NEW ORLEANS — Catching COVID in January was a devastating ordeal for New Orleans rapper Alfred Banks. When the pandemic arrived in 2020, it almost ended the whole lot that Banks had labored for his whole life.
The pandemic primarily ended a seven-year relationship and his 9-5 job. A number of tour dates, exhibits and collaborations have been canceled. Sarcastically, the pandemic compelled him to focus solely on his music — for the primary time in his life.
And destiny was on his facet.
Following a stint of delivering meals for Uber Eats Banks landed on his toes and is touring the nation once more.
Banks fills Zenger in on his return to music.
Zenger: Are you glad together with your newest undertaking: “The Vary 2”?
Banks: What I’ve been doing recently is exhibiting my vary as an artist and the totally different genres I can do. I really feel like I achieved it fairly nicely. It’s a sequence. The primary one had 4 songs and this one has six. I’m spreading out much more with the vary. The response has been dope. I simply began a tour a few days in the past, and I’m excited by the way in which individuals acquired it.
Zenger: How far do you propose on going with this specific sequence?
Banks: I do not know for the time being. So long as I’m on this mode, no matter hits me is what I do. There’s just one undertaking I’ve been planning for some time, and it’s popping out later this yr. Exterior of that, I create from inspiration. I’m not a man that writes to only write. I additionally don’t assume that far forward. I flow. I’ll do two extra installments, I’ll do another, I’ll not do anymore. It relies on what temper I’m in.
Zenger: You appear to be in an awesome place proper now, however that wasn’t the case two years in the past. The pandemic actually did a quantity in your private life and profession.
Banks: I caught COVID in January . It sucked. Bodily, it was unhealthy, so to make it previous that was actually cool. The pandemic wasn’t a superb time for me. I used to be in a long-term relationship that ended. I had a day job on the time that ended due to COVID. I had 60 to 70 exhibits lined up — all of them received canceled. My whole livelihood, my whole life, received uprooted, and I needed to begin from scratch.
It actually compelled me to get again to the fundamentals of what received me the identify I’ve. I needed to grind. From 2016-2019, I didn’t need to make as many telephone calls as I used to. I didn’t need to ship as many emails. I didn’t need to DM as a lot as I used to. Folks have been simply reaching out and locking me in for occasions. These excursions and festivals have been simply occurring naturally. COVID shut the whole lot down. I needed to determine issues out. I used to be in a position to bounce again from it.
I’m grateful for that have. I didn’t take music without any consideration, however now I positively don’t take it without any consideration. Earlier than COVID, I wasn’t a rapper for a dwelling — now I’m. It took the pandemic for me to actually make issues occur. June made my second yr of being a full-time musician. I’m blessed. I took a foul scenario and made it work.
Zenger: Generally, you don’t understand how robust and resilient you’re till you haven’t any alternative. Did you shock your self by how a lot you overcame?
Banks: I actually did shock myself. I’ve been by so much in my life. I went by a lot in these seven months, however then you definitely fast-forward to about 2021, and Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans. I needed to take care of that on high of the pandemic. All of these issues, grinding it out and dealing my butt off each single day to make it occur and hold the dream alive.
For me to be standing tall now says so much about my character. At any level I might have gone one other method and began doing one thing else. I believed in my music sufficient to know this wouldn’t be eternally. I do know the connection I’ve with my followers is deep. These relationships have been strengthened in the course of the pandemic.
I shocked myself by the way in which I used to be in a position to overcome a lot, particularly a doing it on my own. Now, being on with PR Amplified, having a stupendous publicist [Angelique Phipps], an unimaginable supervisor, unimaginable teammates, and reserving brokers actually will get me going once more.
Zenger: At one level, you delivered meals for Uber Eats, proper?
Banks: Certainly. From Might 2020 to about July 2020, I used to be doing Uber Eats on a bicycle. I used to be making $50 to $60 a day simply to attempt to hold issues going in the course of the pandemic. Throughout that point, I used to be nonetheless recording and do options when individuals would attain out. I keep in mind being in an Uber one time particularly headed to do that large characteristic. It was actually as a result of the bread [money] was good. To know that anyone would assume that a lot of me to place me on a file, the feelings flowed by me.
All of it caught as much as me, and I simply cried within the Uber. It let me know that I’d make it by this unhealthy scenario. Uber Eats was a lifesaver. It helped me get again on my toes. It helped me keep centered, and let me know that I had one thing. From that time, I used to be in a position to leap again into the exhibits. Now, I’m again on tour. My first tour in three years and these are the issues I used to be in a position to get again to due to that tough work.
Zenger: Since you may have skilled the lows what does the highs really feel like?
Banks: The highs really feel superb. Simply final evening, I did a present in Dallas with Devin The Dude, and the evening earlier than, I used to be in Austin, similar scenario. These are the kind of issues that I don’t take without any consideration, and it feels superb to be again doing these items on these larger phases, introducing my music to followers. Additionally, having individuals from Houston, Dallas and San Antonio drive out to see my efficiency is an incredible feeling.
Seeing these individuals come to my exhibits with my merch on… I had a younger girl come to the present who printed her personal T-shirt. It feels unimaginable to know that even in any case I’ve been by, persons are nonetheless in tune with what I received happening. That’s a blessing.