Queens-born singer discusses her influences and new project
Originating from Queens, New York, Liana Banks is already being hailed as the trap R&B queen. She may be new to your ears but the rapper has been around the industry for some time, writing professionally for a number of major artists such as Lily Allen, Jeremih, Lion Babe, and Gabrielle Ross.
Now at the helm of her sophomore project’s release, APT 210, which is due later this Summer, Banks’ career is getting ready to skyrocket. Her raspy vocals and gritty tone work seamlessly with her pop sensibilities.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Liana Banks to discuss her current project, find out what brought her to the music game, and learn what’s next on her trip to the top.
Hello – Please introduce yourself.
Hey, I’m Liana. I tell my business for a living. Sometimes, I help others tell their own business too (but only with their permission). Oh & I kinda get paid for this. It’s pretty sweet.
Where are you right now?
On the train headed to the studio!
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
My upcoming project is called Apt. 210. It’s centered around rawness & honesty. I felt like I introduced people to a bit of *who* I am with my last project Insubordinate. This time around I wanted to allow myself to further swim the waters of vulnerability. I tend to have my guard up, so I had to really take a deeper look at myself and try to breakdown *what* makes me the way I am. I recorded most of it in New Jersey, between Rebirth Studio in Weehawken and my apartment in West New York. The majority of the project is produced by YOBO. There’s a Jordan Bratton produced song that I get extremely personal on (it was very tough to write). I’ll also be making my producing debut on this project. It’ll only be available digitally, but if I were making physical copies I’d stuff pink starbursts in the packaging… lol.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
Jerk Chicken, Platanos and Pellegrino.
Other than Liana Bank$, what should your hometown be known for?
The FOOD! It’s AMAZING! Queens is so diverse so you get a taste of just about everything.
Ohhh… and musicians! So many greats came out of Queens! Cydni Lauper, Run DMC, Tony Bennett, 50 Cent, Salt N Pepa, Nicki Minaj, LL Cool J, Nas… the list goes on!
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you (and that your relationship with it/them). Can we see a photo?
Item of significance: Yellow subway line.
Relationship: Companion of 20 years, has saved my life on numerous occasions, a true bffl.
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
My grandmother! Her voice is insane, I grew up watching her on Broadway. She brought me on stage as an infant during one of her performances. She tells me I would hum melodies during car rides. I’ve kind of always known music would be my “home.”
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
I just started watching this show ” The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (I’m late, I know, I know). But Titus is my favorite person of life right now! I honestly don’t understand how one person can be so hilarious. Laughter always makes being cooped up in a vehicle for hours a breeze. So Yeah, I’ll deff need Titus on the road with me.
What song best sums up your life right now?
It’s like this convulsive seesaw between “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots & “Juicy” by Biggie on opposite ends.
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
I got a message from a young girl in high school saying that a song I wrote called “Worth It” randomly played while she was contemplating ending her life. She said the song helped her overcome her entire depression and suicidal thoughts, and that it gave her hope, allowing her to believe in herself and her dreams. All of this happened on a day where I was really frustrated with the industry and for the first time in my life, I tried to imagine life outside of music. I saw her message and took my ass straight to the studio. She may say I saved her, but as far as I’m concerned she saved me.
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
I hope to be on tour! A huge World Tour would be a dream for me. I just played in Sweden and it was the dopest experience ever! There aren’t language barriers when it comes to music. Music is the fckn language!!! And we all speak it! Mannn, it was beautiful. That’s become my favorite part of this journey – actually, PHYSICALLY connecting with the people – it’s so fulfilling. Other than that, I’ve had this recurring dream where I buy my family this wild home and they lose their sht! God willing, it won’t be a dream for much longer.
What’s your next step towards that dream?
Band Recruitment, Rehearsals, rehearsals, studio, rehearsals, studio, releases, studio, tacos, rehearsals, studio, studio, visuals, rehearsals ..bored yet? Lol
Honestly it’s just business as usual. If I want it, I gotta grind for it. So that’s exactly what I’ll continue to do.