I’m a big Rick James fan, and that’s one of my favorite songs by him. The way it was sampled was done flawlessly. Plus, it truly showcases the CE sound and how we blend old school with new school, which appeals to a young and old audience.”
V.G.: “It combines a lot of the essence we’re trying to display with the group in a familiar package. It’s lyrically witty without being overhead or irrelevant.”
Your upcoming mixtape’s called Transition. Where does the name come from?
V.G.: “We want to be blunt and let listeners know exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to transition your ears and minds from what you hear from other groups and slowly ease you into our musical world.”
D.Allen: “We want to bring CE to the forefront of the music industry. I know I might be talking a little prematurely but I foresee it, and this mixtape is only the beginning.”
How would you describe the music on Transition?
D.Allen: “The music is very eclectic, personal and diverse. We’ve got pop records, hip-hop records of course, R&B, house and original music. It definitely showcases our musical range and influences that can be expected on our debut album. On these records we talk about things we’ve gone through in our lives and we want to draw our audience in so they can get to know us, because we go through things just like everybody.”
V.G.: “Transition is progressive, provocative and real. We express our fears and shortcomings, along with celebrating our strengths and wishes.”
Your music oozes funk. Why is real funk such a difficult sound to capture?
V.G.: “Real funk is felt…haha! The easiest way to describe real funk is like sex—well, making love. It’s emotional, passionate. It’s progressive, building to a climax. And just when you let go and allow your senses to take control, it slowly eases you into a different reality than you left.”
D.Allen: “For us, it’s not that hard, because funk music comes from the soul. You’ve got to be able feel the music, it’s got to touch you in the pit of your soul. You can’t manufacture it or try to duplicate; it’s not going to give you the same feeling. To me, funk is something you got to be born with or be exposed to to really appreciate it.”
Switching it up to fashion. How would you both describe your personal style?
D.Allen: “My style is dapper. I wear dress shirts, ties, dress shoes, sneakers (Adidas Sambas), polo’s, etc. I always where shades; that’s like my signature. I try to keep up with the latest fashion trends, I read GQ magazine on the regular. I dress up a little bit more than V.G, people call us the ‘odd couple.’ I’m more like Felix in the situation!”
V.G.: “I’m horrible at fashion. I’m a mix between old school styles I liked when I was younger and newer styles I like now. But as far as the description of exactly what I do fashionably, really I just go with what I feel at the moment, hoping it works. If not, I just toss on a printed tee and keep it moving.”
In today’s muddy music landscape, why should fans check out Collector’s Edition?
D.Allen: “Fans should check out Collector’s Edition because we’re a ‘people’s group.’ We make music personal to us and for people who go through everyday life. We don’t make songs about materialistic things or the next dance craze (not to knock anybody). We make music that inspires and touch peoples emotions. That’s the only way we know how to do it.”
V.G.: “I feel like we are the truth in a world of lies, We try not to sell pipe dreams of something we haven’t been through. I talk about everything you face, from self-loathing to love. I do so because, for a lot of people, knowing you’re not alone in what you’re facing is more than enough to help you through it.”
Watch the video for “Strip”:
Check out Collector’s Edition on MySpace.