Artist of the Week: BANKS

Banks is a part of the modern wave of female neo-pop vocalists. Her R&B vocal techniques are matched with new-age electro beats, resulting in an absolutely captivating musical experience. Yet, as electro-pop vocalists rise, Banks stays true to her original sound.

BANKS Continues Her Steady Rise

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The combination of delicate female vocals and electro-pop is common in current music, but Banks does not hold back the soul; she delivers a relateable and refreshing sound that bends genres and displays pop-evolution.

Musical elements like soft beat drops distinguish her from other female pop artists today, while vocal layering brings variation and texture to her songs. Often there are haunting, choral-like backups, but in some songs, she displays the strength and precision of her voice solo.

Even when Banks slows it down with a song like “Waiting Game,” a soft piano ballad, she does not disappoint. By the second verse, a deep and ominous beat begins, bringing a level of heaviness that is not often present in electro-pop music.

“This is What it Feels Like”

Born as Jillian Banks, the singer was raised in Los Angeles where she still resides. She began experimenting with music as a teenager as a means to deal with familial and personal issues. Lyrical themes of loneliness and being lost still reside with the singer as music continues to be her outlet for emotional catharsis. These dark ideas are also portrayed through the haunting beats that accompany her lyrics, which makes sense, as she cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as main influences.

Banks is still relatively new to the scene; her first single “Before I Ever Met You” was just released in February 2013, followed by the EP London via Harvest Records. Last year, she also went on tour supporting The Weeknd, marking her first billing.

2014 is shaping into a breakout year for Banks, as her following and media exposure grow steadily in anticipation of her debut album. Her inclusion on the Coachella lineup didn’t hurt, either. By performing at arguably the biggest summer music festival in the U.S., thousands of people were able to experience her music first-hand, and scores more watched along with the live stream.


To be a successful electro-pop vocalist, you need equal parts talent from the vocalist and producer alike. Banks nails this aspect. The magic of her music comes from the irresistible pairing of her R&B vocals with complex and modern beats.

On London, a different producer handles each track. While this seems like a risky move when putting together an EP, she revels in the diversity. It is obvious that Banks holds a strong artistic grip on the instrumental aesthetic of her music. Surprisingly, London is very cohesive, flauting the unabashed honesty that defines her work.

Banks is now on tour in North America until July where she’ll head out on her Europe leg of the tour. Her first full length, Goddess, will be out in late fall, but we’ve already named the title track one of our best songs of the month.

Article by Jess Keller

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