Singer-songwriter Banks debuts with ‘fully formed’ Goddess
As an artist known for “effortlessly balancing her gift for honest, poetic perspectives on love and humanity with a voice that gained her overnight attention from the music industry's most important curators,” Jillian Banks draws comparisons to Fiona Apple and Lauren Hill—focusing on the duality of “soulful earthly emotion and ethereal atmospheric sounds.” The 26-year-old Tarzana, Calif., native known professionally as simply “Banks” is a self-taught pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. She began popping up on “one to watch” lists last year, and her full-length debut album via Universal Music Group’s Harvest Records is Goddess. The CD/vinyl/digital release features collaborations with producers Justin Parker and Shlohmo, peaking in the Top 20 on album charts in the U.S. and several other countries.
Goddess is earning high praise supported by breakout singles ‘Warm Water’ (produced by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs), ‘Fall Over,’ and ‘Beggin’ For Thread,’ which is currently No. 35 on the Mediabase Hot AC airplay chart. Billboard describes the first-time effort as a “beautiful 14-track set that carries a cavernous, almost mentholated quality, as if you’re listening from underneath a capsized rowboat.” Banks also explains her all-black outfits and long dark hair are the result of finding music when she was in a dark period of her life.
In 2014, the young singer-songwriter who claims to unwind by taking three-hour walks, debuted the new album tracks ‘Waiting Game,’ ‘This Is What It Feels Like,’ and ‘Change’ on a four-song EP titled London. ‘Waiting Game,’ ‘You Should Know Where I'm Coming From,’ and ‘Goddess’ were also featured in episodes of Grey's Anatomy. In addition, ‘You Should Know Where I'm Coming From’ was used during an episode of the series ‘Red Band Society.’ Banks further supported the music by touring last summer with friend and kindred spirit The Weeknd.
“Jillian Banks is ready to take over where Lana Del Rey’s [2014 album] Ultraviolence left off,” reads a review on iTunes.com. “Banks … knows her way around R&B, the art of seduction, and building her public profile,” continues the review, adding that while the Del Rey mentions may be relevant only because both share producers Justin Parker, Al Shux, and Sohn, “what those names don’t say are just how fully formed Banks comes across.”
Banks says her songwriting process begins with a chord progression that becomes a melody, which then sparks a single word. “I won’t be thinking about what word sounds good, it’s just a random word will come out,” she explains in a Coup De Main magazine interview. “Like, 'prodigy' will sound good, the word 'prodigy'. Then that will turn into a sentence, and all of a sudden that sentence with that word 'prodigy' in it will really express something that is at the core of why I started writing in that moment anyway … it just kind of happens unconsciously.”
Banks kicks off spring touring dates Apr. 25 in Frisco, Tex., before heading to Tampa, Fla., for two shows during the Big Guava Festival (May 8-9). She’s also appearing at the Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, Calif. (May 17). The artist who does some modeling in addition to her blossoming music career declares, “True success is being happy and doing what you love and feeling fulfilled. Whether that means having a family and living on a farm somewhere, or whether that means traveling the world and writing music and singing music for thousands of people. If you’re happy and living passionately, then that’s success.”
Watch Banks in a live performance of ‘Beggin’ For Thread,’ the latest single from her full-length debut album Goddess.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Jillian Rose Banks was born June 15, 1988, in Los Angeles. She started writing songs at age 15 after a friend presented her with a toy piano keyboard to help her cope with her parents’ divorce. Banks taught herself to play and used the diversion as a therapeutic outlet and private hobby.
* Banks posted the song ‘Before I Ever Met You’ online and garnered more than 50,000 plays. A friend then passed some of Banks’ songs along to DJ/producer Trevor McFedries (Katy Perry, Sky Ferreira), and she agreed to have McFedries sign on as her manager.
* In 2013, Banks and McFedries traveled to London, where the singer signed with London-based Good Years Recordings and began working with producers Sohn and Lil Silva. She released the EPs, Fall Over and London, and a collaboration with Lil Silva titled ‘Work’ made its way to DJ Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show.
* Good Years released ‘Before I Ever Met You’ as Banks official debut single. Later singles ‘Fall Over’ and ‘Warm Water’ further showcased Banks songwriting skills. The latter track was produced by British electronic music DJ/producer Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and was accompanied by a black-and-white music video shot by Dylan Knight.
* Banks toured with The Weeknd in the fall of 2013 and was soon on a number of “one to watch” lists including SPIN, Spotify, Fuse, iTunes, and The Huffington Post. She was also nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2014 award and an MTV Brand New nominee. Banks was also dubbed as an “Artist to Watch” by FoxWeekly.
* Banks launched her own headlining tour in March 2014, hitting venues in the U.K. and festivals in the U.S. including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Open'er Festival. She released debut album Goddess in September 2014 and began 2015 by touring New Zealand and Australia.
* The SoCal artist who majored in psychology at University of Southern California also manages a growing base of fans that includes 67,000 Twitter followers; 78,000 Instagram followers; and nearly a quarter million Facebook likes. She once posted a cell phone number fans could call or text with questions and comments.