The "Old Soul" trope is a bit of a cliché now isn't it, often used to propel a curated digital aesthetic or maintain a brand narrative these days, rather than upholding the perspicacity and transcendence once associated with the title. But Jacob Banks isn't one for clichés. The Birmingham-born, London-based gritty soul singer is too fixated on living it, writing it and delivering his authentic, introspective view of himself and the world through a rare guttural baritone voice; the same one heard on last year's acclaimed The Paradox EP and the one promising to deliver its same raw power on forthcoming release The Boy Who Cried Freedom.

Whether speaking to the compelling 24-year-old creative, listening to his powerful penmanship at play through soulful sonic deliveries or watching their accompanied visuals, (gripped by burning memoranda on 'Grace,' 'Unknown' and 'Monster,') it's clear a lot can be learned from and about Jacob Banks. There's a gravity in the way he explains even the most casual of thoughts and an openness to share. But despite a substantial acuity that manifests throughout his conversation, he's happiest at home with his cats, with his favourite cartoon on and a plate of jerk chicken in front of him. The simple life of an old soul isn't any less dynamic. And Jacob Banks has found that balance.

In just a bit, it's going to be a full year since the release of your incredible EP, The Paradox. You've been steady making moves and dropping videos since then. How have things changed for you in that time since you put it out?

I don't think it has too much. I'm very weird. I sit in my house with my cats and I make music when I have to and when I feel like I have something to say. So it's hard to say. I have a slightly bigger team now than when I put the EP out initially. It was just me. I did everything myself, because I felt like I had something to say. The difference now is, now I have people like Wired helping me out with PR and stuff like that. But on a music making level, it has opened a lot of doors for me professionally.

You did receive a lot of merited respect and acknowledgement for your honest work from the music to the visuals. What did the entire EP campaign teach you about yourself as an artist?

All I really cared about was music and especially with that project. When you write music or do videos, you think you know what you're doing, but half the time, you really have no idea. You're just winging it. It's all pieced together. It's weird because you're in the moment and you don't really know what's happening until you see the end result and you're like, "Ahh, so that's what it's really all about." It was weird seeing how all the visions were strung together. Especially regarding the stuff that I cared about. I cared about power. I cared about how you use power in relationships. It was kind of like the theme across the whole EP. It allowed me to focus on what I really cared about as opposed to what I thought I cared about.

That's what made it so profound. Unfortunately, it's all too rare for a male artist to be as honest as you've been on your EP with the topics that you've covered like manipulation, abuse, misuse of power and done so in such a gritty way. Why was this your story to tell?

A lot of it is fucked up in the sense of relationships and stuff. In relationships I'm very passive and very much like, I do whatever makes it work for both of us and I've always found that culturally, where you're from determines how you view relationships a lot. For example, in my family, no one could ever say that they ever saw my mom and dad argue and they've been together for the best part of 30 years and married for 27 years. And we've never seen them utter a word of disrespect to each other. Growing up in UK culture, and seeing how people relate to each other, there's a sense of, people strive for equality so much and so they're disrespecting each other. There's such a difference between equality and justice. Equality is, I'm 6 foot 4. How tall are you?

Like 5'9.

So if we went to a concert and you couldn't see and they were giving out chairs to help them see better, equality would mean that you and I would both get a chair. Justice would say that you would get a chair. I don't need a chair, because I can see. And that's the difference. People think that equal means respected. In relationships, it shows in how we respect our women and how we treat them and how we treat men. It's very much like, if you tell me to shut up and I tell you to shut up back. How about we don't tell each other to shut up at all?

In relation to this, you've tweeted before that you think 90% of the world problems have to do with programming at such a young age, which you were just talking about. Did you have a process of deprogramming yourself from that artistically or have you always been a super introspective person?

I always see myself in third person. I always try to be in the moment and really see what's happening in front of me. I think the most natural thing for a human being to do is be kind. I think that we all want to be kind and be nice to each other. There's lots of programming that goes into an initial introduction. For example, if you meet someone you've never met before, your guard is already up, as opposed to just meeting them and seeing what happens. There's a lot that goes on, I understand that. But I'm the type of person that is just myself no matter what may happen. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn't and I have to understand that that's not a reflection of me as a person. I've had to really understand myself and apply myself accordingly to stuff that I believe in.

Let's dive into your music, sonically now. With a genre so heavily rooted in its history, what is innovation in soul music to you? How do you make something so rooted in tradition new again?

You have to just be in the times. I honestly believe that an artist has to represent the times. For me, my whole premise with music and videos is, how can I get a 16 year old black male and a 60 year old black male to be in the same space. How can I bring those two worlds together? And that's really what it is. For me, it's about introducing steps so I can have a trap section for a 16-year-old and deep, soulful down-south melodies for the older people. That's all it is for me, understanding that people like different things. The only way to be innovative is to tell your story your way. Nobody can tell your story but you. That's the only way to do it.

Other than music, what are your current obsessions?

I'm obsessed with my cats. I have two cats. They're kind of like my whole life, which is sad but it's cool. I'm obsessed with a show on the Cartoon Network called The Amazing World of Gumball. Everyone should watch it. It's genuinely funny. I'm playing football again, which I'm not very good at. I started working out and taking my health seriously-ish, which is good. That's about it really.

Don't forget jerk chicken. I heard you're a connoisseur.

I am the guy. If you need to know any spot, anywhere, I'll hook you up.

So now I definitely need to know, since it's been nearly a year since the previous project, what can we expect from you this year?

There's going to be another EP soon. It's somewhat started. I'm changing lanes, like every two weeks. It's called The Boy Who Cried Freedom. I can't make happy songs to save my life, which is weird, because I have so much happy shit happening. Don't ever bank on that to happen. I can make it sound triumphant but as far as happiness, not so much. My whole thing is empowerment. Empowerment and happiness are different. I want to empower people and make them feel like they can do whatever they want. But The Boy Who Cried Freedom is through the perspective of, going back to programming, it's about wanting to break the mold and just questioning. It's about my godson who's only five and he asks the most interesting questions. At some point, someone will tell him to think differently and to stay in the game and not question anything. I always wonder, at one point.