4 mins read

Jillian Rose Banks was born June 16, 1988 and is known mononymously as Banks (often stylized in all caps), she is an American singer and songwriter. She is signed to Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings. Following the release of two extended plays, Fall Over and London, in 2013, Banks released her debut album, Goddess, on September 5, 2014, to positive reviews from contemporary music critics.

She was born in Orange County, California. She moved to Los Angeles when she was about one or two years old and lived in Tarzana, an affluent neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. Banks started writing songs at the age of 15. She taught herself piano when she received a keyboard from a friend to help her through her parents’ divorce. She later enrolled to study psychology at the University of Southern California (USC), where she wrote a thesis on the children of divorced parents, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

During Banks’ time at USC she was put in contact with DJ Yung Skeeter, who offered to manage her and brought her to British label Good Years Recordings. After posting a track called “Before I Ever Met You” on a private SoundCloud page in February 2013, the song ended up being played by DJ Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1. 

Banks was the opening act for Canadian singer The Weeknd during his fall 2013 tour, supporting him in both the United States and the United Kingdom. After finishing the tour with The Weeknd, she announced her own tour which begun in the United Kingdom during March 2014. Banks was also a featured performer at the Coachella festival, taking place in April 2014, Bonnaroo and Open’er Festival in July 2014; she made her television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing “Beggin for Thread” and “Waiting Game”. 

Banks’ reluctance to use social media is often noted by journalists. Although she has stated she lets her “management run that stuff”, the singer did give out her telephone number on her Facebook fanpage. She has since become more active on her Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Banks’ sound has been described as dark R&B and compared to Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd, and Aaliyah, although she cites Lauryn Hill and Fiona Apple as her biggest influences. She says that music helps her release her emotions and for that reason kept her music private while she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Her vocals have frequently been described as “Aaliyah-like”, in addition to Billboard noting that “her rhapsodic voice possesses a frail vulnerability and recalls singers like Feist and Erykah Badu.”