Banks is a ‘Goddess’ in the making
For Banks, the release of her first album came as a relief.
“It felt complete,” says the singer, on the phone from Los Angeles last month, a week after her debut set “Goddess” — which marries her R&B confessionals to dark, glitchy electronic beats — hit stores. “I worked on it for so long, it’s so fully and completely me, getting it out there and finally having it released feels like a large exhale.”
“Goddess” comes after more than a year of buzz building for the California-born singer, who released a pair of well-received EPs in 2013. The Internet caught hold and became beguiled by her moody soundscapes, and she scored an opening slot on like-minded R&B act the Weeknd’s 2013 tour.
She’s been working on “Goddess” for the last year and a half, but she’s been writing and honing her craft since she was a teenager. Now 26, she’s comfortable with sharing herself and her songs with the world.
“It’s a crazy business, and it’s a big change for somebody who has been pretty private and to themselves for a long time to all of a sudden be in front of so many people and being so honest about the most intimate details of who they are, really,” says Banks, born Jillian Rose Banks. “I feel lucky that I gave myself so long, 10 years, to focus on my writing and my sound and develop my style. I gave myself that time, so I was definitely ready for it when it finally came.”
Banks studied psychology in college, learning about adolescent development and human dynamics and the way the brain functions, lessons she uses in her songwriting. She’s now focusing on the psychology of touring, getting into the mindset of being in a different city every day and surviving the grind of the road.
“With the Weeknd, I learned what touring was. That was my first tour I ever went on, and you really don’t understand what touring is until you’ve done it,” she says. “It’s living on the road. It’s having to establish a routine without having any sort of routine, and it’s about playing shows every night and living this nomadic lifestyle. I don’t think it’s anything that anybody is good at the first time they tour. You definitely learn how to tour. I was wide-eyed and overwhelmed. It’s hard work. You put a lot into it, you give a lot of yourself.”
When on the road — Banks plays Saint Andrew’s Hall in Detroit on Saturday — she tries to spend a couple hours taking in her environment and learning about her surroundings. That helps give her a center, and allows her to continue on her chosen path.
“I just want to keep playing shows, keep writing, keep being inspired, keep working with people that inspire me, keep developing my sound,” Banks says. “Just keep doing it.”
7 p.m. Saturday
Saint Andrew’s Hall, 431 E. Congress, Detroit