Banks (singer)

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BANKS Lollapalooza.JPG
Banks performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago in August 2015
Background information
Birth name Jillian Rose Banks
Born (1988-06-16) June 16, 1988 (age 29)
Orange County, California, US
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2011–present
Associated acts

Jillian Rose Banks (born June 16, 1988), known mononymously as Banks (often stylized as BANKS), is an American singer and songwriter. She is signed to Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings.[5] Following the release of two extended plays, Fall Over and London, in 2013, Banks released her debut album, Goddess, on September 5, 2014, to positive reviews from contemporary music critics. It reached number 12 on the US Billboard 200, while its most successful single, "Beggin for Thread", was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[6][7] Her second studio album, The Altar, was released on September 30, 2016, to a similar positive reception, becoming her second top 20 album in the United States.[8]

She has toured internationally with The Weeknd and was also nominated for the Sound of 2014 award by the BBC and an MTV Brand New Nominee in 2014.

Life and career

Early life

Jillian Rose Banks was born on June 16, 1988, in Orange County, California.[9][10] She moved to Los Angeles when she was about one or two years old and lived in Tarzana, an affluent neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.[10] Banks started writing songs at the age of 15.[5] 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."[11][12] She later enrolled to study psychology at University of Southern California (USC), where she wrote a thesis on the children of divorced parents,[1] eventually earning a bachelor's degree in psychology.[12]

2013–2014: Breakthrough and Goddess

During Banks' time at USC she was put in contact with DJ Yung Skeeter, who offered to manage her and brought her to British label Good Years Recordings.[13] After posting a track called "Before I Ever Met You" on a private SoundCloud page in February 2013, the song ended up being played by DJ Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1.[12][14] Banks released her debut extended play (EP), Fall Over, internationally in March 2013 by Good Years Recordings.[15] Billboard called her a "magnetic writer with songs to obsess over."[5] Her second EP, London, was released in September 2013 by Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings to positive reviews from music critics.[16][17] In an interview after the debut of her first album she posted her phone number on her social media accounts to be closer to her fans and have a more intimate connection to all of them.[18] Her song "Waiting Game" from the EP was featured in the 2013 Victoria's Secret holiday commercial.[19]

In late 2013, she received nominations for awards from both the BBC and MTV. She was nominated for a Sound of... award by the BBC and a Brand New Nominee by MTV.[20] She was included on Shazam's list of "2014 Acts to Watch",[21] as well as on iTunes' list of "New Artists for 2014".[22] 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."[11] Banks has been tipped by several media outlets as the artist to watch in 2014, including Spin listing London as one of the "50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014"[23] and being named as one of the artists under Spotify's Spotlight for 2014.[24] Additional accolades came from The Boston Globe,[25] Fuse,[26] and The Huffington Post.[27]

Banks was the opening act for Canadian singer The Weeknd during his fall 2013 tour,[28] supporting him in both the United States and the United Kingdom.[20] After finishing the tour with The Weeknd, she announced her own tour which begun in the United Kingdom during March 2014.[20] Banks was also a featured performer at the Coachella festival, taking place in April 2014, Bonnaroo and Open'er Festival in July 2014. In January 2015, Banks was part of the lineup for the 2015 St. Jerome's Laneway Festival, which toured Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Detroit, Fremantle, Melbourne, Singapore and Sydney. On August 7, 2014, Banks made her television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing "Beggin for Thread" and "Waiting Game".[29]

Her debut album, Goddess, was released on September 5, 2014 and charted within the top 20 of several countries, including the UK, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden. In the US, the album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, selling 25,000 copies in its first week of release.[30] It received positive reviews from critics, who praised her sonic ambition and the album's raw sound. It holds a score of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic.[31] The album was supported by the release of four singles: "Brain", "Goddess", "Drowning", and "Beggin for Thread". "Drowning" peaked at number 48 on Billboard's Rock Digital Songs chart,[32] while "Beggin for Thread" reached number 11 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart,[33] and numbers 80 and 64 in Australia and Germany, respectively.[34][35]

The track "Waiting Game" was featured in the film Divergent, which was released in March 2014. Along with "Waiting Game", "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From" was featured in the October 9, 2014 episode of Grey's Anatomy, while the track "Goddess" was featured in the March 12, 2015 episode. "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From" was also featured on the ninth episode of Red Band Society. Her single "Beggin' for Thread" was featured in the third episode of the second season of The Originals. In June 2017, "Waiting Game" was used in the official trailer for Netflix's psychological thriller series Gypsy.[36]

2015–present: The Altar

On November 4, 2015, Banks released the single "Better", along with its accompanying music video.[37] Banks toured with The Weeknd for a second time, opening for him on his The Madness Fall Tour across North America from November to December 2015.[38] She announced on June 8, 2016 that she had finished work on her second album.[39]

On July 12, 2016, Banks released "Fuck with Myself" as the lead single from her second studio album, titled The Altar. She premiered the track on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show, where she noted it was the last song she wrote for the album. "There's so many meanings to it", she said of the song. "It could be like, 'I fuck with myself', like, 'I mess with myself more than anybody else.' It could be, 'I fuck with myself', kind of like, 'I'm feeling myself.' It means a lot of different things that I think a lot of people can relate to."[40] In an interview for Noisey, Vice's music channel, Banks describes her conflict between self-criticism and self-love as the inspiration behind the track.[41] The song received acclaim from music critics, and reached 29 on the US Rock Songs chart.[42][43][44]

The second single from the album, "Gemini Feed", was released on August 2, 2016, and premiered on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show.[45] The song peaked at number 25 on the US Rock Songs chart. [44] The album's third single, "Mind Games", was released on August 19, 2016,[46] followed by "To the Hilt" on September 16, 2016.[47]

The Altar was released on September 30, 2016.[48] The album debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200 with 14,220 copies sold in pure album sales,[49][50] and at number 24 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 3,229 copies in its first week.[51] The album also debuted at number eight in Australia and number 12 in Canada.[52][53] The album received generally positive reviews from critics; it has a score of 70 on Metacritic.[54]

A music video for "Trainwreck" was released on January 18, 2017.[55] On April 7, 2017, Banks released the single "Crowded Places", which was featured in the penultimate episode of the HBO series Girls on April 9.[56] Another single, titled "Underdog", was released on September 28, 2017. The track was premiered on Lowe's Beats 1 radio show.[57] On November 14, Banks' collaboration with 6lack, "In Between", was unveiled as one of the three new tracks to celebrate the one-year anniversary of 6lack's debut album, Free 6lack.[58]

Public image

Banks' reluctance to use social media is often noted by journalists. Although she has stated she lets her "management run that stuff",[12] the singer did give out her telephone number on her Facebook fanpage.[5]


Banks' sound has been described as dark R&B and compared to Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd,[59] and Aaliyah,[60] although she cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her biggest influences.[61][62] 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.[12] Her vocals have frequently been described as "Aaliyah-like",[63] in addition to Billboard noting that "her rhapsodic voice possesses a frail vulnerability and recalls singers like Feist and Erykah Badu."[5]




Awards and nominations

Year Organization Category Nominee Result
2014 MTV Brand New Nominee[20] Banks Nominated
2013 BBC Sound of 2014[64] Banks Third


