Justin Tranter

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Justin Tranter
Justin Tranter 2009 Tribeca portrait.jpg
Justin Tranter in 2009
Background information
Birth name Justin Drew Tranter[1]
Born (1980-06-16) June 16, 1980 (age 36)
Origin Lake Zurich, Illinois, United States
Genres Pop, dance, glam rock
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2004–present
Labels Razor & Tie, Interscope, Geffen, Cherrytree, Epic
Associated acts Semi Precious Weapons, Julia Michaels
Website Official site

Justin Drew Tranter (June 16, 1980) is an American musician, songwriter and designer. His writing credits include collaborations with major artists such as Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Linkin Park, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Alexander Shapovalov a.k.a. Shapov (Hard Rock Sofa) and Fall Out Boy. Tranter is also the lead singer of Semi Precious Weapons, a New York rock band.

Early years[edit]

Justin Tranter and his three older brothers were raised by his parents in Lake Zurich, Illinois. He studied musical theatre at the Chicago Academy for the Arts from 1994–98. While at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, he started an annual AIDS Benefit.[2]

After graduation from high school Tranter moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music. Along with songwriting, he also took classes in business management, in preparation for a career in music. Tranter graduated from Berklee in three years, with a GPA of 3.9 and a degree in songwriting. While at Berklee, Justin founded Musicians With a Mission, a scholarship fund for LGBT youth education.[3]

In 2003, Justin won an Outmusic Award for the song "Blend In," co-written with Stephanie Delk, from "Scratched."[4]

Tranter began his music career on the Lower East Side of New York City's underground club circuit.[citation needed]

Music career[edit]

Main article: Semi Precious Weapons

Tranter recorded his first album, Scratched, while still at Berklee. After graduation Tranter moved to New York where he put together his first band as the house band for an off-broadway show called Rockstars NYC. The show closed after 3 weeks and Tranter went on to record his second album, Tear Me Together.[citation needed]

In 2004, Tranter joined forces with fellow Berklee graduates, Cole Whittle, Dan Crean, and Aaron Lee Tasjan (who has since been replaced by Stevy Pyne) to form Semi Precious Weapons. He and Semi Precious Weapons opened for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball from 11/09-5/11.[5]

After moving to Los Angeles in 2012, Tranter signed a new publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music to write songs for other artists. Since then he has collaborated on numerous Billboard hits including two songs, Good for You and Sorry, that held the number one spot on Pop Radio for three weeks each.[6]

Late Fall 2015, Britney Spears shared on Instagram that she was collaborating on her 9th album with Tranter and his frequent writing partner, Julia Michaels.[7] About this collaboration with Britney Spears, Tranter affirmed in a 2016 Billboard interview: "It's been such a cool experience. Her voice is just so special, yeah, and she's a very underrated writer. That girl's melodies!".[8]

Tranter is also to appear as a collaborator on The Knocks' debut album, entitled "55", scheduled to be released within the early months of 2016.

In December 2015, Tranter was named one of Rolling Stone's "20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015" for his songwriting contributions to the 2015 pop charts.[9]

As of 2016, Tranter teamed up with Gwen Stefani to co-write her third solo album, along with Julia Michaels, entitled This Is What the Truth Feels Like. He also provided back vocals on Kygo's song "Carry Me", which was taken from his debut album, entitled Cloud Nine.

Writing discography[edit]

