Glass interviews Jacob Banks

BRITISH-Nigerian singer-songwriter Jacob Banks is redefining soul for this generation. From a young age Bank’s was involved in music, playing the drums at his local church, but only began writing and pursuing music at twenty years old. Bank’s gained his presence in the music world through open-mic performances and backing artists such as Emeli Sandé and Alicia Keys while on tour. September 2016 Bank’s signed to major label Interscope but it was only in 2012 Bank’s made his major breakthrough when the second release from The Monologue, entitled Worthy, was played by BBC Radio.

Banks went on to become the first unsigned act to ever appear on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge and won the 2012 MOBO UnSung regional competition. Modernising soul music, Bank’s powerful vocals and joyful, warm and spine melodies has the ability to connect with people across the world due to the intimate and personal nature of his songs. He address social political issues through his brutally honest and deep meaningful lyrics that strike up a conversation that needs to be had with the generation of today.

Jacob Banks. Photograph: Liam Bundy

To readers who may not know you how would you describe your music?
I’ll describe myself as a story teller.

When did you decide you wanted to pursue music?
About five years ago.

Did you face any challenges getting yourself out there?
Yeah, a lot. You learn on the job and since I started so late I had a lot of catching up to do.

If you weren’t pursuing music what do you think you would be doing?
I think I would be a director.


Jacob Banks. Photograph: Liam Bundy

You moved to England at the age of 13 what was that like for you?
It was a culture shock but in a nice way.

Your music and voice is very distinctive and passionate and reminds me of gospel music. Did you sing a lot in your childhood?
I grew up in the church but there was no singing for me, I played drums mainly.

Why did you decide to name your EP The Boy Who Cried Freedom?
It’s a representation of where I was at the time and also the state the world was at.

How do you think your music has progressed from The Monologue to The Boy Who Cried Freedom?
I think I have lived more, made more mistakes and I’m a lot more daring.


Jacob Banks. Photograph: Liam Bundy

What are the high-points of your career so far?
Getting to tour my own music.

If you could have anyone to feature on a song with you who would it be, and why?
Amy Winehouse because she is a G.

Your videos are beautifully directed, do you have a lot of influence on the final outcome?
Yeah, I direct all my own visuals. It’s a really important part of the story.

Jacob Banks. Photograph: Liam Bundy

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Apart from music what else do you do for enjoyment?
I love sports, I love cartoons and eating.

What would your advice be to young people today wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t follow in my footsteps, find your way, enjoy the journey, learn from people but ultimately be true to yourself, we are all one of one.


Jacob Banks. Photograph: Liam Bundy

by Abi Simm

Photographs: Liam Bundy

Stylist: Thomas Ramshaw

Image 1: Jacket FILIPPA K, t-shirt DANIEL FLETCHER
Image 3: Jacket ALBAM, t-shirt E TAUTZ, jeans MARGARET HOWELL
Image 4: Jacket MARGARET HOWELL, shirt SANDRO, roll neck TIGER OF SWEDEN, trouser KENZO, shoes CLARKS ORIGINAL
Image 5: Jacket Filippa K, t-shirt DANIEL FLETCHER, jeans MARGARET HOWELL, shoes CLARKS ORIGINAL


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