Jillian Rose Banks
June 16, 1988
Jillian Rose Banks (born June 16, 1988), known mononymously as Banks (often stylized in all caps), 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. It reached number 12 on the US Billboard 200, while its most successful single, "Beggin for Thread", was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her second studio album, The Altar, was released on September 30, 2016, to a similar positive reception, becoming her second top 20 album in the United States.
Jillian Rose Banks was born on June 16, 1988, in Orange County, California. Banks has some English ancestry. 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 says she "felt very alone and helpless. I didn't know how to express what I was feeling or who to talk to." She later enrolled to study psychology at 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 released her debut extended play (EP), Fall Over, internationally in March 2013 by Good Years Recordings.Billboard called her a "magnetic writer with songs to obsess over." Her second EP, London, was released in September 2013 by Harvest Records and Good Years Recordings to positive reviews from music critics. In an interview after the debut of her first album she posted her phone number on her social media accounts to be closer to her fans and have a more intimate connection to all of them. Her song "Waiting Game" from the EP was featured in the 2013 Victoria's Secret holiday commercial.
In late 2013, she received nominations for awards from both the BBC and MTV. She was nominated for a Sound of... award by the BBC and a Brand New Nominee by MTV. She was included on Shazam's list of "2014 Acts to Watch", as well as on iTunes' list of "New Artists for 2014". Banks was artist of the week for Vogue in August 2013 where they wrote that her songs "perfectly capture a feeling of being lost and powerless in the world." Banks has been tipped by several media outlets as the artist to watch in 2014, including Spin listing London as one of the "50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014" and being named as one of the artists under Spotify's Spotlight for 2014. Additional accolades came from The Boston Globe,Fuse, and The Huffington Post.
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. In January 2015, Banks was part of the lineup for the 2015 St. Jerome's Laneway Festival, which toured Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Detroit, Fremantle, Melbourne, Singapore and Sydney. On August 7, 2014, Banks made her television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, performing "Beggin for Thread" and "Waiting Game".
Her debut album, Goddess, was released on September 5, 2014 and charted within the top 20 of several countries, including the UK, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Sweden. In the US, the album debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200, selling 25,000 copies in its first week of release. It received positive reviews from critics, who praised her sonic ambition and the album's raw sound. It holds a score of 74 out of 100 on Metacritic. The album was supported by the release of four singles: "Brain", "Goddess", "Drowning", and "Beggin for Thread". "Drowning" peaked at number 48 on Billboards Rock Digital Songs chart, while "Beggin for Thread" reached number 11 on Billboards Alternative Songs chart, and numbers 80 and 64 in Australia and Germany, respectively.
The track "Waiting Game" was featured in the film Divergent, which was released in March 2014. Along with "Waiting Game", "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From" was featured in the October 9, 2014 episode of Grey's Anatomy, while the track "Goddess" was featured in the March 12, 2015 episode. "You Should Know Where I'm Coming From" was also featured on the ninth episode of Red Band Society. Her single "Beggin' for Thread" was featured in the third episode of the second season of The Originals. In June 2017, "Waiting Game" was used in the official trailer for Netflix's psychological thriller series Gypsy.
On November 4, 2015, Banks released the single "Better", along with its accompanying music video. Banks toured with The Weeknd for a second time, opening for him on his The Madness Fall Tour across North America from November to December 2015. She announced on June 8, 2016 that she had finished work on her second album.
On July 12, 2016, Banks released "Fuck with Myself" as the lead single from her second studio album, titled The Altar. She premiered the track on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show, where she noted it was the last song she wrote for the album. "There's so many meanings to it", she said of the song. "It could be like, 'I fuck with myself', like, 'I mess with myself more than anybody else.' It could be, 'I fuck with myself', kind of like, 'I'm feeling myself.' It means a lot of different things that I think a lot of people can relate to." In an interview for Noisey, Vices music channel, Banks describes her conflict between self-criticism and self-love as the inspiration behind the track. The song received acclaim from music critics, and reached 29 on the US Rock Songs chart.
The second single from the album, "Gemini Feed", was released on August 2, 2016, and premiered on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show. The song peaked at number 25 on the US Rock Songs chart.  The album's third single, "Mind Games", was released on August 19, 2016, followed by "To the Hilt" on September 16, 2016.
The Altar was released on September 30, 2016. The album debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200 with 14,220 copies sold in pure album sales, and at number 24 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 3,229 copies in its first week. The album also debuted at number eight in Australia and number 12 in Canada. The album received generally positive reviews from critics; it has a score of 70 on Metacritic.
A music video for "Trainwreck" was released on January 18, 2017. On February 24, 2017 Banks embarked on "The Altar Tour" in support of her sophomore album. It consisted of 68 dates and concluded on November 16, 2017. On April 7, 2017, Banks released the single "Crowded Places", which was featured in the penultimate episode of the HBO series Girls on April 9. Another single, titled "Underdog", was released on September 28, 2017. The track was premiered on Lowe's Beats 1 radio show. On November 14, Banks' collaboration with 6lack, "In Between", was unveiled as one of the three new tracks to celebrate the one-year anniversary of 6lack's debut album, Free 6lack. In 2018, "In Between" and "Poltergeist", a track from The Altar, were both featured on the soundtrack of the fifth season of Power.
After a hiatus from social media, Banks posted a photo of her keyboard, captioned "home", on February 9, 2018. On May 9, 2018, she confirmed she was in the studio working on her third studio album. In December 2018, it was confirmed that her third album will be released in 2019.
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."
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