Posted On 16 Sep 2014
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Banks, BBC, BBC Radio, BBC Radio 1, Before I Ever Met You, Beggin For Thread, DJ Zane Lowe, Drowning, Ellie Goulding, Erykah Badu, Fall Over, Fall Over EP, Feist, Fiona Apple, Fuse, Goddess, Good Year Recordings, Harvest Records, Huffington Post, IAMSOUND, IAMSOUND Records, Jason Bentley, Jillian Rose Banks, KCRW, Lauryn Hill, Lily Collins, London, London EP, Los Angeles, Morning Becomes Eclectic, MTV, neo soul music, Neo-Soul, Shazam, Sonos, Sonos Studio, Soundcloud, Spin, Spin Magazine, Spotify, The Boston Globe, The Weeknd, trap music, Victoria's Secret, Vogue, Waiting Game, Zane Lowe
Hot off the launch of her debut album Goddess, singer-songwriter BANKS joined “Morning Becomes Eclectic” host Jason Bentley for a live taping of the popular KCRW show on Saturday evening. The self-taught Los Angeles-based artist, known for her harmonious industrial-sound and catchy vocals, performed an incredibly intimate set during the much-anticipated event. Fans who were unable to attend the event at Sonos Studio can listen to it on KCRW on October 13th.
The way that I would describe Jillian Rose Banks, known simply as BANKS and her sound, would be, complex simplicity caught in a dark tunnel of echoing loneliness and regret. Her sound is a mix between “trap” (a music genre that originated in the early 2000s from Southern hip hop in the Southern United States) and neo soul with a bit of the 80’s thrown in for good measure. I hereby dub it as, ” psychtrapadellic “. BANKS‘ sound has been described as dark R&B and compared to The Weeknd (with whom she has toured with) and Ellie Goulding. Billboard also wrote that “her rhapsodic voice possesses a frail vulnerability and recalls singers like Feist and Erykah Badu.”
Early press on Jillian Banks, focused largely on how little was actually known about her. The Los Angeles native seemed to appear out of nowhere, dropping a song, “Before I Ever Met You,” on Soundcloud in early 2013 to huge acclaim, and appearing in only a handful of photos in which her dark, searching eyes and model-like cheekbones were hidden in shadow or behind her long brown hair. Tonight at Sonos, guests were able to see a sweet, funny, thoughtful and playful side of the singer.
Here is what we learned:
The songstress started writing songs at the age of 15. She taught herself piano when she received a keyboard from a friend to help her through her parents’ divorce. She says she “felt very alone and helpless. I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling or who to talk to.”
Although she cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her biggest influences. She says that music helps her release her emotions and for that reason kept her music private while she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology.
On how she decided to call her album, Goddess :
It’s a big theme throughout my music to just embrace everything about your own mind and to always feel powerful. It’s not just a feminine thing, but for men too, whether they feel weak, or strong, or crazy or reclusive. I want everyone to feel powerful no matter what little beasts they have in their head. I feel like a goddess even if I’m singing about needing to put on makeup to look for someone.
On her idol, Fiona Apple and if she has ever reached out to her:
No. People at my label know that I love her, and they were like, “Do you want to?” I don’t know if I do! When I first started writing, she was really an inspiration to me because she was fearless with everything that she did. She was unapologetic, and she got everything out in her songs. That was just so encouraging to me, and it made me feel like I could do it too.
BANKS used the audio distribution website SoundCloud to put out her music before securing a record deal. Her friend, actress, Lily Collins used her contacts to pass along her music to people in the industry and she began working with the label Good Years Recordings. Her first official single, called “Before I Ever Met You” was released in February 2013. The song which had been on a private SoundCloud page ended up being played by BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe. Banks released her first EP, Fall Over by IAMSOUND Records and Good Years Recordings. Billboard called her a “magnetic writer with songs to obsess over.” Banks released her second EP called, London by Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings in 2013 to positive reviews. Her song “Waiting Game” from the EP was featured in the 2013 Victoria’s Secret holiday commercial.
Shazam included her on its list of “2014 Acts to Watch” and she was named to the iTunes list of “New Artists for 2014”. Banks was artist of the week for Vogue in August 2013 where they wrote that her songs “perfectly capture a feeling of being lost and powerless in the world.” Banks has been tipped by more than a dozen media outlets as the artist to watch in 2014, including Spin calling London the “Album You Gotta Hear in 2014“and being named as one of Spotify‘s Artists Under the Spotify Spotlight for 2014.The singer was also nominated for the Sound of 2014 award by the BBC and an MTV Brand New Nominee in 2014. Additional accolades came from The Boston Globe, fuse, and The Huffington Post. Moral of the story: BANKS is a BADASS.
At one point during her performance, BANKS came down from the stage to walk through the crowd, microphone in hand, singing as security grinned and happily followed the singer through the pack house of adoring fans. It was a cool moment as you never really knew what to expect from the stunning singer, but you can tell she has a very gung-ho, ” just go for it” kinda attitude. I dig it.
Sonos Studio, is a proud supporter and regular partner of KCRW, which offers guests unique experiences that explore the intersection of art, technology and music. I’ve been to the acoustically designed “listening gallery” many times for shows, but this was the first show where the fire marshall was on hand to ensure that the packed house stayed at capacity. I was happy to make it just in time before the fire marshall escorted others away from the already maxed out venue. Her intimate performance was well worth the wait.
To learn more about BANKS, visit her website here