Skip to content

BANKS @ Underground Arts.

June 10, 2014

banks_jump (3 of 7)Text by Laura Fanciullacci. Images by Grace Dickinson.

Tightly packed together in a full Underground Arts on Saturday night, sticky and sweaty bodies fanned themselves as they patiently waited for some musical relief from the sultry lady of the hour: BANKS.

As the 25-year-old singer took the stage, the crowd quickly forgot about the physical heat and started moving and singing to BANKS’ energetic opener, “This is What It Feels Like.”

Wearing a long black dress and blazer combo, with her dark brown hair obscuring half of her face, it would seem that the new artist would desire to give off an air of mysteriousness. To everyone’s surprise, BANKS was not afraid to cast her hypnotic gaze and sing directly to one of her many supporters there that night, making the show very intimate and personal from the start.

Jillian Banks only emerged on the music scene last year by releasing some of her first songs on Soundcloud, with high play-count numbers that speak for themselves. Along with some very enticing black and white music videos on YouTube featuring some of her most well-known songs such as “Waiting Game” and “Warm Water,” LA-based BANKS is on several to-watch lists.

Often compared to Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Fiona Apple and even Lana Del-Rey, a more careful listen will reveal BANKS’ own unique R&B sound, which interlaces powerful electronic elements with her soulful, seductive voice. Partnered with relatable lyrics about love, loss, soul-searching, and heartbreak, BANKS’ vulnerabilities shine through beautifully, ultimately creating a feeling of self-assurance.

“When I first started writing I had all these bits and pieces in my head that I thought were crazy and I had all these insecurities and weaknesses,” BANKS revealed to the crowd, who cheered her on. “But those things just make you powerful and it is important to feel beautiful…no matter fucking what.”

Appropriately, the next song was “Goddess,” a slower, yet enchanting song that enforces a strong sense of female-empowerment: “You shoulda crowned her, because she’s a goddess/You never got this.”

After releasing her debut EP, London, and having an opening spot on the Weeknd’s Fall 2013 tour, BANKS is keeping busy to finish her new album that is due to come out this September. Despite all the sudden success, the up-and-coming singer admitted that everything is still very new for her.

“I’ve never has been to Philadelphia before and was feeling a little bit tired today,” she said. “Touring is a new thing for me. You guys have given me so much energy.”

BANKS went on to say that her song-writing process always just begin with her voice and a keyboard, nothing else. With that, she played a soft introduction to “Fall Over,” a song with simple but dark lyrics, and then slowly added more dynamic beats, creating a very severe atmosphere.

The mood lightened when Banks’ did her popular Allyiah cover of “Are You That Somebody,” and darkened slightly yet again when she ended with her haunting single, “Waiting Game.”

Luckily, we’ll just have to wait another three months for BANKS to release her new material.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: