Ocean's Edge Collective is more than just a band of worship leaders: it's a legacy.
The collective of musicians is formed by students of Ocean's Edge University, based out of Fort Lauderdale, FL. The band itself is a communally stewarded project intended to be inherited by future students. The inaugural OE Collective class includes Connor Henderson (vocals, guitar), Hannah Shelatz (vocals, piano), Dawson Askew (bass, production) and Troy Ramos (drums).
Each one of the musicians brings the skill and the heart for ministry that have been honed
through their time at Ocean's Edge University. As part of the school's curriculum, they've each had on-the-ground experience leading at local church campuses. "We want to bridge the gap between congregational worship and music we can listen to on your own," Troy explains. "We want it to be something that translates to both worlds. Being a part of the worship teams down here, seeing how the congregation is able to engage and worship, that's been helpful."
The result is a set of songs born out of that heart to reconcile personal and corporate devotion.
Hannah offers, "We purpose to create from a core of unity as we seek God's word and direction together."
"Home" was one of the earliest songs born from that unity, a heartfelt track that the band
members originally wrote as like-minded friends in 2019. When they all felt simultaneously stirred to form the Ocean's Edge Collective, it made sense for this song to be a centerpiece in that formation.
"It's the story of the prodigal son, and pretty much Jesus just bringing him home. This story is very dear to me," Troy shares. "I have a wild testimony myself. I got heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol for 8 years of my life. Something snapped in me when I found out about Ocean's Edge. I just know that I was called to be there. Coming to the school, I kind of quit every substance cold turkey."
It's that lived experience of God's extravagant grace that grounds these songs in authenticity. That pure-hearted abandon is also present on tracks like "Revival," an upbeat, guitar-driven song that is both a joy to listen to and a spiritually inspiring call to worship. "That song really shows the way we want to bridge the worship side and the fun-to-listen-to-at-home side," Troy says.
Ocean's Edge Collective's approach represents both the hearts of the individuals and the core of the university as a whole. Ocean's Edge offers degree programs that equip people of faith with leadership skills and firm theology, giving them a chance to learn in the same setting where they will invest their hearts for the rest of their lives: the local church.
That's why listeners immediately encounter a ministry-oriented posture in the original songs that Ocean Edge's Collective pens. That's also why the model of a collective vision that is passed down through generations of students who are all interconnected in their calling just makes sense. "I would love to see different faces taking on the challenge of producing, coming up with music hopefully holding onto the same heart that we're striving to establish now," Troy says as he looks toward the future. "We'll be auditioning every year so that we can train the next group of people."
Beyond just being a part of their educational experience, the members of OE Collective truly view their creativity as a calling. As Hannah sums it up, "If we ever write a song about the Lord without asking the Lord to enter into it with us, all we do is make noise. We want to make kingdom noise. We want to bring together the next generation of musicians and advance the gospel through the songs we write. Not because it hasn't been done before, but because God asked us to do it."
The Ocean's Edge Collective's songs are released in partnership with Madison Line Records, which you can learn more about at madisonlinerecords.com. For more about Ocean's Edge University, visit oceansedgeuniversity.com, or visit them on Facebook and Instagram.