I’m at Wrongbar about to see JMSN play his first show in Canada, and, despite the overwhelming smell of Williamsburg Hipsters and the judgemental stares Toronto’s socialites are throwing across the room, I can’t help but be excited. I’ve never seen Jesus play music live. I’ve never seen JMSN play live, either.

 


Words by Alex Biro / Photos by Derek Hui

 

There’s something emotionally compelling about him – his quiet modesty in person, his intensity on stage, his production. If I were man enough to admit to having a man crush, JMSN would probably it. Fan girls begin to rush the front of the crowd as an unkempt, illuminated JMSN takes the stage. He’s wearing his uniform white t-shirt, cut low enough to show his cross tattoo in the centre of his chest. His band, looking more like a hardcore outfit than a hippie R&B group smile widely as the first notes of the show ring out.

 

 

The rest of the night, in all honesty, is a blur. A blur of of 200 some odd kids packed into Wrongbar watching the next big thing pour his heart out on stage. It’s rare that I feel compelled to put someone on a musical pedestal (both because I’m pretentious as fuck and because few people realistically deserve it). JMSN is one of those few people. His pain is yours, is the audiences – every word he sings hits you where it hurts, where you’re raw. It takes true talent to bring people together in a communal setting to face the failures and successes of your past, together, in one moment.

 

 

†Priscilla† did that when it was released – it was, at it’s barest, an honest, sobering perspective on the trials and tribulations of love and loss. Live, JMSN’s true success lies in the fact in which he’s capable of bringing people from all walks of life together to share in their suffering. When art has substance, the people who share and celebrate that art generally have substance as well. Walking away from my first JMSN experience, I can say confidently that the future of R&B is incredibly safe in his hands.