Aaliyah was never a bazooka of a singer. Instead, the late R&B siren perfected a slow, languorous, intuitive take on her genre. And now, nearly 13 years after her death, she’s probably the single greatest vocal influence on an entire generation of R&B, bedroom-pop, and popwise indie singers — and the growing population of singers who exist at the intersection of those three genres. One of those singers is BANKS, the American-born, British-based singer who’s been moving up in the world in the past few months. During a recent BBC Live Lounge session, BANKS knocked out an acoustic cover of Aaliyah’s monster 1998 hit “Are You That Somebody?” (an odd choice, since so much of that song depends on its production), and she also sang an acoustic version of her own Shlohmo-produced single “Brain.” Listen to both below.

BANKS’s debut album is coming later this year from Harvest.

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Comments (5)
  1. Why would you open a piece with a dig at Aaliyah that then morphs into some kind of back-handed compliment? Have a little respect for the dead.

  2. I’d argue that it makes perfect sense, one of the main realizations that the influence you mention prompts is of the kind of gems Aaliyah would be recording in today’s “a different talented producer for every track” environment rather than in Timbaland’s over produced world.

  3. Saw Banks on her first show of her new tour the other night. It’s got to be said this woman is fantastic live. She played a few songs off her new album which she claims is ‘due in summer’, they sounded excellent! I remember one was called ‘Goddess’. I’m reserving a spot on my top 10 AoTY for it already…

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