Who’s the dope chick with the green hair? It’s Liana Bank$!
You won’t forget that name because she’s definitely your next obsession and we’ve got the exclusive on everything you need to know. Last week we had the opportunity to watch Liana live at The Studio at Webster Hall. Most of us avid New York concertgoers have been to Webster Hall and seen shows on the main stage, but I must admit it was my first time watching a performance downstairs in the more intimate “Studio” setting. The line-up consisted of rap trio FourSix, Liana Bank$ and Jordan Bratton in that order.
FourSix vibes were rowdy and turnt gradually turning The Studio into the perfect trap house. By the end of their set they were throwing water and inflatable dolls into the crowd-turned-mosh-pit. Up next was Liana who serenaded the crowd and slayed with her moves. Liana does more than just perform; she engages with the crowd. Whether it’s looking into the eyes of one lucky fan or throwing them the mic to sing the chorus, Liana connects with fans while she’s on stage. Her friends and fans were hypemen egging her on as she performed ad-libbing to her tracks, which added another fun element to the performance. When you watch her perform you can’t help but dance with her as she twerks during dance solos.
Now that you’ve got a bit of a taste of what she’s like on stage let me give you some background info. Liana recently just dropped her debut mixtape “Insubordinate” featuring 12 tracks. She’s been writing FOR YEARS, for talents like Lily Allen, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. You’ll def love Liana Banks If you like one of the following artists’ aesthetics: Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Lily Allen, for obvious reasons, but also SZA, Ariana Grande and ABRA. She’s got a vocal quality that’s soft and sweet, but has no problem goin to from 0 to 100 real quick with fast-paced tracks like “Tragic” and “Eat”. The dreamlike quality of her tracks are reminiscent of producers like XXYYXX and Mura Musa, who she teamed up with for her single “Leave Me Alone.”
But honestly you really can’t label or categorize Liana. Her music transcends multiple genres from Trip Hop to R&B to Mark Ronson Funk to chilled out Lo-Fi, Liana is an unstoppable force, talented at any genre she tries. Her affinity for genre hopping comes from her experience as a songwriter for artists of various genres. To learn more about Liana, her inspirations, her style and her history check out our one-on-one below:
You recently dropped insubordinate can you talk about the process of making that tape and the inspiration behind it?
It was very natural, very real, it was kind of like me talking, writing in a diary almost just telling stories that I probably shouldn’t be talking about, but I’m gonna say anyways. It was very organic, but it was difficult for me to stay in one lane, because as a writer I’m writing for other people so I tend to go all over the place and just make sure I’m focused on one thing so that was a little difficult.
Why was now was the right time to drop your debut tape?
I don’t know this whole year just felt like – it was time. I was having dreams about it and finally got with the right team and felt confident in them and I was like let’s do this. We put out a record in February and since February it’s been non-stop ever since.
Would you say you’re superstitious at all? If you see something in your dream do you take it as a sign?
All the time! I have crazy weird dreams too so I’m like Oh My God that happened so this is gonna happen tomorrow.
How long have you been singing, making music and songwriting?
My first song I wrote at 8. I was super shy so I would go home and write everything that I felt, very inappropriate things and I would write them in my notebook – basically things that I wanted to tell my mother, but things I would get beat for I would just write in there and they’d turn into songs and I would write a song a day and it became a hobby and then it became a need and had to do it every day.
Did you have any formal training or musical education?
Not really, but my whole family sings. It was kind of hereditary in a way, Everybody would just bust a note.
When did it change from a hobby to a need to pursuing it as a career?
I would say probably when I quit school and my job at the time. I was a waitress at Johnny Rockets and I was trying to do music at the same time and I was like I can’t do this, I wasn’t sleeping, it was crazy. I was doing well in school, but I quit when I was 18 and been self-employed ever since.
How did you pick your stage name or is Liana your real name?
It’s my real name!
How would you describe your sound/genre? Because it’s pretty genre-bending?
That’s how I would describe it, it’s pretty genre-bending. I try not to box myself into one category, like I said I’m so crazy and all over the place.
Who do you pull inspiration from?
Everything. I really do listen to some really strange things and then I listen to some records on the radio. There’s this one music on Apple radio called the chill station, it’s my favorite station I play it all the time to get in a good vibe. I can’t say one person because I listen to such different stuff and I think that’s what makes writing for me fun because I pull inspiration from everybody.
Who are some of your music idols & fashion icons or both in one?
Grace Jones, I think she’s just fearless. You know what’s crazy? I think her brother lived in my building. One day I was walking down the hallway and this guy and woman came past me and they’re walking all proper and they said, ‘hello’ and I said, ‘hi’ and they were like, ‘we’re the Jones’ and I was like ‘ok nice to meet you!’ Then later my friend tells me that’s Grace Jones’s brother.
James Brown, Lenny Kravitz, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Gwen Steffani.
Who’s your dream Collab?
Probably between Andre 3000 and Bruno Mars. I love The Internet.
How long has your hair been green and was it a conscious decision to have that be part of your image?
I wouldn’t say it was a conscious choice for my image, but it was thought about for a while. I wanted to do something and I’ve always had black hair. I really just wanted a change. I felt like my hair didn’t represent my personality so I just went for it.
Can you describe your style? I know you’re from Queen-NY native so what’re some of your favorite places to shop?
I love thrift shops because I always find something really dope. I love Topshop. I don’t spend a lot of money most of the time. I’ll splurge on certain things, maybe like shoes sometimes, but clothes for the low low.
Who’s currently on your playlist? As you know a lot of new music dropped in November?
I’m listening to Solange “A Seat at The Table.” I’m still listening to Frank’s album.
What are you currently working on? Can we expect a tour anytime soon?
I hope so! I would think so, a lot more shows. I have a big show coming up at Apple next month. I’m writing still for a lot of people so I’ll be in a lot of people’s albums, I’ll be coming up on the show Starz so that’s gonna be fun and still making more music.
The people you’re writing for, can you mention any names or where they’re from?
One is from Brooklyn, One is from the UK….
Can you talk about your new management?
I was self-managed for a long time, I did have a manager in the past, but I wanted to teach myself the industry I wanted to make sure I understood the business side of it and not let someone else run it and then once I got that and started making money for myself I was like alright I’m ready to find a good team.
What changes have you experienced after finding new management?
A huge difference. For me I didn’t want to put out music without a team so I wasn’t doing shows really at all. I would only do covers, none of my original music so I mean honestly this is a whole new chapter of my life.
What’s your favorite venue to perform at?
I like the Knitting Factory, Webster is fire as always.
Any last words for the fans?
Thank you for supporting me! It’s really been unreal. It’s dope to see people connect with the music and hit me up and be like ‘yo I relate’ or ‘that helped me,’ that’s what it’s all about.