Banks on Going From "Writing in My Room" to Touring With the Weeknd

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Photo by Jasmine Safaeian

When music flows from a deep well of emotional honesty, the world can't help but be moved. Such is the case with the haunting and elegant melodies of Banks. This young woman from Los Angeles started writing songs in her bedroom, and up until a few months ago, not even her friends had ever heard them.

She eventually uploaded some tracks to Soundcloud. And suddenly, she found herself a growing sensation. She played one show, then was asked to go on tour with the Weeknd, a literal dream come true.

We here at Crossfade recently had a little chat with Banks about her whirlwind success.

See also: The Five People You Meet in the Weeknd's Kiss Land

Crossfade: How did you become the opener on the Weeknd's tour?
Banks: Honestly, I'm not sure the details of it. All I know is, months ago, my manager asked me, if I could choose anyone to go on tour with anyone, who would it be? And I said the Weeknd. And then, a few months later, he was like, "Guess what, you might be opening for them on tour."

Are you learning from watching the Weekend?
Yeah, he's just brilliant. I'm just trying to enjoy when I watch him perform. I just think he's so talented, so it's not like I'm looking to pick up tips or anything; I'm just watching it and enjoying it, for the most part. But just being around such creative people has been really inspiring, and he's just the sweetest guy, so it's been really cool.

The quiet, personal tone of your music is striking. It sounds like the kind of thing you would make by yourself at 4 in the morning.
I'm definitely alone when I write. Sometimes 4 in the morning, but it could be at any time. It's definitely all very personal to me, which can be a little scary sometimes. But it's how I express myself, so it is what it is.

Your success came so suddenly. Are you getting used to opening up in front of people with your music?
I'm just starting to do it. For so long, I was just writing in my room. I didn't have to have those thoughts like, "Oh, this is so personal to me and somebody's going to hear this." I just wrote, and you can be completely open when you're not thinking about other people hearing it. Now, for the first time, those thoughts sometimes pop in my head, and it's a little scary. But also, just performing makes me feel powerful; it's amazing. To feel so weak when you're writing something and then be able to sing it in front of so many people, it's liberating.

Have you been writing at all on the road?
I'm always ready to write. My guitarist is here on the tour bus with me if I'm ever in one of those moods. He's an amazing guitarist, and his chord progressions always inspire something out of me. We've been known to just be warming up and come up with a song in ten minutes or so. Not full songs, more melodies.

As you continue through this tour, is it going to have some influence on the work that you make next?
Definitely. I think that's how you develop, just living, taking in your experiences. That's how you grow, especially as an artist. I definitely want to see where I'm at at the end of this tour, mentally and just creatively. I'm going to see all these new places and meet all these new people. I love learning and taking everything in. I'll probably use everything that I pick up.

The Weeknd's "The Fall" Tour. With Banks. Saturday, September 28. James L. Knight Center, 400 SE Second Ave., Miami. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., and tickets cost $35 to $45 plus fees via ticketmaster.com. Call 305-372-4634, or visit jlkc.com.

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Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.

Location Info

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James L. Knight Center

400 SE Second Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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