Fact is, Jacob Banks sings better than you. Seeing as Sam Cooke’s dead and you ain’t Al Greene, that’s just how it is. Birmingham based soulsmith Banks came out of nowhere late last year with his searing shot of folk blues grit Kids on the Corner. Kids showcased Jacob’s powerful vocal and his earthy guitar style to a T., turned heads, got him linking with Plan B, secured him a MOBO unsung award, and set him up for a tour of the country. More tracks have followed since, with Banks making his effortless stylistic switches between hip hop, soul, folk and blues seem as easy as dipping a cup in a river. All this and he's just completed an undergraduate degree in Engineering. Did someone say talent?
We got Jacob to play at our recent Safehouse Sessions – download the album for a free copy of Kids on the Corner – and after watching him seamlessly segue from his own compositions to classic soul cuts and back again, we grabbed the ultra-chilled musician and fired a couple of quick questions at him-
SJ: How did you get into playing guitar?
JB: I got into guitar cause my guitarist at the time didn't turn up to my show, so I bought a guitar and played myself…! It didn't go to well as you can imagine but it was fun
Obviously you've got a lot of influence from the giants of soul—are there any modern acts who inspire you?
Yes! John Mayer, Justin Nozuka, JP Cooper, Ben Howard, Matt Corby, Frank Ocean, the list goes on and on
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are there any releases coming out?
Yeah, I will be putting out an EP towards the end of the year, and I’ve got collaborations with Kyra, Wretch 32, George the poet and so forth
What inspired the lyrics to Kids on the Corner?
Kids on the Corner was inspired by the London riots, just the whole drama of it all and the side of us that it showed…
If you weren't playing music what would you be doing instead?
I’d probably be playing basketball somewhere
And what song have you listened to the most this year?
Walt Grace's Submarine Test, January 1967 - John Mayer (which you can listen to right here)
With the new EP scheduled for later this year, a seemingly bottomless well of raw natural talent, and a management team behind him that have propelled Wretch 32 to the top, we're fairly sure that by this time next year Mr Jacob Banks is gonna be a household name....In the meantime, get ahead of the pack by listening to more of Jacob’s music over on his soundcloud, or like him on facebook... That way you’ll get to hear & download gems such as this: