By: Nikki Cohen
I sat down with The Kollection’s Sean Edwards and Paulette Ely to talk music journalism, their community, and the direction that the platform is headed as we move into 2021
When The Kollection (The K) was born in 2010, it started as a blog simply uniting people through their passion for music. Fast forward a decade, and The K has flourished into an editorial platform and lifestyle brand made by and for young creatives, musicians, journalists, and an intersection thereof. Experiential events, short films, long-form editorials, and carefully curated playlists are just a few pieces of The K puzzle. But throughout the years, their mission has remained the same: The K believes in music for the rest of us.
The K’s youth-dominated environment fosters an essence of self-expression. Writers offer an honest perspective on what it's like to be young and in the industry, unhindered by the traditional cut-and-dry tactics of corporate music journalism. As Head Editor Sean Edwards puts it, “there's two things going on: there's the writing, and then there's the music you're talking about. The writing is not just simply a vessel to either promote or criticize another piece of art. What we try to take back at The Kollection and encourage from our writers is an unfettered expression.”
Sean encourages his staff to refrain from writing just to write, but instead to write about something that they love. This sense of passion is integral to The K’s identity. Editor/ Editorial Consultant Paulette Ely describes this top-down passion as fostering a “really interesting community of people who trust The Kollection.” This trust, built upon a collective love for music and culture, keeps their young audience coming back for more. And as a team, this trust breeds growth, creativity, and collaboration inside and outside of the work place.
Prior to the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns, experiential events were fundamental to The K’s brand. But after the pandemic hit, they started focusing more on the editorial side. As Paulette points out “if you haven't changed from 2020 to 2021, something is wrong.” Now once a month, The K releases a magazine-style collection of work that's meant to encapsulate the general feelings of the current moment. On the inspiration behind shifting more towards editorial, Sean says “what The Kollection has really become about in the pandemic is sharing ideas.” And like many of us over the last year, Sean describes this change in pace as a way to “explore our voices and find our space.”
Their fifth volume, The New World Survival Guide, dropped on February 1st with the intention of helping their community navigate yet another volatile year full of change and uncertainty. Included in this volume is their debut short film, Dear Los Angeles. Meant to be a love letter to the city, the film highlights the diverse and vibrant energy that still hums through the streets of LA even in the wake of the pandemic. As Paulette puts it, “when the pandemic hit, everyone wanted to preserve the beauty and culture of Los Angeles. Even though Los Angeles can be this really scary place, we love her so much and we owe our craft, our creativity, and our community to this city.”
Similar to most of us, The Kollection has been on an exploratory journey this last year. The K is only on the rise, constantly striving to be an even more inclusive a space for honest, pure discourse. As we move through 2021, they will continue developing, growing, and spreading passion throughout their community of young music lovers.