The story behind the creation of Collective Peace is quite interesting.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist, LaDarrel “Saxappeal” Johnson of Detroit and his wife, LaKeisha "Ideeyah" Johnson, a vocalist also bred in Detroit, were asked to perform at the annual Dilla Day celebration, which honors hip hop producer Jay Dilla. They put together a band full of musicians, and during their set, the audience, already hyped up from their performance, asked them what their name was. Johnson told the crowd they were a collective piece of musicians, and that's when Pepper Holten, (mother of deceased Detroit rapper Proof) yelled out, "That's your name "Collective Peace!"
And, as they say, the rest is history.
Collective Peace started out as a spontaneous group that united for one show, but over the last few years, they have morphed into one of the hottest soul fusion bands whose eclectic sound is pummeling through the streets of Detroit. Infused with a blend of electrifying melodies, the band powerfully meshes a vast array of genres into one major sound. From the sultry vocals to the harmonious strings of the violin, Collective Peace is spinning the musical movement into a new direction.
The group has performed for artists such as Zo!, Amp Fiddler, Jessica Care Moore, Dwele, Stokely (frontman of Mint Condition), Phonte of the Foreign Exchange, Sy Smith, Choklate, Carmen Rodgers, and many other phenomenal artists.
"Being where we are now, that definitely wasn't the plan four years ago," says Johnson, who is the music director/producer/saxophonist of Collective Peace. "It’s just exciting to see the movement growing, and the people are excited and their excitement excites us."
The blueprint of this group comprises of seven core members, all of which are Detroit based musicians. It's easy to label the band as a jazz group, but to truly define their sound is not that simple. Collective Peace’s keyboardist Kristopher "Jahi" Crosby says it’s mainly like hybrid music and combines jazz, R&B, funk, hip-hop and soul, all of which are genres the band is influenced by.
"A lot times what happens is with Saxappeal being the lead, they see the saxophone player and just assume its jazz," says Crosby. "They don't think it could be soul music or even hip-hop. People like to put things in a category, but with our music, you really can't put us in a box.”
What makes Collective Peace’s performances unique is that the audience never knows what kind of genre the band will belt out. Their set covers a surge of songs from each of the members’ own projects as well as intricately deciphered cover tunes. Crosby describes the goal of the band is to ultimately work on their own individual projects while supporting one another. Saxappeal's next album will most likely feature members of Collective Peace and the same goes with the other members’ solo albums.
The band is now in the process of finalizing their highly anticipated debut album titled "Introducing Collective Peace", which is tentatively scheduled for a late spring or early summer release in 2015. The album features notable talent including Zo!, Amp Fiddler and Jessica Care Moore, Dwele, and more.
Collective Peace is currently looking for a distribution deal and the band is trying to determine whether they should release the project independently.
Now more than ever, with the release of their popular single, "Let The Music Play", which has been on the iTunes Top 100 Jazz charts since June 2014, fans outside of the metro Detroit area are enjoying the live Collective Peace experience and can’t seem to get enough.
"We want people to leave the show feeling better than when they came into the show. We really believe that music is universal, we want it to be from the smallest of kids to someone's great grandmother, and we want music that everyone can relate to."