“Just because you got a preconceived notion of what I should do,” JMSN sings on his new album “Whatever Makes U Happy,” “don’t mean it’s the truth.” The lyric is a bit of wisdom that JMSN, the Los Angeles-via-Detroit singer-songwriter born Christian Berishaj, has gleaned after more than a decade in the music industry.
After forays into indie rock (with his band Love Arcade) and EDM pop (as Christian TV), Berishaj re-christened himself JMSN in 2012, his falsetto and R&B songwriting sharp but obscured by an electronic ambiance that recalled the early work of the Weeknd. Gradually, he emerged from the shadows, first on the stark and somber “Pllaje” and then on a self-titled album reminiscent of Justin Timberlake’s Timbaland period. But Berishaj wasn’t done evolving: On last year’s “It Is.,” he added strings and horns to the mix for a much more lush and funky sound, an approach he doubled down on with “Whatever Makes U Happy.”
The album has a loose, improvisational feeling and a soulful quality. It wouldn’t be out of place amid the turn-of-the-century work of the Soulquarians collective. After years of exploring, Berishaj has found a winning formula with this version of JMSN. Or, as he sings on the new album, “I stopped tryna please everybody/ Please yourself/Whatever makes you happy/ Do that.”
Show: With Gabriel Garzón-Montano and Alcordo on Tuesday at 9:30 Club. Doors open at 7 p.m. 202-265-0930. 930.com. $20.