In the studio with jacob banks

We met up with Jacob Banks at his recording studio to chat with him about his upcoming album before his session started.

Jacob’s story is as unique as his voice. He was born in Nigeria, moved to Birmingham, England at age 14, and later moved to London; he credits the mash-up of cultures there as a huge influence on himself and his music.

He went to school and became a civil engineer, singing only for his friends. Those friends would eventually ask him to record music on CDs for them to listen to as they drove around.

Jacob began playing shows around town—nothing serious, since he had no intention of becoming an artist. That all changed when he entered several music competitions and won.

Now, at 26, he’s earning a spot on every “one to watch” list.

Although this is an exciting, albeit stressful, time for Jacob, he was instantly warm and welcoming, greeting us with a hug and placing a bowl of cherries on the table to share. We sat and chatted as he tuned his guitar, skipping through songs on Spotify.

Do you think the journey of moving has had an influence on you as a person and as an artist?  

Nigeria, UK, London. These moves change your view on issues. There are cultural shifts. When writing an album, or a song about love, if I was pigeonholed into one album it would sound the same—this is broken up to reflect the person I was at that time.

What are your thoughts about writing music for other people?  

I write music to keep people company, so that people don’t feel alone in whatever they’re going through; a lot of people go to therapists or whatever, and I just come in here and make music and everything is fine after. When I write a song and then share it, it’s not mine anymore it’s the people’s now.

Coldplay’s “Everything’s Not Lost” comes up on Spotify.

I love knowing why people write the songs they write. Apparently Chris Martin wrote it after Gwyneth Paltrow’s dad died and it helped her cope.

Next, Jacob plays Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which he thinks is “the best song ever written, pen to paper.”

This is only surprising until you listen to his music.

Where do you hope to be in the future? Making music, directing, scoring films, etc.?  

I’m not really attached to being an artist. I’m happy as long as I’m expressing myself. I might even write a book. I wanted to keep people company—whether that’s writing poetry, or directing music videos. As long as I can get out what’s on my mind.

Debut Album: “Village” (Interscope Records)  |  On the heels of his EP, “The Boy Who Cried Freedom,” Jacob’s debut album will be released in three chapters.

Single to Listen for: “Unknown |  “Unknown” was the first song from Chapter 1 was released this fall. The story continues later this fall, with the release of “Love Ain’t Enough.”

Shot by: GREGORIO CAMPOS @gregoriophotography   |  Featuring: JACOB BANKS @mrjacobbanks 


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