Artists to Watch in 2019: Kota Banks
In terms of breakout years, KOTA BANKS has just wrapped up a hell of a 12 months. Just 18 months ago, she released ‘Holiday’ and re-introduced us to her pop stylings and infallible songwriting skills – only this time, it was different. Modern, futuristic, and most importantly, EXCITING. This was no ordinary, run of the mill popstar. It was DIY pop done exactly how Kota Banks wanted it, and now with Swick and the NLV Records crew by her side, she proved she is unstoppable.
What followed was ‘Zoom’, another certified bop, and her surprise mixtape, PRIZE, that would go on to win over fans and critics alike. Again, these releases weren’t just pure pop goodness. They were, but they also had a healthy dose of reality, of authenticity and of doing whatever the fuck you want which drew fans to team Banks from all over the globe.
Produced by Swick, his avant-garde, genre-defying, futuristic approach was juxtaposed with the traditional genre of pop, and together with Banks, the pair set about not breaking the rules of pop, but burning the rulebook altogether and rewriting the whole damn thing themselves.
From the self-love anthem, ‘I’m It’, the effervescent ‘Child’, the seductive ‘Toy’, or the triumphant title track, PRIZE was a sonic journey through Banks‘ songbook. Swick saw fit to deliver some of his most impressive production work yet, meeting Banks‘ sheer talent with his own to ensure the work they were creating was never overshadowing one artist or the other. It’s because of this meeting and melding of their minds that PRIZE worked so well: they were equals, creating pop music their way.
Australia has undergone a pop renaissance of sorts this year, and (I’ve said this before) Kota Banks is at the forefront. Her authenticity mixed with her openness to try new things meant we first saw glimpses of her brilliance in ‘Holiday’, a bit more in ‘Zoom’, a whole lot more on PRIZE, and now we wait with bated breath for what she might do in 2019. All I know is, it’s going to be fucking great.
Photo by Ali Rasoul
Words by Emma Jones