Known simply by her last name, Los Angeles songstress Banks racked up 50,000 Soundcloud plays of her debut single before she’d even posed for her first photo shoot, while also being among the few artists who admit to delegating the task of running their social media accounts to their behind-the-scenes teams.
And yet in a slightly contradictory move, Banks recently abandoned her enigmatic approach when she posted her real cell phone number on her Facebook page in a bid to connect more with her fans.
The 25-year-old claims that so far, few people have plucked up the courage to contact her via the more traditional method of communication. But with the handful of tracks she’s unveiled over the past few months signalling that she’s primed for crossover success, she might soon find herself bombarded with calls from adoring fans.
Inspired by the likes of Fiona Apple, Lauryn Hill and Tracy Chapman, Banks first began writing songs at age fifteen when she was given a toy keyboard by a friend during a difficult period of family strife. Using the instrument as a form of therapy, she continued to hone her skills whilst studying for a degree in psychology at USC. She only allowed her highly personal material to be heard outside her bedroom for the first time last year when a friend posted two tracks to her current manager.
Since then, she’s signed to London-based label Good Years in the UK and Harvest in the US, guested on Lil Silva’s two-step garage throwback “Work,” and is now touring with R&B miserablist The Weeknd across North America. A debut album is scheduled for release early next year.
The material Banks has released so far indicates that the album could be very special indeed, particularly “Waiting Game,” a stunning echo-laden fusion of synth drones, mournful piano chords and haunting choral vocals. Meanwhile, the Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs-produced electro-soul of “Warm Water,” the ghostly trip-hop of “Before I Ever Met You” and the soaring 80s-tinged synth-pop of “Fall Over,” also suggest that the sound of 2014 may have already arrived.