Underrated Artists: BANKS

Image Credit: Bill Ebbesen

BANKS, an American singer-songwriter, has been around for over a decade.

She’s opened for stars like The Weeknd, and yet, she has never truly broken the American scene. If you asked anyone outside of her dedicated fanbase, chances are that the name ‘BANKS’ will be associated with anyone but Jillian. Their loss, I guess. 

Her 2014 debut, Goddess, introduced her atmospheric, alternative R&B sound that perfectly conveyed her emotionally charged lyrics. The Altar, which released in 2016, polished her initial sound and featured more upbeat songs, conveying emotions more efficiently than the first release. From personal experience, her live shows are all about the music: a minimalistic stage set-up and two backing dancers accompanying BANKS in her interpretative dances. 

Now an independent artist, BANKS’ latest album Serpentina plays with sound experimentation, whilst the lyrics are even more emotionally charged - although III reached peaks of ‘this-lyric-is-obviously-about-you’ I did not think possible. I am starting to think that her business plan is to release emotional music to help listeners cope with the emotions evoked by her previous releases.  

It might be her melodies, her emotional vocals, or her BA in Psychology that filters into her introspective lyrics, but there is something extremely comforting about BANKS’ music. It does not matter whether you share the experiences she sings about – emotions are a universal experience. Perhaps, this is the reason why she is so underrated: listening to BANKS’ music often involves a process of self-introspection that leaves you vulnerable, putting you in touch with your deepest feelings.