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Azealia Amanda Banks is an American rapper, singer and lyricist from Harlem, New York signed to Interscope/Polydor, and formerly known under the pseudonym Miss Bank$. Banks rose in notability in 2011 when she topped NME's "Cool List" for the year. On December 5, 2011, the BBC announced that Banks had been nominated for the Sound of 2012, where she ultimately finished third. Her debut single, "212" featuring Lazy Jay, was released on December 6, 2011, charting in some European territories. Banks was born in 1991. Her mother raised her and two older sisters in Harlem, after their father died when she was two years old. At a young age she became interested in musical theater, acting, and singing. Aged ten, she began performing in off-Broadway musicals with the Tada! Youth Theater in Lower Manhattan. She had lead roles in three productions (Rabbit Sense, Sleepover, and Heroes) in addition to performing as a soloist. Banks was trained in the performing arts at the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan. At the age of sixteen, Banks starred in a production of the comedy-noir musical City of Angels. She never finished high school, instead choosing to follow her dream of becoming a recording artist.


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