Rising singer Jacob Banks was born in Nigeria, but now calls Britain home. Soon enough, his name will be one known in many more countries. Banks voice is a powerful weapon, one that doesn’t take long to impress. In fact, he became the first ever unsigned act to appear on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, and is already signed to Interscope Records, who released his new EP The Boy Who Cried Freedom in April, and will also release his debut album, due sometime this year.

Banks has stopped through these parts before as an opening act, but on May 4 he headlined a sold out Mercury Lounge, a show that apparently sold out in about 10 minutes flat. It didn’t take long for him to win over the packed crowd, stunning us with “Worthy,” a track that appeared in the soundtrack for the movie Beyond the Lights. Although all is going quite well for Banks, the man was remarkably humble throughout the show, seemingly impressed that he sold out a show in New York and grateful for all who showed up for him.

His voice is a true force on record, but it’s a true experience live in person. Although admittedly Banks style of r&b/soul is more towards a pop territory that you usually won’t find on these here blog pages, there’s something about Banks delivery of his material that seems refreshingly real and true. He ran through a few of his older tracks along with some new songs that should appear on his album, and even included a bit of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” tacked on to the end of his own song, “Homecoming.”

Banks accompanied explanations to many of the tracks before playing, providing some welcoming insight that made the songs mean that much more to us, because it does to him. By the time he ended the understandably short set that lasted about 45 minutes, the crowd was waiting in anticipation of his breakthrough track “Unholy War” that I can already tell will be used in movie trailers and tv shows for many years to come.

It seems like big things are on the way for Mr. Banks, as his next NY appearance is this fall at The Meadows Festival. I’m sure more headlining shows will come soon enough, and if you want to catch an artist before they’re playing much bigger spaces, be sure to catch Jacob Banks when he returns again.

Find photos form his set, and opener JP Saxe posted below, along with the setlist.

Jacob Banks Setlist:

1. Worthy
2. Chainsmoking
3. Part Time Love
4. Unknown
5. Mercy
6. Grace
7. Homecoming @Info[with a snippet of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone”]
8. Peace
9. Monster
10. Silverlining
11. Unholy War

JP Saxe:

Jacob Banks:

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