BANKS, Singer


"I’m from LA, but everyone thinks that I’m British. [Laughs] I'd been writing music for around 10 years before I started really singing stuff. It’s all very sacred to me, so I didn’t want to put it out in the world just yet. Then I started getting more comfortable and working with great people and felt ready—at some point Zane Lowe, one of the biggest radio DJs in the UK, ripped a song of mine from a private SoundCloud link that my manager had sent to his friend. He played it on his show as his next hype record, which was just wild! It’s funny—maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m English. So then things just started to take off. I always say my music is like dark blue or black, like a punch to your gut that feels really good.

I’m on tour right now, and part of what keeps me sane on the road is trying to make a routine within not having a routine because tour is just nonstop. I definitely drink lots of water. I use this Decleor Neroli Oil to moisturize—no matter what the climate is, it always makes my skin really moist. It smells good, too. I always put it on before I do my makeup for a show, just because I don’t like a really thick face of makeup. I have freckles; I don’t like covering up too much. I like things dewy and natural, and I think that having moisture in your skin is really beautiful and youthful—sometimes that’s more important than coverage. Nars has this Light Optimizing Primer with little a bit of shine in it, and I’ll use that. Sometimes, I just use traditional moisturizer. It’s funny because all of the really expensive ones make me break out, but I have a CVS-brand oil-free moisturizer that works and doesn’t make me feel oily. I think my skin is pretty normal, in the middle. It’s mostly just making sure that when I get off stage, I always wash my face—I use Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser.

When I’m in show mode, I can’t even think about putting on makeup; I just have to be centered. Otherwise, I love Nars. They have really good cream-based eyeshadows—that’s another dewy thing that I love for my skin. They have this one color that they don’t make anymore, and I’m really upset about it. It’s called Decameron. I like a kind of dark, bronze-y brown smoky eye with maybe some mascara, some contouring and stuff, but I don’t like wearing black or pinks. I like it more tonal. Kevin Aucoin—he’s good; I think The Volume Mascara is the best mascara there is.

On tour, there’s dry shampoo—I use the one by Bed Head. And since I just colored my hair, I use Davines Alchemic Shampoo in Chocolate. I’m not naturally this dark-haired. I actually just went a bit darker before we shot the video for 'Brain' because I just felt like it went with the song. I love it! My approach to beauty is all about moods. If you want to feel sexy, if you want to feel feminine, or, I don’t know, boyish—it’s all about how you feel at that point in time. My mood changes. Sometimes I want to feel more feminine, other times not. I like feeling comfortable and effortless, like I didn’t try too hard. Then, on stage, I like feeling powerful, and I wear things that make me feel that way. I have this Goddess Ring by Yunus & Eliza. There’s a female face on it, and I turn the shape away from me to face the audience when I perform. And my stylist just made me this incredible coat; it’s pretty much a cape. You put your arms through it, and it has these crazy shoulders. So I like feeling very sexy and feminine, but in a more dark and powerful way than say, like, showing my breasts.”

—as told to ITG

BANKS photographed by Emily Weiss in Brooklyn, New York on June 4, 2014. Check out her website for show dates and tracks.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Caroline

    I love that she has such a diversified skin regimen! Her skin looks beautiful.

  • Lola

    I know I must have probably lived under a rock, but I just heard some of her music (although I have heard of her before) and she's amazing. something about her just speaks to me. she's really beautiful too. It might be silly, but the shape of her nose is just... it gives her face such a sexy whim...

  • tera

    Zane Lowe is the coolest! Always make me smile when I hear him. If he endorses her, I will check it out.

  • Emma Hager

    YES! She's been my favorite since day one, and I remember one summer I just played the few songs she had released, on repeat. There's a clarity and strength and vulnerability in her voice/melodies/lyrics that is entirely unique. I've never heard anyone like her.
    And she seems so compassionate to her fans, what with returning text messages, etc. Despite all the publicity (which she's deserved 100% for a long time, now), she's remained in touch with her fans, who she sees as friends, as emotional connections.

    Thank you for featuring -- to use one of her song titles -- this GODDESS.

  • Emma Hager

    This song *feels* like a gently-flowing hot spring/oasis under a full moon in the desert, where you can see almost every single shining galactic object in the sky. A bitterness and anger but then somewhat of a release and realization. BANKS ♥♥♥♥♥

  • Talia

    Oh my gosh I am so thrilled to see Banks on here I can't stop listening to her EP on Spotify it's so good. All her songs are on my stretch/meditate playlist.

  • Ella

    She has amazing skin - that glowing, subtly contoured look I'm always after.

    ellabooxo • beauty & lifestyle

    • Bertiebeetle

      Agreed, her cheekbone game in that first pic is on point! And she is 100% correct about the Kevyn Aucoin mascara.

  • Omar

    the way u make me feel all sexy but its causing me shame

  • Geraldine

    I love her!!!



  • Aubrey Green

    Very pretty.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I always the drugstore to super high end product spectrum folks featured here. Having spent the last few years in Germany where 99% of the radio stations are American top 40 based I'd not heard of her until today. I'll certainly be listening to more now! Thanks ITG!

  • Kate

    "Drugstore Beauty Expert" how??

  • Lela London

    I have just developed a major girl crush.

    Go Banks.


  • Stef

    Love BANKS! So glad you interviewed her!


Decleor Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum
NARS Light Optimizing Primer
CVS Oil-Free Moisturizer
Malin + Goetz
Grapefruit Face Cleanser
NARS Cream Eyeshadow
Kevyn Aucoin Beauty
Kevyn Aucoin Beauty The Volume Mascara
Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
Davines Alchemic Shampoo, Chocolate