We often debate the merits of hard work versus talent. It’s not always easy to nurture a passion; Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour ideology comes to mind, but there are some people who seemingly just have it, without having to force it. JMSN is one of those people who seems to have musicality seeping out of his pores. That’s not to say that he hasn’t worked hard (he’s been on Pro-Tools since he was twelve) but he doesn’t seem to bear any of the accoutrements of someone who’s had to force it.
Growing up Christian Berishaj in Detroit, he’s undergone several sonic transformations to arrive at his current sound as JMSN. From his garage band days in Snowhite, to his brief stint as Christian TV, he’s lived a few different lifetimes as a performer. He’s also written and produced for several other artists. We first heard his music in 2012, on Kendrick Lamar’s masterfully composed good kid mA.A.d city. His ethereal vocals brought a softness to Kendrick’s hard raps on songs like “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” and his addition of strings on the song, brought a polished touch to the track. JSMN dropped his debut album Priscilla in the same year and it was a full experience of the lushness that is a JMSN song.
His latest album, The Blue Album, features slower paced, luxurious tracks with outros that strum on and into the next song, with JMSN showing off his vocals at well placed moments in the album. Tracks like “Need U” and “Addicted” deal with loss and a sense of remorse and nostalgia; it’s always comforting to hear someone sing about how they’ve fucked up. The stars of the album though are the instruments that he plays and how he chooses to arrange them. The guitar solos are graceful, and have you imagining him as a sort of cowboy Jesus.
We had the chance to speak with JMSN before he performed tracks from The Blue Album. We asked him about the creation of The Blue Album, his frequent collaborations with TDE, and how his vocals on good kid mA.A.d city came about. We’ve set the piece to some tracks from the Blue Album, it’s definitely an album worth buying in it’s entirety to get the whole experience.