Year Title Artist Album
2013 "I Choose U" Timeflies Non-album single
2014 "Please Don't Say" Breathe Carolina Savages
"Run" Nicole Scherzinger Big Fat Lie
"Centuries" Fall Out Boy American Beauty/American Psycho
2015 "Lose Myself"
(featuring Lynn Gunn)
Seven Lions Non-album single
"Like Mariah"
(featuring Tyga)
Fifth Harmony Reflection
"Nostalgic" Kelly Clarkson Piece by Piece
"Love Myself" Hailee Steinfeld HAIZ
"You're Such a ..."
"Rock Bottom"
(solo / featuring DNCE)
"Hell No's and Headphones"
"Revival" Selena Gomez Revival
"Hands to Myself"
"Good for You"
"Me & the Rhythm"
"Body Heat"
"Prosecco" Timeflies Just for Fun
"Cake by the Ocean" DNCE Swaay
"Used to Love You" Gwen Stefani This Is What the Truth Feels Like
"Sorry" Justin Bieber Purpose
"Touch" Pia Mia Non-album single
2016 "Tied To You"
(featuring Justin Tranter)
The Knocks 55
"Make Me Like You" Gwen Stefani This Is What the Truth Feels Like
"You're My Favourite"
"Where Would I Be?"
"Send Me A Picture"
"Red Flag"
"Asking 4 It"
(featuring Fetty Wap)
"Me Without You"
"Rocket Ship"
"Getting Warmer"
"Our World"
(feauting Justin Tranter)
Shapov AXTONE 10
(featuring Tove Lo)
Nick Jonas Last Year Was Complicated
"Carry Me"
(featuring Julia Michaels)
Kygo Cloud Nine
"Dope" Fifth Harmony 7/27
"Just Like Me" Britney Spears Glory
"Do You Wanna Come Over?"
"Slumber Party"
"Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortés)"
"Popular" Cher Lloyd TBA
"Hands" Various Artists Non-album single
"Music" JoJo Mad Love
"I Can Only"
(featuring Alessia Cara)
"La La" Laura Marano TBA
(featuring Kent Jones)
"Good Day"
"What You Do to Me" John Legend Darkness and Light
2017 "Issues" Julia Michaels Nervous System EP
"Back to Beautiful" Sofia Carson TBA
(featuring Future)
Maroon 5 TBA
"Believer" Imagine Dragons TBA
(featuring Kiiara)
Linkin Park One More Light
"Free to Fly" Betty Who The Valley
"Make You Memories"
"Forever" DNCE The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Tranter began his activism with the initiation of an annual AIDS benefit while attending high school at the Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts.[2] His advocacy continued while attending Berklee where he founded Musicians With a Mission, a scholarship fund for LGBT youth education.[3] In 2016, after flying to Orlando to help with the aftermath of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Tranter joined with frequent collaborator, Julia Michaels, and GLAAD CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis to find a way to make a larger contribution. Through Interscope Records, and joined by many talented artists and the music community, they brought about the release of the charity single "Hands" to raise funds for Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, GLAAD, and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.[10]

Design career[edit]

Jewelry was a natural outlet for Tranter's creative talent as experience with his mother's jewelry business led him to his early day job in a jewelry store after he moved to New York.[citation needed] Tranter's jewelry company, Fetty, grew out of necklaces he designed to sell as merchandise for the Semi Precious Weapons shows.[11] These rock-and-roll inspired pieces consist mostly of heart and weapon themed charm necklaces and earrings.

In 2008, he designed a limited-edition sneaker for DKNY.[12]

Television appearances[edit]

Tranter has appeared as a guest on the E! cable network show Chelsea Lately.[13] In December 2008, he also appeared as a coach on the MTV reality show MADE in which he helped a young girl transform into a "rock star".[14] Tranter appears in the diner in the music video for Telephone by Lady Gaga.[15]


  1. ^ TRANTER JUSTIN DREW. bmi.com
  2. ^ a b "17th Annual Academy AIDS Benefit.". Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Semi Precious Weapons on Apple Music". 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Inside Lady Gaga's Monster Ball". November 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ "How an Unlikely Duo Became the Hottest Songwriters in Pop Music". January 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2016. 
  7. ^ "This Rocker Has Been Writing All Of Your Favorite Pop Songs". November 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  8. ^ "'Sorry' Songwriter Justin Tranter Owns His Sexuality and the Pop Charts". Billboard. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  9. ^ "20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015". December 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Britney Spears, Pink, Selena Gomez Join 'Hands' for Orlando: How the All-Star Song Came to Life.". Retrieved July 6, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Semi Precious Weapons Official Bio". April 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  12. ^ Newman, Sabrina (February 7, 2008). "StyleHive Sneak Peek: Justin Tranter's Exclusive DKNY Sneaker Line". Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Guest Appearance on Chelsea Lately". November 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  14. ^ "MTV MADE: Rock Star. Season 9, Episode 30". December 6, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Telephone (Video)". November 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2015.