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Jay Brannan

Brannan in Dublin, September 2008
Background information
Born 1982 (age 27–28)
Genres singer-songwriter
Instruments singing, guitar
Years active 2006–present
Labels Great Depression Records

Jay Brannan (born 1982) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He was born in Texas and briefly studied in Ohio, but moved to California to become an actor. Brannan appeared in the 2006 movie Shortbus, which included one of his songs in its soundtrack, and began to build a fan base by performing on YouTube. He released an EP and acted in Holding Trevor in 2007 and has since toured and released two albums.


Early life and career

Brannan was born 1982 in Texas in a middle-class family and grew up as the son of a petroleum engineer and a teacher.[1][2][3] He described his family as conservative Baptists.[4] Brannan went to college for one semester in Cincinnati, Ohio, and went to California with a man he met on the internet, first to Palm Springs and later to Los Angeles, trying to become an actor.[1][3] In 2002, he was shown a casting notice and, after the end of a relationship, moved to New York City and submitted an audition tape.[1]

Brannan was cast in 2003 for the movie Shortbus, which featured him in a sex scene, and worked as a proofreader and in other jobs to support himself.[5] He contributed the song "Soda Shop" to the film's soundtrack, which he stated was his "first professionally recorded track".[5] The song was also released on Team Love Records.[6] Brannan began to record sparse music videos for YouTube, playing songs with guitar, and built an international fan base without corporate sponsorship, using MySpace and Blogspot.[7][8] In 2007, he appeared in the movie Holding Trevor as the promiscuous best friend of the protagonist, and released a limited-edition EP with fours songs named disasterpiece or Unmastered and added two additional songs for a 2008 rerelease.[2][9]

Brannan performs in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August 2008

In July 2008, Brannan released the album goddamned through his own label, Great Depression Records, and toured ten dates, when he had previously toured with about four dates in a row.[7][10] The same year, Brannan left his proofreading job and sustained himself with earnings from concerts and merchandise.[8] His second album, In Living Cover, was released 2009 and reached number ten on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart for the week of July 25, 2009.[11]


Brannan is a tenor.[1] Allmusic described his style as contemporary singer-songwriter and compared him to female artists, including Ani DiFranco, Lisa Loeb, Sinéad O'Connor, and Liz Phair.[2] Goddamned was described as lo-fi and Brannan compared his concerts to intimate performances in his home.[8][12] He has performed with Terra Naomi and both were compared in style and described as performing indie folk.[12] The New York Times stated in 2006 that Brannan was sometimes compared to Rufus Wainwright, "another openly gay young singer-songwriter", and that Brannan argued he strived for the "sound of the angry, sad woman."[1]




  1. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Fred A. (2006-10-08). "Living Small, Thinking Large". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Leggett, Steve. "Jay Brannan - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  3. ^ a b Hoad, Phil (December 2006). "Film: Jay Brannan". Dazed & Confused. p. 42. 
  4. ^ Bruni, Frank (2006-09-24). "'Shortbus' Cast Didn't Study for This in Acting Class". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  5. ^ a b Hartl, John (2006-10-20). "Willing to go along for a long, circuitous ride". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  6. ^ Visakowitz, Susan (2005-05-05). "Billboard Bits: Trey Anastasio, Foxy Brown, Jay Brannan, Brendan Canning". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  7. ^ a b Reed, James (2008-07-14). "Brannan charms with naive vulnerability". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  8. ^ a b c Eldredge, Richard L. (2008-07-18). "PEACH BUZZ: Fans buy into singer's way with words". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen (2008-07-04). "Desperately Seeking Sex and Identity, With Snark". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  10. ^ "Feature - Jay Brannan". Billboard. 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 
  11. ^ "In Living Cover - Chart Listing For The Week Of Jul 25 2009". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  12. ^ a b Peitzman, Louis (2009-07-23). "Jay Brannan and Terra Naomi: Getting close". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-08-11. 

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