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Jacob Banks hasn’t been making music for long but, in the short time he has been in the game, the stylish, soulful singer has managed to earn a reputation befitting his sizeable stature. So, on arriving back in the UK from a stint at SXSW, we caught up with the songsmith to talk personal style, influences and being a 20-something today.
style file interview with jacob banks asos

What influences did you have around you that shaped your music?
My family aren’t that musical. I’m the oldest of the kids and my siblings are into music now, but growing up there was no music around the house. There was music around, but there was no love to it. I think the first pop culture song I heard was a Westlife album. I was born in Nigeria so I was living there at the time. I found Westlife and they kind of set me on this path and I fell in love with music. I’d also watch Disney films and loved how the music would help tell the story. So that was my first introduction to music. 
Do you feel your style helps craft your identity? 
Yeah, I think music has always been very visual for me. I’ve always married music with what it looks like. The same thing with style – I feel people dress like their beings. Like it’s an extension of who you are. What you choose to wear tells a certain thing about you, a certain level of how you see life. What you wear can speak on your behalf before you actually open your mouth.
style file interview with jacob banks asos

What do you think your style would say about you?
My style is comfortable. Yeah, I’d say it’s comfortable and not threatening at all. It’s not loud. I’m 6' 4", so, literally, if it fits then we’ll make it work.
We've just launched ASOS Tall to help. Do you find dressing for your height a challenge?
Yeah, a lot. Something always gives. The chest is right but the arms are small, the arms are sometimes too long – it’s hard to be just down the middle.
style file interview with jacob banks asos

Does anyone influence you or your style today?
Animations. Sounds weird, but I watch lots of Japanese anime and just see how out-of-the-box they are. Kanye West is a massive inspiration for me, in that he pushes people and asks questions of people. Whether you like him or not, you’re forced to have an opinion. I love that about what he does. More than anything though, life. My friends, my loved ones and the pushes and pulls of learning how to love and not to love.


Does your style change at all when on stage?
It’s still comfortable, but I try to look good. I feel like being on stage is your moment. For me, all these people have paid money to come see me – I have to look good. You’ve gone out of your way to spend your wages to come here, so it’s important to me that I contribute to the process. I do try to spice it up a little bit every now and again.

style file interview with jacob banks asos

Pictures: Miles Drury/ASOS

What advice would you have for 20-somethings?
I’d say just nurture people. Nurture the ones you love. I’ve had this conversation a lot lately. Nothing else really matters. I tell people I’m a musician, I’m not curing cancer. Like, all that really matters is how much I love my mum, my father, my siblings, my friends. If everyone nurtures their immediate circle, we’ll be fine. And to know it’s OK to make mistakes and to give people grace when they do.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
We just dropped this EP called Boy Who Cried Freedom. We’re playing a bunch of festivals over the summer – playing shows in New York and LA, too. I’m hoping to drop an album in October. So just trying to finish that and get it wrapped up.