New Orleans Rapper, Alfred Banks, is blazing his own path and cementing his influence into the game through inspiring positive change and striking an emotional chord within the hearts of listeners worldwide. Collecting a variety of his feelings stemming from the suicide of his brother, Orlandas Banks, and translating the experience into a powerful work of musical art for both himself and others to heal through, Alfred Banks has discovered his purpose and is continuously honing his ability to shell out lyrical gems that dive far beyond the surface. I caught up with the man to discuss bringing ‘The Beautiful’ to life, rooting for the underdog, words that he would say to his younger self, artistic freedom and expression through tattoo art and more.
Congrats on the positive feedback behind your latest release, ‘The Beautiful’. You approach your songwriting process with such a powerful level of vulnerability. Tell us about some of the life experiences that have led you toward the desire to express yourself so candidly.
Personally, being open with sharing how I felt is something that I hadn’t done and experimented with in my music up until this point. Once my brother passed, I felt it was something that needed to be talked about because he was great person and I wanted folks to know about him. He went through something that a lot of people suffer from, especially in the black community. The conversation needed to be started in my opinion.
Let’s create some inspiration for our readers. What is one of the greatest challenges that you have recently encountered and overcome that in hindsight served as a great lesson?
One of the greatest challenges that I recently experienced was actually paying for the album, ‘The Beautiful’, to be recorded, mixed and mastered. It ended up costing several thousands of dollars. But, I performed a lot of shows to save up and worked really hard to stack the cash. I was able to pay for the album and put it out! Incredible moment.
Let’s talk UnderDogCentral. You have a powerful backstory behind the intention of bringing the movement to life. Fill us in behind what sparked your fire and the work within UnderDogCentral.
UnderDogCentral is “The place where the overlooked go to hone their skills to return and become the admired”. It’s a metaphor in a sense. When I first started, I was rough around the edges. I had to go back, perfect my situation and come back and now I’m where I’m at. No matter what you do, perfect it as much as you can. Being an underdog is a beautiful thing. Fighting from behind makes the inevitable win that much more beautiful.
If you could say anything to your younger self when you first started to make music, what would you say?
“Take your time, man. Things will happen in a few. Don’t worry so much. Chill out. Just stick around and you’ll be fine”.
Since you’re a blank canvas, which is totally cool, let’s switch it up. What is your perception of the artistic benefit of tattoos as means of expression within society? Have you observed a shift in tattoo culture through traveling and seeing so many different walks of life on the road?
I love tattoos. The different art that I see while touring these cities is awesome. I’m all about people having artistic freedom to do whatever they want with their body. And giving people that freedom can relieve stress and maybe even open doors for some to a new career of some sort: I love it.
Tell us a bit about your roots. How has New Orleans influenced your artistic style and the man that you’ve matured into and become?
New Orleans is in my entire makeup. I’m proud to be from this city because of the rich history of music that we have here. I can go anywhere and hold my head high. This city is also very tough which taught me that I can make it anywhere. I love my city nevertheless.
What has been the ultimate dose of wisdom that you have carried with you as musician and who or what did you receive it from?
Some of the best advice I ever got was from my man, Mickey Factz. He told me to make sure every move I ever make is undeniable. He told me that and I’ve never looked back. It fuels me to be the best in every room I walk into, and hearing that from an XXL Freshman Alumni means a lot.
Any upcoming tour plans or festival appearances that you can fill us in about?!
In my hometown, New Orleans, I’m performing at French Quarter Festival, which is a major festival here. I’m also touring Europe in June which is a first for me and I’m really excited for that! I also have two-three new EP’s dropping this year as well! We got a whole lotta stuff going on!
Bold question, yet what is the defining principle that you stand and live by as an artist and influencer?
I always look for ways to progress. Progression is the most important thing for me.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Thank you for your support. Please visit my site, Underdogcentral, and follow me on Instagram and Twitter!
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