The New Voice Of A Changing Africa - Exploring Jacob Banks

  • 04,Dec 2018 05:43 AM
  • By Iwedi Ojinmah

Born in Nigeria, Jacob Banks moved to Birmingham in England at the age of 13. Not short of talent, he dabbled in all forms of the creative arts and began singing, playing guitar, and writing songs at the age of 20.

A music lover first and foremost, Banks got his start at open mic nights and quickly garnered a following for his commanding vocal presence and daringly intimate songwriting. His music features richly textured beats, with its 808s and synth play, African inspired grooves and a soulful disposition that culminates in an unstoppable new sound.

When 27-year-old Jacob Banks' haunting song, "Unknown" was featured in the Season 3 finale of Starz's hit series, Power, the British-Nigerian singer-songwriter finally began to receive the viral attention his amazing voice has long deserved.

Over time, he gained popularity in the global industry, with his songs continually featured in various popular TV shows, such as Suits, Black Lightning and Lucifer. His song  -"In The Name Of Love" — also featured in  the Denzel Washington-led action film, Equalizer 2.

Mixing soul, pop, electronic and r&b, this versatile singer has captured the attention of various artists, including Emilé Sandé. He also performed at Coachella 2018 alongside Beyoncé, SZA, The Weeknd and many others. Speaking on his style he shared :

"I think my Nigerian background affects how I perceive tempo. I like more tribal energies as opposed to a full dance floor environment.

So I like to have stuff that has more rhythm as opposed to tempo. That side of me really shows in more up-tempo songs like 'Monster'."

On being raised in Nigeria initially he revealed :

" All my morals, my cultural understanding and the way I deem what’s OK is very rooted in the fact that I was born in Nigeria. But how far I dream, how many things I want to achieve and the boundaries I want to push come from the Western [culture] because African culture is very minimal. It’s much more about how much noise you can make without being hurt or not. Western culture is very much [about] how you can take that and multiply it. So those two affect my well-being, and now I make music in that respect."

Regardless of the 'how', there is no doubt about the end product. It is breathtaking. Banks sings with the sincerity of both Redding and Cooke and delivers with the casualness of Seal.  If you have any doubts as to how one person could be so blessed - please listen to Dear Simone.

While he is already gathering steam abroad it is just as a matter of time that he will do the same in Nigeria.

Hopefully for true Music aficionados............sooner than later.


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