JMSN | BET
PHOTOGRAPHY | GIF ANIMATION
Commissioned photography for intensive artist profile in BET
PLACEMENT | BET
JMSN's Quiet Rebellion: Choosing Freedom Over Stardom
How one R&B artist opted out of the hype
It’s a Thursday night at the dimly-lit (Le) Poisson Rouge club in Manhattan, where a rather heterogeneous crowd — in terms of race, gender and fashion sense, in particular — has begun to thicken, packing the dance floor which is blanketed in a deep red glow. A disco ball sways gently overhead as cool air is pumped in and Sam Cooke bellows through the speakers. Some sprightly dance and mouth the words, while others refill their drinks or use the venue’s complimentary wi-fi. Every so often the door to the side of the stage opens and a silhouette appears, and the audience collectively quiets in anticipation, until it is realized that it is yet again not the man they’re here to see.
Around 11:00 p.m., a five-piece band emerges — a drummer, bassist, guitarist, pianist/saxophonist and background singer — and takes their places on stage, beginning to play the easily-recognizable opening notes to “It is.,” the title track of the new album that JMSN released early last month. It’s a darkly-toned and brooding intro and it serves as the welcoming music for the 29-year-old artist, who abruptly appears dressed in a massive turquoise jacket of faux fur, jeans and white Vans. When he steps to the mic, he smiles and stares down the audience.