Jacob Banks is a genre-bending artist of many parallels. His sound lies between references of Rihanna and Hollywood cocaine, depressive songs and dance tunes, sounds of London and Nigeria. The singer creates with a flood of influences, all of which can be heard on Village, his debut album, out November 2.
Banks is an obvious creative of mismatched energies, which sit together in a charmingly vibrant album of personality. There are your radio hits, ready for mainstream America, and cultural sounds, which seem to rarely make a pop track. Among each other, they piece together the identity of Banks, one that seems to lie in fragmented parts throughout his life experience.
The artist didn't start crafting his own music until six years ago but was inspired early by Disney movie soundtracks.
Though Village is Banks's first release, it sounds like the collection from a seasoned musician. With brooding, voluptuous vocals, Banks is intimidating in vocal tone, but welcoming in instrumental balance.
As for his genre, Banks told Newsweek he doesn't have one. Instead, he calls himself a storyteller. And in a way, the music is his own identity. "Music is home to me, it allows me to be whoever I want to be," he said.
Banks keeps a traditional record with modern, pop culture references that don't seem far out of place. His decision to include the notations was strategic. "It's important to have my feet on the ground. I sound old as hell as a vocalist. Staying in the now keeps me young," he said.
Banks will take his new record on a U.S. tour beginning in January and ending with a March show in Denver. Though he has yet to release his first album, Banks is already taking the music world by storm, even being featured as YouTube's Artist on the Rise via a Times Square Billboard ahead of the Village release.
For Banks, the creation is his fuel. "Always loved music but didn't want to be a musician. I found my happiness there and stayed," he said. For his listeners, he hopes they find comfort, too. When asked what he wants listeners to gain from listening to his record, he answered simply. "I hope it keeps people company," Banks said.