"I like spending a lot of time with myself and being one with my thoughts and emotions "
Zimbabwe-born and London-raised, Ashleigh Bankx is a breath of fresh air, who brings with her a unique combination of musical influences to distinguish her from the crowd. She grew up initially listening to Zimbabwean gospel music, afro jazz influenced by a style of township rhythm that evolved in the southern part of Africa, and sungura (a local Zimbabwean genre consisting of lead, rhythm and bass guitar melodies), she describes her music as a fusion of all these genres mixed with her own unique spin, while also drawing inspiration from the likes of Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill alongside contemporary artists such as Rihanna. We sat down with Ashleigh Bankx to find out what life is like for her outside music and what emotion she experiences the most.
NEO: Who inspires you musically?
ASHLEIGH BANKX:It's hard for me to pick out a certain one because various musicians inspire me and growing up listening to different musicians I have drawn inspiration from all of them. The ones I normally list are artists like Beyonce, Adele, Amy Winehouse and Rihanna.
NEO: What’s life like for you outside of music?
ASHLEIGH BANKX: I'm always making music and when i'm not making music im at work that is literally my life. My life just consists of music!
NEO: Do you have any up and coming projects you are working on?
ASHLEIGH BANKX: At the moment we are working on an EP. I actually recorded the music way before lockdown and i'm kind of just in the space where i am ready to release it so we are just putting things together, i'm trying to not give out too much detail but you are going to love it!
NEO: What is your favourite series of all time?
ASHLEIGH BANKX:Desperate housewives. I've watched it so many times. I really love it
NEO: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
ASHLEIGH BANKX:That i’m not friendly, but in reality i am really friendly. I think it's because I have a resting bitch face.
NEO: What is your creative process like?
ASHLEIGH BANKX: I like spending a lot of time with myself and being one with my thoughts and emotions and my inspiration is usually drawn from here. I literally isolate myself from my friends and family and focus. I also like to spend a lot of time in nature taking walks and going for jogs and that helps me create.
NEO: What was your parents reaction to you becoming a singer?
ASHLEIGH BANKX: My parents know that i sing but i don’t think they see it as a career. They are old school Afrcians that are stuck in their way if you know what I mean. Being African can be hard sometimes especially when you want to pursue a more creative role. At the end of the day it is my dream and i am doing it!
NEO: Explain your last single ‘Angel’ using three words
ASHLEIGH BANKX:It is about self love, self confidence and its about self liberation
NEO: What’s your favourite life quote?
ASHLEIGH BANKX:‘I can do anything i can put my mind to’ i live by that quote because sometime when you are trying something new or you want to achieve something it can be a little daunting. If you remind yourself you can do it you will always pull through and do it.
NEO: What emotion do you experience the most?
ASHLEIGH BANKX:Pain. I'm quite an emotional person and very passionate. I am in my feelings a lot! I am very sensitive to things and I feel pain from these feelings quite a lot and it helps me write and create music.
NEO: Let us know where to find you on social media
ASHLEIGH BANKX: @ashleighbankx