Artist Spotlight: Interview with Omari Banks
He has been described as a cross between Bob Dylan and Bob Marley [New York Times 2/4/15]. His unique style has captivated audiences since he was 5 years old. It was actually on his fifth birthday when his father Bankie Banks first put him on stage in Milan, Italy at Club Zimba; by the end of that performance a star was born! His love for the stage grew rapidly and by the age of 10 he was writing his own music and playing the guitar. He left the stage for 12 years when in his teen and early 20s, his interest for sports increased. He made history in 2003 becoming the first player from Anguilla to play test cricket for the Caribbean. A natural multi talented youth with drive and ambition, he shines on many different stages. Through his travels he was influenced and shaped by different cultures, which manifests in his music. Omari Banks is a unique artist with a genuine sound, a rare find these days.
Banks released a new album this year entitled “Move On,” a deluxe edition featuring Peetah Morgan of Reggae Royalty Morgan Heritage. Produced by Omari Banks himself "No Point To Prove" compliments the soulful sounds of Peetah Morgan and is the lead single off the album. He talks about working with Peetah and more in our exclusive interview. Check it out below and the “No Point To Prove” video:
How was it growing up with your talented father Bankie Banx? What did you learn from him?
It was cool growing up with a Dad who was an artist, everybody expected me to go straight into music which I'm doing now. I learned a lot about the effort and time it takes to build a career in music as well as how enjoyable it can be.
Besides your father, who are your musical influences?
My musical influences span across genres. Stevie Wonder, Lauryn Hill, John Mayer, R. Kelly, Areosmith, Freddie Mercury, George Benson, Bob Marley, Gary Moore would be names off the top of my head.
How did being an athlete help you in music?
Being an athlete, I think gives you perspective - as sports is filled with ups and downs and lessons to be learned. I think those principles come out in my songwriting and attitude towards the preparation for my performances.
You write your own music, when did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song at age 10, when I was in primary school when me and my friends made a band that lasted a week. Lol
You have a song with Reggae Royalty Peetah Morgan, which you wrote, how was that experience?
No Point To Prove is one of my favorite and working with Peetah Morgan was special.
In the New York Times, your sound was described as a cross between Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. Is that a correct description? How did you find this unique sound?
My Dad was influenced by Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, both of whom I've also enjoyed. Both of them are legends in music. It is a very flattering comparison and I am honored. I've been influenced by Rock, Blues, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Reggae, so when I create all of these elements come out. I'm a story teller with a passion for writing songs that I believe people can relate to. I observe life.
What artists are looking forward to collaborating with in the future?
In the future, I would love to work with a lot of artists- a few that stick out would be, Taurus Riley, Jah Cure, Damien Marley, Romain Virgo, Etana, Kybaka Pyramid and Chronixx.
In what ways have you given back to the community?
I've been actively involved in mentoring young athletes. I taught Physical Education to primary kids for 10 years. I love to give motivational speeches to groups. I've also worked with the Arijah Foundation on my island for disabled children.
Where do you see yourself in the future? How do you plan to continue to grow your success?
I see myself touring the world sharing my music with the masses. I know that all successes come with time, effort and a plan. These are all in place, I'm excited!