GET TO KNOW: Tony Banks

How did you get your initial start in music?

I got my start as a young boy singing and performing in church. I can still visually remember my first solo. It was the bug that bit me and has stayed with me since then.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

To continue be a voice for the voiceless, while extending my reach as far as possible and leaving my mark. This is important to me. Especially as a gay hip-hop artist. We don’t have a lot of artist to look up to in this overly-masculine and often homophobic community.

How long have you been writing your own music?

At the age of 15 I started writing my own songs and creating my own beats. I was always into creative writing and poetry so It was a natural progression.

Who are your top three influences and why?

I always say If Missy Elliot and LL Cool J had a baby it would be the Music Bear Tony Banks. With Heavy D as his uncle.

Missy Elliot: For her creative genius. While others go left so goes right and makes others follow her.

LL Cool J: He has the sex appeal that turned hip-hop upside down. Street to Sexy.

Heavy D: He made dancing around as a big guy acceptable and cool.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

As we just passed the 25th Anniversary of the LA Riots, it’s sad to see how much the climate of the country hasn’t changed as far as police brutality is concerned. This track is me using my voice as a black person living in America having to watch my every move knowing that at anytime I could be next. I’m sure EarthTone and JwlB, two other gay-black artist on the track, feel that same.

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in New York City in the borough of Brooklyn, but travel all over the city. You can just imagine the amount of talent flowing though that city. All types of people creating all types of art. Some of Hip-Hops most decorated artist come from Brooklyn.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

In terms of lgbt hip-hop I recommend Mykki Blanco, Cakes Da Killa, EarthTone, JwlB, Will Sheridan, and Kamau Kenyatte. All amazing artist!!

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Twitter/IG: @Musicbeartonyb


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