JMSN drops ‘Whatever Makes U Happy’ on his own label


Courtesy Eduardo Figueroa

R&B soul and electric musician JMSN will be performing in Chicago May 21 at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., showcasing his new album that he calls his rawest work

By Ariel Parrella-Aureli

JMSN has been doing what makes him happy since he was 12 years old: creating music. The Detroit transplant, whose real name is Christian Berishaj, is known as a behind-the-scenes producer, who has worked on numerous albums, TV soundtracks and film scores throughout his career. 

The singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist is known for his work with Kendrick Lamar on his 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city album and on projects with J. Cole, Kaytranada and Tyga. 

In 2006, the Detroiter started his own band, Love Parade, and signed with Atlantic Records before releasing an eponymous album. After the band split in 2009, he let the name die and moved to Los Angeles. He started his own label, White Room Records, which released his 2016 album It Is under JMSN, which is pronounced “Jameson.”

With his new single “Drinkin’” generating more than one million plays on Spotify, JMSN is ready to share Whatever Makes U Happy. The album was released April 28 and features the fresh sound JMSN has been crafting for years: an electric, organic R&B vibe that stands apart from his past work, with belting vocals and catchy yet honest lyrics.

JMSN is scheduled to perform May 21 at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St. with Alcordo, also on White Room Records.  The Chronicle spoke to him about his past collaborations, his new album and the perks of owning a record label.

THE CHRONICLE: How did collaborating with Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole or Tyga help you find your solo success?

JMSN: I don’t think those artists helped me find my style or success; it was just some nice stuff on the way for where I’m going. Working with those people kept me inspired to keep working. It was nice to be around other young artists working.

What did you explore with Whatever Makes U Happy?

It is a lot more raw than anything I have ever done—a lot more first takes for everything, even if there are mistakes included. I just wanted to keep it like that and keep it in the moment of the first time you write a song. That kind of vibe of just doing it, and you can’t really take it back when you f–k up. Let it be what it is.

Are there any instruments that you would like to get better at playing?

I would love to be better at piano. I can play piano—not very well.

What advantages do you have to releasing music on your own label?

There is a lot more freedom. That’s a plus and also a minus because you have to keep yourself accountable. You decide when stuff is coming out and when it is done, but that can also get out of hand if you don’t know how to accept it when it is done. In all reality, it can never be done. It is never going to be perfect, so you can keep working on it. It is nice to have the freedom [of] when it is done, you put it out. This feels like my first album, and I am excited for people to hear it.

Are there any R&B artists with whom you would want to collaborate?

R. Kelly because I am a big fan of his, and I have been since I was a little kid.

What do you appreciate about performing in Chicago?

I enjoy playing in Chicago every time; the crowd is amazing and the energy is crazy.