Q&A with GUORDAN BANKS – Writing For JOHN LEGEND, New Single “Keep You In Mind” and Performing at ABC Radio’s Party at Worldwide Radio Summit in Hollywood, April 15th!
Posted On 16 Mar 2015
Tag: 50 Cent, A Song for Everyone: The Platinum Edition, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Artist Interview, Babyface, Bank On It, Bank On It Entertainment, Calabasas, California, Can't Lose You, G-Eazy, Instagram, Interview, iTunes, John Legend, K. Roosevelt, Kanye West, Keyshia Cole, LA Reid, Laface Records, Larry Gold, Lauryn Hill, Love, Love In The Future, Meek Mill, music interview, Musiq Soulchild, Never End, Pennsylvania, Pharrell, Philadelphia, Philly, R&B, Rodney Jerkins, Soundcloud, Spotify, Sweet Suite, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, The Newness, Twitter, When It's Dark Out, Worldwide Radio Summit, Worldwide Radio Summit 2016, WWRS, WWRS 2016, YouTube, YouTube LA Space
North Philadelphia native GUORDAN BANKS, (pronounced: Jor-dan) is a singer-songwriter, born and raised in North Philadelphia who has collaborated with some of the biggest stars of the day, including 50 Cent, Kanye West, John Legend, K. Michelle and more.
Guordan’s music is steeped in conversation, rich with textured melodies and velvety harmonies. “Keep You In Mind” produced by ‘Hit Boy’ K. Roosevelt, is a smooth upbeat, sing-along; laced with a body-swaying R&B music track.
Guordan was born the second-to-last of eight children, with both of his parents being preachers and his siblings all being vocalists. That being said, it’s no surprise that he began singing at only five years old. “Music has been instilled in me all of my life,” he confesses. “So essentially, I’m just embracing who I am. At first, his young position in a large family relegated him to supporting roles, usually that of a background tenor. However, he was met with adversity due to a speech impediment.
“I used to have a bad stuttering problem and because of that a lot of people would stay away from me in school,” he admits.
In fourth grade he tried out for a part in his school’s rendition of Oliver Twist, but the director dismissed him, informing him that he wasn’t fit for the production: if he couldn’t speak clearly, how could he ever expect to sing? Guordan’s mother, however, observed that her son’s speech issues weren’t present in his singing and came up with a plan: she would truly make him sing for his supper. Instead of speaking to her, all of his communication would have to be in melodic form. “I would literally sing to my mother if I wanted to go to the store, or outside,” Banks recalls.
“Whatever I had to say to her, I would sing to her. Through that, I began to build my confidence and learned to talk without a stutter. It also helped me become the songwriter I am today, because I don’t ever really write anything down with a pen or a pad. I just sing it out and whatever comes out is what I use and adjust to keep. If I could change back the hands of time, I wouldn’t change being kicked out of that play.”
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with the multi-talented singer-songwriter to chat about writing for John Legend, his latest collaborations, new single and the future. Enjoy Nicole’s chat with Guordan below!
Hi Guordan! How are you today? Where does our interview find you today and what else is on the agenda besides our interview?
Hi Nicole! I am currently at home in Calabasas, California. I just went to the gym today and had a nice workout.
Later, I plan on going into the studio tonight to work on some new music. I also have some amazing new music that we are planning to release soon, so we are trying to square that up!
For those that are not familiar, how did your journey in music begin? Who or what was the catalyst or inspiration for you to want to pursue a career in music?
My love for music began when I was a child…everyone in my family sings in church. It’s a family thing and we love it! Music has always called my name.
As a kid, we would record songs in my friend’s dining room until we fell sick from no sleep and food. The results were songs that eventually ended up on Meek Mills’ first mix-tape and later my own.
“Being featured on Meek Mills mix-tape was the catalyst for my career that made my dream of being a recording artist real.
Prior to that, John Legend opened up the door for me as a writer. The opportunity to write on his “Love In The Future” album solidified my writing career. Those have been, by far the two biggest catalysts in my journey.”
You are creating quite a buzz collaborating with some of the biggest musical stars of the day, including: 50 Cent, Kanye West, John Legend and K. Michele. How have those experiences been? What did you learn from those collaborations? (Please let me know which tracks you worked on with the above artists so I can add that info)
Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!!!
I learned that there’s a common thread that connects all successful artists. This thread runs through my veins. It’s as if we all relate to our gift the same way. It’s very interesting to see it in others, especially those who I admire and respect.
Your lead track and current single, “Keep You In Mind” is currently at #14 on the Mediabase chart and climbing! (We can update this w/ latest info) What was the inspiration there? (You can talk about working w/ K. Roosevelt)
She will remain nameless. “Just saying” LOL. It was a special lady from Philadelphia that I really liked and wanted to get close too. She was at the end of a very tough relationship so the timing was bad. I knew she had a lot going on and when things smoothed out we’d have shot. So I asked her “ Can I keep you in mind?” and she replied “YES”…
K.Roosevelt is a dynamic producer with a broad range of musical perspectives. We have to get back in the studio and do it again…
You have collaborated with so many great artists (mentioned above) as well as working with hitmaker / producer, Rodney Jerkins for your song, “Can’t Lose You,” a confident and soaring pop composition that can easily stand next to the other hits on the radio today. Who would you love to collaborate with next, Guordan?
I would love to collaborate with an artist like Pharrell! That would be incredible! He just brings something different out of every artist. I feel that I can make music in many genres, and to be able to work with someone as versatile as him would be a great experience. Hopefully he is a fan of my music and we can make this dream a reality.
Who have been your inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
My grandmother. I wrote a song about her entitled “Never End” featuring string conductor Larry Gold. The lyrics are my expression of gratitude, appreciation, and honor that I have for her love.
“Musically, Babyface, La Reid and their legendary Laface Records. They laid a clear blueprint for how to build an independent label with multiple genres lead by R&B. LA & Babyface: I need you on my board of directors!”
Nowadays, everything is so instant…you push a button and it’s yours ala Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud etc. What was the first album (you can remember) that you spent your hard earned money on back in the day and bought for yourself? (or an album that has made a lasting impact on you)
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. That album has really inspired me in many ways. I remember when I got the album that I was listening to it all the way through. It really pulled me in…and by the way, it was a CD! It’s crazy how nowadays our computers don’t even have cd drives. Technology is changing music so fast!
What was the first song you fell in love with (that you can remember) growing up and why?
“Love” by Musiq Soulchild. It’s a timeless song. It was easy for me to connect with this song because he comes from the same environment and musical circles in Philadelphia. The tone of the production spoke to my heart. The sound of Philly soul…
Who is currently in your playlist? Any artists or genres we would be surprised to find in there?
I listen to a little of everything. I love good music. Spotify has some great playlists to listen to depending on the vibe you are going for. So I choose as long as it gives me a good feeling. One artist in particular that I have been listening to is named G- Eazy. His album When Its Dark Out is great! I love that album! He’s a beast!
What’s on tap next for you, Guordan? What are you most excited about for this year?
Well right now, my radio tour is winding down. I enjoyed meeting and performing for radio & music programmers that are supporting my music. My final performances will be at YouTube’s LA Space for their Music Night event and the Worldwide Radio Summit, in Hollywood at the Roosevelt Hotel where you can find out more about here .
Also, Spotify has added “Keep You In Mind” to their “Chilled R&B”, “Are & Be”, “Sweet Suite”, and “The Newness” playlists. I’m pretty excited about that!
And lastly, I’m recording more music and staying in the gym toning up. My determination to be active and eat right has allowed me to loose weight. Physically, I’ve got a new look and hot new tracks for the next single and album. You guys are going to love my album!
To stay connected with GUORDAN BANKS , visit him via his socials below!