  1. ^ a b Price, Simon (March 24, 2014). "Banks review – hotline to the new priestess of pop". The Observer. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ "BBC Sound of 2014 list announced". BBC Media Centre. December 2, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ Choi, Mary H.K. (September 8, 2014). "Banks' Gorgeously Gloomy Music Has Made Her a Breakout Star". Billboard. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ Johnston, Maura (September 30, 2016). "Review: Banks Rides Nervy Beats Into Heart of Darkness on 'The Altar'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 17, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Lipshutz, Jason (June 28, 2013). "Banks, Quick-Rising Pop Starlet, Explains Why Her Fans Have Her Cell Number". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Lecrae Makes History With First #1 Album". 
  7. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". 
  8. ^ "Top 200 Albums". 
  9. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Banks Jillian Rose". BMI. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Savage, Mark (January 8, 2014). "BBC Sound of 2014: Banks". BBC News. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Brown, Jacob (August 9, 2013). "Artist of the Week: Banks". Vogue. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Savage, Mark (November 21, 2013). "Banks: Rising star with a high interest rate". BBC News. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  13. ^ Hutchinson, Kate (August 30, 2014). "Banks: 'I'm being as honest as I can'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ Stern, Bradley (February 12, 2013). "You Be The Judge: Banks' "Before I Ever Met You"". Idolator. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Fall Over EP: Banks: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  16. ^ Willcott, Carl (August 27, 2013). "BANKS' Sultry "Waiting Game" Gets A Shadowy Video". Idolator. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Reviews for London [EP] by Banks". Metacritic. 
  18. ^ Bain, Katie (September 11, 2013). "Who, Exactly, Is Banks?". LA Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2016. 
  19. ^ Saad, Nardine (December 12, 2013). "Watch extended cut of Victoria's Secret models' Paris commercial". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c d "BANKS For Headline UK Tour In March 2014". MTV UK. December 11, 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Shazam's 2014 Acts To Watch & 2013 Big Hitters". Shazam. December 3, 2013. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ Mylrea, Hannah (January 8, 2014). "Banks is #3 in the BBC Sound of 2014". The Edge. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ "50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014". Spin. January 7, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Spotify reveals the artists under the Spotify Spotlight for 2014". Spotify. December 6, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  25. ^ Reed, James; Rodman, Sarah (January 9, 2014). "Music's rising stars for 2014". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Fuse's 18 Breakthrough Artists of 2014". Fuse. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  27. ^ Kristobak, Ryan (January 7, 2014). "20 Artists To Start Listening To In 2014". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 17, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Pop Shop Picks: Lady Gaga, Romeo Santos, Banks & More". Billboard. August 16, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  29. ^ Kaye, Ben (August 8, 2014). "Watch: Banks makes her TV debut on Kimmel Live!". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  30. ^ Kaufman, Gil (September 9, 2014). "Lecrae Makes History With First #1 Album". MTV News. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Reviews for Goddess by Banks". Metacritic. 
  32. ^ "Banks – Chart history: Rock Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Banks – Chart history: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  34. ^ "ARIA Top 100 Singles – Week Commencing 10th November 2014" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. p. 4. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Discographie von Banks" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  36. ^ Nemetz, Dave (June 8, 2017). "Gypsy Trailer: Naomi Watts Has Issues in Netflix's Sexy Psychological Thriller". TVLine. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  37. ^ Roth, Madeline (November 4, 2015). "BANKS Is Back And 'Better' With A Sinister New Song And Video". MTV News. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  38. ^ Martin, Paley (August 21, 2015). "The Weeknd Announces The Madness Fall Tour With Travi$ Scott, Halsey & Banks". Billboard. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  39. ^ Wass, Mike (June 8, 2016). "BANKS Finishes Recording Her Sophomore LP". Idolator. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  40. ^ Blistein, Jon (July 12, 2016). "Watch Banks' Defiant 'F--k With Myself' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 17, 2016. 
  41. ^ "BANKS on Intimacy, Depression, and Confronting Herself". Vice. October 7, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  42. ^ "Watch Banks' Defiant 'F--k With Myself' Video". 
  43. ^ "Banks shares new single and video "Fuck With Myself" — watch". July 12, 2016. 
  44. ^ a b
  45. ^ Grant, Sarah (August 2, 2016). "Hear Banks' Hypnotic, Stinging New Single 'Gemini Feed'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  46. ^ Guilbault, Kristy (August 19, 2016). "Listen to BANKS' Sultry New Single, "Mind Games"". Paste. Retrieved September 17, 2017. 
  47. ^ Skelton, Eric (September 16, 2016). "BANKS Shares Emotional New Single "To The Hilt"". Pigeons & Planes. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  48. ^ "BANKS returns – watch 'Fuck With Myself''s ultra-creepy video". DIY. July 12, 2016. Retrieved July 12, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of October 22, 2016". Billboard. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  50. ^ "Building Album Sales Chart". Hits Daily Double. Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  51. ^ Jones, Alan (October 7, 2016). "Official Charts Analysis: James Arthur holds top spot in singles chart". Music Week. Retrieved October 7, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  52. ^ Hung, Steffen. " - Banks - The Altar". 
  53. ^ "Banks". Billboard. 
  54. ^ "Reviews for The Altar by Banks". Metacritic. Retrieved October 15, 2016. 
  55. ^ "BANKS has a nightmarish new video for 'Trainwreck'". DIY. January 18, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  56. ^ Howard, Lindsay (April 7, 2017). "Listen: BANKS Releases Tender New Single 'Crowded Places'". Variance Magazine. Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  57. ^ Geslani, Michelle (September 28, 2017). "Banks releases new single "Underdog": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 
  58. ^ Street, Mikelle (November 14, 2017). "6lack released 3 bonus tracks for the anniversary of Free 6lack". The Fader. Retrieved November 14, 2017. 
  59. ^ Williott, Carl (August 5, 2013). "BANKS' "Waiting Game": Hear Why She's Opening For The Weeknd". Idolator. 
  60. ^ Hermes, Will (September 9, 2014). "BANKS: Goddess". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  61. ^ Martins, Chris (March 4, 2013). "Hear Banks' Badu-Channeling R&Beats Bubbler 'Fall Over'". Spin. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  62. ^ Selby, Jenn (November 5, 2013). "Introducing BANKS. AKA, the next big name in pop". Glamour. UK. 
  63. ^ Martin, Felicity (August 28, 2014). "Banks – Goddess". Clash. Retrieved September 1, 2014. 
  64. ^ "BBC Sound of 2014 longlist revealed". BBC. December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 

External links

  • Official website
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