MM has caught up with Leicester-based rapper Trillary Banks. Upon conversing with Banks it becomes clear that she possesses all the necessary attributes a rapper needs for their dreams to come to fruition – from her crazy penmanship, highly supportive fanbase and team, to her charismatic personality and refreshing sense of self-worth.
Since emerging in 2017, Banks has persistently refined her artistry while exploring her musical roots. Consequently, she has curated an impressive discography that merges the realms of UK rap, R&B and dancehall. Now, she plots on dintisguishing herself beyond the restraints of the ‘dancehall’ label that she’s been boxed into, while embarking on a journey to completely take over the game.
Firstly, well done on your Kenny Allstar debut! How did you find that experience, were you nervous at all?
No, not really. Me and Kenny are cool. He supports me and plays a lot of my music on his show, so the freestyle was kind of overdue. I felt like I was in my element, I Just did me.
So how did you prepare, what was your thought process behind the freestyle and beat choice?
I wanted to do a few different things, something with more of a drill sound. Like that greazy, street vibe as opposed to my style which is more of that patois hard rap. I incorporated all of that by using a Fanatix beat and Zenith beat, which created a great mix of drill alongside an old-school sample.
I can tell this the start of a special year for you, we’ve already got ‘Drillary’, the Kenny Allstar freestyle… Should we be expecting anything else?
Yeah, friday! A new song called ‘Lock & Loaded’.
It’s been a year since the ‘Vote 4 Trillary’ album, that was a really solid body-of-work. When can we expect another project?
Thank you, expect an EP within the next 8 weeks.
Okay! What direction are you taking this one?
It’s already finished now. But it’s got that ‘no more Mr. Nice Guy’ energy. I’m gonna show people that I’m not playing around and that it’s time to start respecting women with talent. People are not respecting females as lyricists, I don’t want to be in the female artist category, I want to be seen as a UK artist and one that’s way up there as well.
I feel like people see me as a dancehall artist especially, and I’m not. Don’t get me wrong I love dancehall, I’m half Jamaican it’s part of my musical roots but I can bar. People overlook my lyrical ability because of songs like ‘Come Over Mi Yard’ and ‘Pepper & Spice’. So I’m coming for the game and I’m not stopping until I get it.
Any collaborations on there that we should be excited for? – any females that aren’t vocalists?
There isn’t any females unfortunately and that’s because I’ve been seeing a lot of pettiness in the scene recently and that’s me being 100% honest. I don’t think females are in a right place to be genuinely doing the collab thing right now. I feel like people need to find themselves and their identify. Then someone can reach out to someone else. Because for collabs to be authentic there has to be good vibes and energy. I haven’t been able to find that yet, so I’m just keeping myself to myself. But, collaboration-wise we’ve got a couple big features from Birmingham, a couple big features from London as well, yeah man it’s a vibe.
Can you tell us what producers you’ve been working with?
In terms of production I have a few songs with Fanatix, I like those a lot we make really good music together. ‘Drillary’ is gonna be on there too, which was a Chris Rich and Zenith production. And of course, my personal go to’s Maschineman Tim and Sammy SoSo who produced ‘Lock & Loaded’.
Taking it back to ‘Vote 4 Trillary’, on the ‘Outro’ you dropped the line ‘your good for a girl, what the f*ck does that mean?’ – this is probably a statement a lot of women in the industry will have to contend with, what do feel will change that?
I just think they just need to be more respectful to us, we are all different in so many ways and we can be very emotional. So, when we’re being compared it’s hard, everybody looks to these US Queen’s and then thinks we have to be like them to be popping over here. All the stereotypes need to stop, whether your more of a ‘tomboy’, lightskin, darkskin or white. If someone’s a sick artist then just take them in.
Image is a huge part of the music industry but for men it’s different and because it’s seen as a man’s sport they have it ten times easier. They get away with so much more, where as we are constantly scrutinised. So to move forward we need to be seen as equal.
You said you’ve had label interest, why have you decided to stay independent?
I just feel like the right opportunities haven’t come yet, when that happens it’s just a matter of making sure that the terms and conditions are beneficial to me.
Do you feel as though you’ve got a strong team behind you already?
I’m still working on my team, but I’ve got a great manager that actually understands how the game works and knows how to attack the scene with me. Then Maschineman Tim, who is my go-to-producer we’ve made music together for a while now. We believe in each other so we’re willing to invest whatever’s necessary to make things work.
Do you think if you were from London, you’d be in a different place a career-wise?
Yeah, I definitely think if I was from London, in a certain area with certain mandem that I’d be in a different place. It’s the same in Birmingham too, it’s all about who you know. But you can’t change where you’re from, it’s your whole identity. So, I’m never ashamed and I never wish I that I’m from anywhere else. But as I said I do think it would have made things ten times easier. I feel like Leicester lacks support because no ones ever really been that amazing, or huge publicly.
Why do you think there hasn’t been any artists in Leicester who have reached that ‘champion’ status?
Leicester is a small city, there’s been a lot that’s gone on. A lot of violence, a lot of killings, a lot of division. So, the black and urban community is very scattered and there isn’t a very solid foundation. Which effects the music greatly, we no longer have youth clubs like we used to, we don’t really have places to hang out that are that safe anymore. We used to have studios or clubs where we’d go and MC together.
Growing up, we had all those things so we had a decent scene. As time has gone on, people continue with their lives whether that’s the street life or a normal 9-5. They’ve lost the passion, but when we get that ‘champion’, it’ll fuel the motivation.
Are there any artists from Leicester or the Midlands that you think are doing really well?
From Leicester I’d say JB Scofield and Mahalia. From the Midlands M1llionz and Stardom are killing it. Of course, JayKae and Young T and Bugsey.
Are there any upcoming female artists we should look out for?
Amaria, Amun, La Vida Loca, Queen Millz, Brixx, Shillem, Dibo Brown and Chante Paris.
I feel like your sound would be appreciated in the US. I know a few songs on your last album were produced there – have you ever considered moving?
Definitely, I like America. I’d love to be able to do the back and forth thing, have a house there too. I do like England but if I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan. Now that I’ve travelled a lot and I’ve seen so much, England doesn’t seem as great as it did growing up.
How was your experience industry-wise over there?
I’ve made a good few connections, they seemed to like me and what I’m about. But it’s all just timing and having the right people around you to make things happen.
So your numbers are really strong, do you feel as though you’ve solidified a loyal fanbase or would you say it’s more UK support?
I have loyal fanbases in Sweden, Germany, Toronto, New York – especially Brooklyn. Of course the UK is one of the major ones. I even get support in Gambia and Ghana, I’ve got a song with a big artist in Ghana actually. So yeah, I think it’s global. I get more videos of girls vibing to my songs overseas than in the UK.
That means your doing something right!
Yeah, it’s amazing to be able to empower females beyond the UK. It’s a very good feeling, to see people relate to me and feel no way about showing me love. Because that’s how I am as a person and I guess your fans are normally similar to you.
Check on Trillary on Instagram, click here.