A singer/songwriter who crafts moody, alternative pop with shades of contemporary R&B, Banks emerged in the early 2010s with a handful of downtempo, alt-R&B tracks that helped build a cross-genre audience. Her 2014 debut Goddess peaked just outside the Top Ten on the Billboard 200, while her follow-up, The Altar, maintained her placement in the chart's upper reaches. In 2019, she expanded her sound palette with adventurous third LP, III.
Jillian Rose Banks started writing as a teenager in her native Tarzana, California after a friend gave her a keyboard. For years, she wrote and played as a personal release, but she uploaded "Before I Ever Met You" — a sleek, low-key track that sounded like the work of someone who had grown up listening to Fiona Apple and Massive Attack — in early 2013. Within a matter of months, the Los Angeles native was releasing singles for Good Years (in the U.K.) and the reactivated Harvest (in the U.S.), including "Warm Water" (produced by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) and "Fall Over." That September, she released a four-track EP, London, as she was opening for the Weeknd during a North American tour.
Her full-length debut, Goddess, which featured collaborations with producers Justin Parker and Shlohmo and additional work with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, arrived in September 2014 and debuted at number 12 on the Billboard 200 chart. Harvest issued a large collection of remixes as a digital download in 2015. The following year saw the release of her much-anticipated sophomore full-length, The Altar, which featured the singles "Fuck with Myself," "Gemini Feed," and "Mind Games." The album peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200. A fourth single, "Underdog," followed in 2017. Banks returned in early 2019 with the synth-heavy single "Gimme," produced by Hudson Mohawke. That track landed on her aptly titled third studio LP, III, which was released in July. Additional contributors included Francis and the Lights on "Look What You're Doing to Me," and producer Paul Epworth (Adele, Rihanna) on the magical "Hawaiian Mazes." ~ Andy Kellman