BANKS On What Happens When You Give Your Fans Your Phone Number

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"I write from the perspective of the most nurturing, empowering, 'lifting-you-up'-type voice," Jillian Banks says. "That's what's so great about making music — you can give that to yourself."

Jillian Banks likes learning about how people work. The alt-pop singer-songwriter studied psychology in college because, she says, she's "interested in how relationships develop, how the brain develops, how people communicate." She describes her music, which she creates under the name BANKS, as "pretty graphic, especially at describing different dynamics and emotions."

Banks is so interested in people — and what they have to say to her — that she decided to tell her fans to call and text her.

"Initially, when my music was coming out, I didn't have a Facebook, I didn't have an Instagram, I didn't have a Twitter," she says. "It just doesn't seem natural to the type of human that I am. So we thought of a way to connect to fans that felt more genuine and authentic and natural for me — and that was just putting my number up and having people text me and saying, 'If you connect to my music, let me know!'"

Two years after the release of her first album, Goddess, Banks' phone number is still on the official BANKS Facebook page.

"People definitely text me really intimate things, and something that I'm still learning and have had to learn is how to put boundaries up," she says. "It's like my diary entries, that's what my music is to me. And when you're putting that part of yourself out there for so many people to touch and judge and talk about and talk to you about — I needed to learn how to kind of protect myself."

Banks says that she sometimes writes in the voice she needs to hear. "I write from the perspective of the most nurturing, empowering, 'lifting-you-up'-type voice. And that's what's so great about making music — you can give that to yourself."

What's also great is that others get to receive that gift, too.

BANKS' second album, The Altar, comes out Sept. 30. Hear the rest of the story at the audio link and get to know her in an episode of NPR Music's documentary series Noteworthy.

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