By Jamie Goyman
VANCOUVER – The first time JMSN’s simply elegant and beautiful voice hit the soundwaves with “Alone,” off of his self-produced 2012 record Priscilla, eardrums around the world were in shock. Like discovering a cereal box prize, JMSN—real name Christian Berishaj—is a musical treasure of the industry who started making his mark just five short years ago.
Having known all his life that music was something that he was going to pursue as a career, Berishaj took on the lofty goals he set out for himself with relative ease. “I was going to do it and figure it out no matter what, and I’m still trying to do that,” says Berishaj. “That’s my first passion, creating music, so I’m always going to be doing that.”
With each new release, Berishaj continues to show incredible artistic growth and integrity in his work. The sheer honesty and emotion his work embodies sends wave after wave of shivers down the spine, whether the lyrics are backed up with slow, pulsating beats like “Ends (Money)” and “Fuck U,” or the more up-tempo levels of “Hypnotized” and “’Bout It.” Originally from the Detroit area, and now based in L.A., Berishaj is truly one of those multifaceted artists that we hope never stops making tunes—and so far that’s the plan. “[The music I make] always changes, which is what makes us human. Constantly growing and changing. I don’t want to ever be put into a box,” Berishaj goes on to say. “My favourite artists can’t be put into a box; they make what they make, and I aspire to be one of those artists. I think it’s good when you can’t describe it.”
His latest record, Whatever Makes U Happy, came out on April 28, and let’s just say the album is soulful as fuck. “Where Do U Go” and “Drinkin’” really showcase where JMSN stands creatively in 2017, and it is in no way a disappointment. How could it be when the album closes with “Patiently,” a track that the artist states is the best song he’s ever written? “I just followed where [the music] took me, really; that’s why the album’s called Whatever Makes You Happy,” explains Berishaj. “It’s a little more of doing what I was feeling and not really worrying about what’s going on in the outside world. Not that I hadn’t done that with other albums before—I feel like I had an epiphany of, ‘This is what I do, so I might as well be happy doing it.’”
With all of the success surrounding him as an artist, he has kept himself in check and has been able to keep himself away from the flash and shine of the industry. “I’ve just never been that type of person so I don’t think that should change because of what I’m doing. That’s just my personality, it changes a little bit as you go, but there are staples of your morals that stay the same. I don’t think it serves me in any way to be like that. I just do things that are me.”
JMSN performs on May 17 at Alexander Gastown.JMSN, The Alexander