Jay Brannan

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Jay Brannan
Brannan performs in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August 2008
Background information
Born (1982-03-29) March 29, 1982 (age 41)[1]
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2006–present

Jay Brannan (born March 29, 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. Since then, he has toured and released four albums.

Early life and career[edit]

Brannan was born 1982 in Texas in a middle-class family and grew up as the son of a petroleum engineer and a teacher.[3][4][5] He described his family as conservative Baptists and mentions their beliefs on homosexuality.[6][7] Brannan went to college for one semester in Cincinnati, Ohio, and went to California, first to Palm Springs and later to Los Angeles, trying to become an actor.[3][5] 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.[3] He also worked as a proofreader of legal documents for a translation company.

Brannan was cast in 2003 for the movie Shortbus and worked as a proofreader and in other jobs to support himself.[8] He contributed the song "Soda Shop" to the film's soundtrack, which he stated was his "first professionally recorded track".[8] The song was also released on Team Love Records.[9] Brannan began to record sparse music videos for YouTube, accompanying himself on the guitar, and built an international fan base without corporate sponsorship, using MySpace and Blogspot.[10][11] 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, adding two additional songs for a 2008 re-release.[4][12]

In July 2008, Brannan released the album Goddamned through his own label, Great Depression Records, and toured ten dates, a departure from his previous practice of short tours of about four concerts.[10][13] The same year, Brannan left his proofreading job and sustained himself with earnings from concerts and merchandise.[11] His second album, In Living Cover, was released in 2009 and reached number ten on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart for the week of July 25, 2009.[14] Brannan promoted the album in an interview on ABC News's Now in July 2009.[15] Always, Then, & Now, his fourth studio album, was released on July 15, 2014, on his own independent label Great Depression Records.


Jay Brannan in Hamburg, Germany, in 2009

Brannan is a tenor.[3] 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.[4] Goddamned was described as lo-fi and Brannan compared his concerts to intimate performances in his home.[11][16] He has performed with Terra Naomi and both were compared in style and described as performing indie folk.[16] The New York Times stated in 2006 that Brannan was sometimes compared to singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and that Brannan saw himself as echoing the angry and sad sound of female singers like Tracy Chapman and Joni Mitchell.[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • 2007: Unmastered (re-released in 2008 with additional songs)
  • 2013: Around the World in 80 Jays
  • 2016: New York, New York[18]


Year Single Album
2007 "Body's a temple" Unmastered EP
2008 "Housewife" Goddamned
"Can't Have It All"
2009 "Beautifully" In Living Cover
(also included later in Rob Me Blind)
"The Freshmen" In Living Cover
2012 "Greatest Hits" (Promotional single) Rob Me Blind
"Rob Me Blind"[20]
2014 "Blue-Haired Lady" Always, Then, & Now
"Square One"
  • "Soda Shop" (track on the 2006 Shortbus soundtrack)
  • "Lower My Gun" (track on the 2008 Holding Trevor soundtrack)
  • "My Love, My Love" and "Takeoff" (two tracks on the 2011 Cloudburst soundtrack)[21]


  • "Body's a Temple"
  • "Housewife"
  • "Can't Have It All"
  • "Greatest Hits"
  • "Beautifully"
  • "Rob Me Blind"
  • "Blue-Haired Lady"
  • "Square One"



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Shortbus Ceth
2007 Holding Trevor Jake
2012 Kiss of the Damned Hans


  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.
  2. ^ "Label | Current Roster". Nettwerk. Archived from the original on June 26, 2018. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bernstein, Fred A. (October 8, 2006). "Living Small, Thinking Large". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Leggett, Steve. "Jay Brannan – Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Hoad, Phil (December 2006). "Film: Jay Brannan". Dazed & Confused. p. 42.
  6. ^ Bruni, Frank (September 24, 2006). "'Shortbus' Cast Didn't Study for This in Acting Class". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  7. ^ Dumenco, Simon (April 2007). "Half Boyfriend" (PDF). Zoo Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 13, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Hartl, John (October 2, 2006). "Willing to go along for a long, circuitous ride". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 30, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  9. ^ Visakowitz, Susan (May 5, 2005). "Billboard Bits: Trey Anastasio, Foxy Brown, Jay Brannan, Brendan Canning". Billboard. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Reed, James (July 1, 2008). "Brannan charms with naive vulnerability". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  11. ^ a b c Eldredge, Richard L. (July 1, 2008). "PEACH BUZZ: Fans buy into singer's way with words". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  12. ^ Holden, Stephen (July 4, 2008). "Desperately Seeking Sex and Identity, With Snark". The New York Times. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  13. ^ "Feature – Jay Brannan". Billboard. August 1, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  14. ^ "In Living Cover – Chart Listing For The Week Of Jul 25 2009". Billboard. Retrieved July 29, 2009.
  15. ^ "ITunes Chart Climber Jay Brannan". ABC News. July 29, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Peitzman, Louis (July 2, 2009). "Jay Brannan and Terra Naomi: Getting close". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  17. ^ a b IMDb.com Jay Brannan Awards page
  18. ^ Jay Brannan [@jaybrannan] (July 18, 2016). "NEW EP! Today on CD Baby, Bandcamp, iTunes, GooglePlay, & Amazon MP3. #JayBrannan #NewYorkNewYork" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ "Jay Brannan – Beautifully". YouTube. January 16, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2012. ... Jay Brannan's forthcoming album, Rob Me Blind, ...
  20. ^ "Jay Brannan – Rob Me Blind". YouTube. June 27, 2012. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2012. ... Jay Brannan's "Rob Me Blind" from album of same name
  21. ^ IMDb.com: Cloudburst Soundtrack page

External links[edit]