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robby klein

The story: The 23-year-old singer-songwriter was born and raised in New Orleans. “Music is a way of life [there],” he tells American Way. “Growing up in one of the worst housing projects, I knew there weren’t many options but to do what I love and just be positive. So I really focused on music.”

The sound: “My sound is between the Maxwell or Kem sound and the big-band sound,” says Banks, who started singing at age 5 and picked up the trumpet in middle school band. After receiving a scholarship to Xavier University, he studied classical performance for two years, but experiences performing around N’Awlins — and buzz created by the release of his first independent album and by a couple of upbeat collaborations with rapper G-Eazy — fueled the decision in his junior year to make music a full-time career. (Banks’ fashion-forward afro and perfect complexion have also helped him land modeling gigs.)

What’s new: Banks has released a slow-­burning R&B single called “Soul,” on which he makes daunting vocal runs seem effortless. He’s also relocated to New York, where he wants to test the musical waters and try to drum up some label interest. As for what he’d do on his first album: “I want some songs to help you sit back and relax, and others to make you jump up and dance.”

Find out more www.gregbanksmusic.com

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“Like a ring gone down the drain
Our love in sunlight, 
at evening, pain”

“The Same Thing,”
Cass McCombs
Humor Risk (Domino, $14)