Jacob Banks brings the chilled vibes all day, every day. Even in the moments leading up to his show at London’s Village Underground.
After studying as a Civil Engineer, Jacob started making music at the age of 20, starting out making music for friends. After hearing John Mayer’s album, Continuum, it inspired Jacob to pick up a guitar and start playing. At first turning the poetry he had previously written in to songs he would share with his friends so they had something new to listen to. From early on Jacob enjoyed trying new things and creating new sounds, as contributing to music is his main priority. Not being focused by the number of plays he gets, solely focus on what he is creating as an artist, which is something that some artists have got caught up on.
In 2015 Jacob released ‘The Paradox’ which he describes as “betting” on himself. The release followed the departure from his label and management, and was a calling for him to put all of his “chips on the table” to see where it would take him.
It turned out to be a defining moment in his career. Since then Jacob has released a couple of singles and an EP called, The Boy Who Cried Freedom, which was released earlier this year. ‘Chainsmoking’ and ‘Mercy’ became instant hits, securing Jacob’s unique raw sound mixed with drops and 808s. Recent track, ‘Unknown (To You)’ was recently remixed by Timbaland, and is, in short; a treat. Describing the remix as a “cultural move to be proud of”, Jacob explained his love for the likes of the producer and others like Busta.
Now, he’s championing the British music scene, with a particular soft spot for London. Afro beat artists such as Kojo Funds, Maleek Berry and Kojey Radical are currently running through his playlists, as well as chilled vibes from Vera Blue and Joy Crookes. He describes his taste leaning towards younger artists who are keeping it real, instead of being fixated on the American Dream.
But everybody at the venue was here for Mr Jacob Banks himself. The sold out venue were excited to hear the phenomenal voice that gives you goosebumps. With the neon sign lit, the crowd were ready. From the get go his soulful raw voice sets him apart from any mainstream artist. You are able to tell when an artist is enjoying their performance, with a great stage presence him and his band Harold (Drums), Daniel (Guitar) and Mic (Bass) together called “Jacob and the mandem” put on one hell of a show.
The crowd were everything you could hope for as an artist engaging in every way, but also quiet and respectful. Watching from the side you were able to see the amazement in the eyes of the front row as Jacob performed some of his favourite tracks.
Images and words by Richard Burke