Like her website URL proclaims, her name is Banks. Known for the moodiness of her alternative R&B songs and her “mysterious” and intense persona, Banks (sometimes stylized as BANKS) has been lauded as the “next big thing” from the start of her career.
Jillian Rose Banks grew up in Los Angeles and taught herself piano to get through her parents’ divorce. She attended USC to study psychology and eventually wrote a thesis about children of divorce. Her rise to fame was fairly quick and painless. After being discovered while she was still attending school, Yung Skeeter helped her land a deal at UK label Good Years. In 2013, DJ Zane Lowe played her debut song “Before I Ever Met You” on BBC Radio 1, and a star was born.
Her first two EPs Fall Over and London were met with critical acclaim and led her to tour with The Weeknd as his opening act in late 2013. She embarked on her own tour in 2014, and in September of that year released her debut album Goddess. The album was met with positive reviews, and reached top 20 charts in several countries- it hit #12 in the United States. One of the tracks, “Waiting Game”, was featured in the movie Divergent. Throughout it all, she has worked with artists such as SOHN, The Weeknd, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, and Shlomo.
Banks has repeatedly expressed her love for the R&B genre (she counts Lauryn Hill as one of her biggest influences) and the connection she has with her fans. Early on she posted her personal phone number on her official Facebook page, but it’s hard to imagine she’d be able to do that now with her level of popularity. Her latest album The Altar was released two months ago, being described by many critics as the next step in her evolution as a stronger, more confident artist.
By Tiffany Wang