Whether you know you have or not, it’s likely that you’ve heard the vocals of Eastpointe, Michigan vocalist and songwriter Christian Berishaj. After adopting the moniker JMSN in 2012 and self-releasing an album entitled †Priscilla†, he has gone from strength to strength, even lending his vocals to several of the songs on Kendrick Lamar’s classic debut g.o.o.d kid, m.A.A.d city. With his latest self-titled release it feels like JMSN has honed his talents, and crafted the strongest release of his already weighty back catalogue.
On the eve of his release, we interrupted him in rehearsals for a chat about the album, his lane in music, the ‘Alternative R&B’ label and working with rappers…
It’s the day before the release of your new album, how – if at all – does this one feel different to previous releases?
Every release is exciting. This one I think is a lot more important for me as an artist because it’s so different to the previous one. It’s a pretty big evolution of my art. I’m excited to see if people like it or don’t like it. It’s nice to be growing and evolving, never staying the same. So this was an important step in the direction of things to come. Who knows, maybe the next album will be even crazier and different from this one. But I feel like this was such a departure from the old stuff.
How did that departure come about?
It was very natural. I intentionally wanted to have more live instrumentation, just because that’s actually what I’ve always wanted to do but just didn’t feel like I had the resources. But now I feel like I have a lot better players at my disposal that can play stuff that I couldn’t before. I just put down an idea and they’ll just take it, and take it to the moon. So it helps in that regard to get the live aspect of shit.
At what point does recording songs become, “I’m working on an album” for you?
I knew that I was making an album, I didn’t know how it was going to come together or anything. I feel like that part’s like magic, you don’t even know how [it happens]. You just start off making a batch of songs and you’re like “Oh wow, these songs go together and these songs go together. This is turning into an album – content wise and music wise.” It’s cool, and it’s fun to connect the dots.