BANKS ON IT
HAIRDRESSING apprentice James Banks says he has always struggled to be himself, but Channel 9 talent show The Voice has changed that.
He earned a spot on Boy George’s team two nights ago singing Lana Del Ray’s hit Summertime Sadness, but the tune wasn’t his first choice.
“I think my biggest influences would be Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Mariah Carey – RnB soul rather than pop,” he says.
“I didn’t get the chance to sing any of those artists.
“We collaborate with the producers and they like to get you out of your comfort zone and push you into areas you’re not comfortable with.”
James’ musical journey will now continue to the one-on-one battle rounds, but the Gold Coaster turned Sydneysider says he’s embarking on a personal journey too.
“I think it’s a little bit hard in this day and age to be anything but normal,” he says.
“I’m very outspoken and flamboyant. I like to take risks and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.
“Regardless of having people questioning my talent and singing on the show, I’m definitely more confident in who I am because of the love and support I received throughout the whole process.”
James says he was scrutinised for being different as a teenager on the Gold Coast, but now at 25 he has found the confidence to put that behind him.
“Being a bit older now the scare factor doesn’t really come forward too much, but it’s definitely daunting knowing I’m going onstage as myself,” he says.
“I’m a very independent person and I love putting myself in situations where I have no option but to thrive.
“I am confident knowing it’s going to be watched by the whole of Australia and I’m more confident in who I am now.” The Voice Blind Auditions, nightly at 7.30pm on Channel 9
James Banks is a contestant on The Voice.