Benjaman James and Last Gasp Collective

Benjaman James Last Gasp Collective event poster


Benjaman James is a Michigan-based, Traverse City-native artist, musician, and bandleader of a self-titled eight-piece pop-funk band.

As a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with roots in funk, jazz, R&B, and soul, Benjaman inspires his audience by generating dance-worthy, captivating, lyrical music that takes listeners on an energetic improvisational journey.

Benjaman features a collective of seven incredible Michigan-based musicians, including a heroic horn section that has made dancers out of the most static crowds since the band’s conception in 2016.


The compelling collection of artist that is Last Gasp has made waves that would leave the pacific envious. Sometimes soft or loud, at times smooth and mature, other times youthful and thought provoking, their raw, yet passion filled performances have intrigued thousands in little over a year at Midwest Fest, Lamplight Festival, and the Black Arts Fest. The group has shared the stage with acts such as Nappy Roots, Bus Driver, The Go Rounds, Guilty Simpson, Shamar Alef, J. Robb. Yolonda Lavender and DC of Truth Tone. Last Gasp continues to be a huge promoter of the collaborative spirit that is shared amongst many artist in Southwest Michigan.

Made up of Western Michigan University music students as well as local musicians, the diverse group has been brought together by a mutual love of art. Their live arrangements are reminiscent of The Internet, The Roots, and Hiatus Kaiyote where melodic cello or saxophone lines, fuzzed out guitar lead, and gospel piano set a beautiful soundscape underneath the soulful voices and poetic lyricism of Ashley Hicks, Lakeshore Drew, and Jay Jackson. As this group continues to debunk stereotypes one melody at a time, they hope their music continues to touch the hearts of people from all walks of life.


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