Jay Brannan

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Jay Brannan
a 20-something-year-old man playing his guitar and singing into the microphone at night.
Brannan performs in Sydney, Australia, in August 2008
Background information
Birth nameJay Brannan
Born (1982-03-29) March 29, 1982 (age 41)[1]
OriginAustin, Texas, U.S.
GenresRhythm and blues, soul, acoustic, pop music
Occupation(s)singer-songwriter, actor, guitarist
Years active2006 (2006)-present
LabelsTeam Love Records, Great Depression Records
WebsiteOfficial website

Jay Brannan (March 29, 1982) is an American singer-songwriter. He grew up in Austin, Texas and is gay.[2][3] His family, who were very conservative Baptists, had a hard time accepting this. Brannan moved to California after one year of being at college. Brannan had wanted to become an actor and landed his first role in Shortbus in 2003. He recorded "Soda Shop" which was featured in the movie soundtrack. After this, Brannan continued singing songs. He began performing acoustic versions on YouTube and became very popular without any promotion.

Brannan had acted in his second movie Holding Trevor in 2007. A year later, his debut album Goddamned was released. Brannan promoted the album during his Goddamned Tour. The following year, he released his second studio album called In Living Cover. The album peaked at number 10 the US Top Heatseekers on Billboard.

Brannan's voice is a tenor and has been compared to many female artists. Many feedback's from music critics have been mixed to negative. Brannan's music was called "The Little Mermaid on crack", while he stated that he writes songs out of anger and pain. Jer Fairall of PopMatters gave Brannan's debut album a mixed review, stating "with likeability to spare, Brannan's music nevertheless needs to grow up a bit". Brannan has said in interviews that he wishes not to be called a "gay singer".

Early life[change | change source]

Jay Brannan in Rome in 2008

Jay Brannan was born on March 29, 1982 in Austin, Texas. His father was a petroleum engineer, while his mother was a teacher.[4][5][6] Brannan spent his childhood in Austin and had wanted to become a successful singer. While growing up, he had to struggle with his sexuality. He had found out he was gay.[2][3] Brannan came out to his family, who were conservative Baptists and had a rough time accepting his sexuality.[7][8] Brannan took a college course in Cincinnati, Ohio. He only had done one year of college.

He left college to become an actor.[4][6] He decided to move to Palm Springs, California, he had lived there for less than a year. Brannan decided to move to Los Angeles afterwards.[4][6] He was given a casting notice while living there. However, because of his then-recent break-up with his ex-boyfriend, Brannan moved to New York City.[4] Brannan then sent an audition tape and was asked to do a movie.[4]

Career[change | change source]

Jay Brannan live in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2008.

In 2003, Brannan had acted in his first role in the movie Shortbus. His character named "Seth", who works two jobs to pay his bills, struggles with his own sexuality.[9] Brannan had performed several sex scenes while playing the role as "Seth" in the movie. The song, "Soda Shop", which was written by Brannan, was included in the movie soundtrack.[9] The song became his first studio recorded song, since he had always sing and records his music in his apartment.[9] The song became a single and was released from Team Love Records.[10] Afterwards, Brannan continued singing his music by performing acoustic versions on YouTube. His fan base grew in numbers while he promoted himself on his MySpace and Blogspot profiles.[11][12] He was not given any corporate sponsorship for promotion. In 2007, Brannan acted in his second movie called Holding Trevor. His character was the best friend of the protagonist, who helped him relieve his depression. After the movie was released, Brannan had recorded a limited-edition EP Unmastered and released it for a short while.[5][13] A year later, his debut album Goddamned was released.[11][14] Brannan founded his own recording label called Great Depression Records. Brannan had performed ten times during his Goddamned Tour (2008). That same year, Brannan left his old job and was able to live off as an independent singer.[12]

Brannan released an LP record called In Living Cover in 2009. The album peaked at number 10 on the US Top Heatseekers on Billboard.[15] He promoted the album when he appeared on ABC News in July 2009. Brannan does not like to be called a "gay singer", and states that he "hates" it because he rather be known as a musician then a "gay singer".[3]

Musical styles and critical reception[change | change source]

Jay Brannan in Hamburg, Germany, in 2009

Brannan's voice is a tenor.[4] Allmusic had reviewed his music and even compared him to female artists Ani DiFranco, Lisa Loeb, Sinéad O'Connor, and Liz Phair.[5] Brannan's debut album Goddamned was described as lo-fi.[12][16] Brannan's music was called "The Little Mermaid on crack".[16] Brannan stated that he writes songs out of anger and pain.[16] He has been compared to singer Rufus Wainwright by The New York Times. Brannan also stated that he sees himself echoing the angry and sad sounds of female singers like Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell.[4]

Jer Fairall of PopMatters gave Brannan's debut album a mixed review, stating "with likeability to spare, Brannan's music nevertheless needs to grow up a bit".[7][17] Dave Hughes of Slant magazine gave a negative review, stating "Brannan is a talented and tenacious guy, it's also impossible to recommend Goddamned".[18]

Andrew Leahey from Allmusic, gave In Living Color a mixed rating, stating the album's "highlights spread too thinly to do much good".[19] Jer Fairall of PopMatters called the album a "satisfying collection" with "a couple of bum notes".[20]

Discography[change | change source]

  • Unmastered (2007)
  • Goddamned (2008)
  • In Living Color (2009)
  • Rob Me Blind (2012)
  • Around the World in 80 Jays (2013)
  • Always, Then, & Now (2014)

Filmography[change | change source]

Year Film Role
2006 Shortbus Ceth
2007 Holding Trevor Jake

References[change | change source]

  1. Brannan, Jay (March 29, 2010). "welp. it's the 29th here i ..." Twitter. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Watch Jay Brannan's Gorgeous Cover of Adele's "Someone Like You"". Instinct. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 John Polly (July 12, 2008). "'Shortbus' star releases his anticipated debut album – on his own terms". goqnotes. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Bernstein, Fred A. (October 8, 2006). "Living Small, Thinking Large". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Leggett, Steve. "Jay Brannan - Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Hoad, Phil (December 2006). "Film: Jay Brannan". Dazed and Confused. p. 42.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bruni, Frank (September 24, 2006). "'Shortbus' Cast Didn't Study for This in Acting Class". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  8. Dumenco, Simon (April 2007). "Half Boyfriend" (PDF). Zoo Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Hartl, John (October 20, 2006). "Willing to go along for a long, circuitous ride". The Seattle Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  10. Visakowitz, Susan (May 5, 2005). "Billboard Bits: Trey Anastasio, Foxy Brown, Jay Brannan, Brendan Canning". Billboard. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Reed, James (July 14, 2008). "Brannan charms with naive vulnerability". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Eldredge, Richard L. (July 18, 2008). "PEACH BUZZ: Fans buy into singer's way with words". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  13. Holden, Stephen (July 4, 2008). "Desperately Seeking Sex and Identity, With Snark". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  14. "Feature - Jay Brannan". Billboard. August 13, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  15. "In Living Cover - Chart Listing For The Week Of Jul 25, 2009". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Peitzman, Louis (July 23, 2009). "Jay Brannan and Terra Naomi: Getting close". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  17. Fairall, Jer (August 21, 2008). "Jay Brannan: Goddamned". PopMatters. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  18. Hughes, Dave (July 22, 2008). "Jay Brannan: Goddamned". Slant. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  19. Leahey, Andrew. "Review: In Living Cover". Allmusic. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  20. Fairall, Jer (August 21, 2008). "Jay Brannan: In Living Cover < Reviews". PopMatters. Retrieved September 20, 2009.

Other websites[change | change source]