Meet artist AJ Bank$y as he gears up for revolutionary Masquerade performance

Aaron Jordan (Courtesy)
Photo courtesy of Aaron Jordan

Introducing Atlanta artist AJ Bank$y. He’s received a good stream of social media and online success and now is getting ready for a performance at the Masquerade in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward community on Oct. 20, 2016. He’s been touted as the South’s Kendrick Lamar.

Meet Aaron “Bank$y” Jordan.

When did you know that being a musician was your calling?
Back in 2014, I was a part of a music collective and we opened up for Hoodie Allen at Georgia Tech’s homecoming. Ever since that show I realized I don’t want to do anything but music for the rest of my life. It was a surreal experience for me at the time.

Describe three other occupations you’ve held.
When I was younger I used to do landscaping with my dad and my grandfather. It was hard work but it built a lot of character. I did two paid internships with Harris Corporation in Palm Bay, Florida, prior to leaving for college. I worked at Georgia Tech’s College of Computing for a little bit. Shout out Dimond and Teal.

What inspires you to perform?
Seeing my homies rip stages definitely inspires me to go harder when I’m performing. I like the energy that comes with it and being able to control crowds. Plus, most artists make their money from touring/shows so you want to be able to kill shows. It’s vital.

What instruments, if any, do you play?
None. But I want to learn the piano. My brother came up playing classical piano so I’ve always been intrigued. My homie Tshim was supposed to teach me.

How would you describe your brand of music?
[It’s] essential hip-hop for the everyday groovy millennial.

When you are on stage what do you want to convey about your style?
You have to know that I’m a lyricist so at the heart of everything is still the bars. But I’ve learned to package it in a way that’s easy for people to digest and rock out to at the shows. I’m all about vibes though and I definitely appreciate spontaneity.

Name three musicians who have influenced your approach to being a musician?
In my early stages, Lil Wayne. Punchlines, punchlines, punchlines. Back in the day the homies and I used to freestyle for hours. As I developed, Isaiah Rashad and Mick Jenkins. Crazy good artists.

Describe your creative process from concept to complete song.
I might start with an idea or even a phrase that I know I want to be on the song and go from there. I love melodies so I’ll probably start humming/crooning and snapping along to a beat and kind of fill the words in as I go. You can always go back and revise the lyrics later but the overall sound is crucial and generally, you get that direction from just freestyling. Once I get a verse written I’ll send it to my girlfriend and ask her if it’s fire or not.

How do you select your creative music partners to fashion your musical voice?
Back when I was in a collective I spent a lot of time around music-minded people and they definitely helped shape my sound. Shout out to Zac. He’s engineered nearly all of my vocals since 2012. And he’s a genius with it so I don’t stray too far away from his expertise.

What advice would you give anyone preparing to enter the music business about publishing and management?
Seek help often. There’s still a tremendous amount of insight that I don’t have regarding the industry but there are genuine people that are knowledgeable and can put you on the right path. Just stay away from anyone making too many promises. Smoke and mirrors are very real.

If you were going to sing for any famous person as a celebration of what they have done for humanity who would it be?
I don’t even sing but I’d sing a song for Chance the Rapper.

What are the effects on society that you would like the results of listening to your music to be?
For the police to stop killing unarmed black people. We could just start there and wrap it all up with some peace and love.

If you could go outside the USA to write and produce music what country would you choose and why?
Canada. Mainly, Toronto. It’s close proximity and they have some crazy good artists and musicians out there. Daniel Daley, Nineteen85, River Tiber, Kaytranada, etc. I would definitely like to embrace that scene.

What do you like the most about being a musician?
Freedom. When you’re working on your art, you’re never working.

What producers are you looking forward to working with soon?
I need a beat from Left Brain, Cedric Brown and Benny Jetts.

Name three musicians you would like to record with that are hit makers?
Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad and Joey Purp.

If you could make a duet with someone who would it be and why?
SZA. “West Savannah” basically stopped me from offing myself.

What musical awards have you aspired to receive and it happened?
None yet. Still grinding.

What musical achievements have you yet to obtain?
Too many to name

Finish the sentences.

When I hit the stage I feel … like I need a check!
When the crowd is responding to my music I know … God is real
I appreciate my fans because … they don’t have to support me but they still do
Music is my calling … and I’ll probably die before I let it go
My method of studying music is … watching/listening to artists’ interviews and listening to throwback jams with my girl
When you find my music I want you to … contact me on Twitter and tell me you love it

Name your favorite two books.
Jeremiah and Romans

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