Justin Tranter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Justin Tranter
Justin Tranter 2009 Tribeca portrait.jpg
Tranter at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Justin Drew Tranter

(1980-06-16) June 16, 1980 (age 41)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • activist
Years active2002–present
Musical career
OriginLake Zurich, Illinois, U.S.

Justin Drew Tranter (born June 16, 1980) is an American singer, songwriter and activist. Frequently co-writing with Julia Michaels, Tranter has written songs for artists such as Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Linkin Park, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, DNCE, Kesha, Imagine Dragons, Fifth Harmony, 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Bea Miller, Demi Lovato, Dua Lipa, Måneskin, and Fall Out Boy. From 2004 to 2014, Tranter was the lead singer of Semi Precious Weapons, a rock band based in New York. Since February 2017, they have been a board member of GLAAD, an organization that promotes LGBT acceptance in the entertainment and news industries.

Early life[edit]

Justin Drew Tranter was born and grew up in Hawthorn Woods. They have three older brothers.[1] Tranter says that they experienced bullying during their youth,[2] which caused them to be transferred from the Lake Zurich public high school to the Chicago Academy for the Arts after a semester.[1][3] While studying musical theater at the Academy, they started the AIDS Benefit, an annual show run by students to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.[3][4] Tranter graduated in 1998.[4] Following this, they studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Along with songwriting, they also took classes in business management.[5] While at Berklee, they founded Musicians with a Mission, a scholarship fund for LGBT youth education.[5]

Musical career[edit]

2002–2004: Career beginnings[edit]

Tranter released their debut studio album Scratched in 2002 and followed it up with their second studio album Tear Me Together in 2004.[5]

2004–2014: Semi Precious Weapons[edit]

Semi Precious Weapons performing with Lady Gaga at Lollapalooza 2010

In 2004, following the release of Tear Me Together, Tranter formed the band Semi Precious Weapons in New York with fellow Berklee graduates Cole Whittle, Dan Crean, and Aaron Lee Tasjan;[5] Tasjan was later replaced by Stevy Pyne.[6] The band's debut studio album We Love You was released in 2008 and the band subsequently opened for Lady Gaga on her Monster Ball Tour from 2009 to 2011.[7] Semi Precious Weapons released two more albums, You Love You (2010) and Aviation (2014), before disbanding in 2014.[8] While still part of Semi Precious Weapons, Tranter moved to Los Angeles and signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music in 2012 to write songs for other artists.[6]

2014–present: Focus on songwriting[edit]

After signing with Warner Chappell, Tranter began working with artists such as Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Hailee Steinfeld, Fifth Harmony, and Fall Out Boy.[9] In December 2015, Tranter was named one of the "20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015" by Rolling Stone for their songwriting contributions to the pop charts of that year.[10] Tranter frequently collaborates with Julia Michaels and multiple songs co-written by the pair have appeared on Billboard charts; two such tracks, Gomez's "Good for You" and Bieber's "Sorry", topped the Mainstream Top 40.[11] Tranter and Michaels also teamed up to co-write Gwen Stefani's third solo studio album This Is What the Truth Feels Like (2016).[12] Tranter has since written for artists ranging from Britney Spears and Demi Lovato to Imagine Dragons and Linkin Park.[1][13]


Tranter performing at the 2018 edition of LoveLoud, a fundraising festival for LGBT youth[14]

Tranter's activism began in high school at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, where they created the annual AIDS Benefit to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS.[3][4] This was followed by Musicians with a Mission, a scholarship fund for LGBT youth education that Tranter founded while attending the Berklee College of Music.[5]

Tranter flew to Orlando to help in the aftermath of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.[6] They also co-wrote and co-organized the release of the charity single "Hands" to raise funds for Equality Florida's Pulse Victims Fund, GLAAD, and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.[15]

In February 2017, Tranter joined GLAAD's National Board of Directors.[16] During the GLAAD Media Awards of that year, Tranter raised $123,000 for the organization by auctioning off four individual songwriting and recording sessions.[17]

Tranter is also a supporter of Mercy for Animals and stopped eating meat in 1994.[2]

On November 17, 2019, Tranter was honored with the ACLU of Southern California's Bill of Rights Award for their activist work as "an outspoken and powerful voice for the LGBTQIA+ community, diversity, the climate crisis, arts education, animal rights, and ending gun violence".[18]

Personal life[edit]

Tranter identifies as gender non-conforming[19] and non-binary.[20] They have stated that, with regards to pronouns, "they/them/theirs is what I relate to the most".[19] They are bisexual.[21]

Other ventures[edit]

Tranter's jewelry company, Fetty, grew out of necklaces they designed to sell as merchandise for the Semi Precious Weapons shows. Fetty sold at retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Barneys.[22] The designs typically feature hearts and weapons.[22] In 2008, Tranter designed a limited-edition sneaker for DKNY.[23]

Television and film appearances[edit]

Tranter has appeared as a guest on the E! cable network show Chelsea Lately.[24][better source needed] In December 2008, they also appeared as a coach on the MTV reality show Made, in which they helped a young girl transform into a "rock star".[25] In 2010, Tranter had a cameo appearance as a person at a diner in the music video for "Telephone" by Lady Gaga.[26][better source needed] In 2012, they were interviewed for the documentary feature film Jobriath A.D. about rock musician Jobriath.[27]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Work Category Result Ref.
2003 Outmusic Awards "Blend In" Out Song of the Year Won
2017 BMI Pop Awards Themself Pop Songwriter of the Year Won
2018 Golden Globe Awards "Home" Best Original Song Nominated
2018 Grammy Awards "Issues" Song of the Year Nominated



  • Scratched (2002)
  • Tear Me Together (2004)

Semi Precious Weapons[edit]

Featured appearances[edit]

Year Title Album
2013 "Endwell"
(Bleu featuring Justin Tranter and Mike Taylor)
To Hell with You
2015 "Our World"
(Shapov featuring Justin Tranter)
Axtone Ten
2016 "Tied to You"
(The Knocks featuring Justin Tranter)

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Album
"Forever" 2017 The Lego Batman Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


  1. ^ a b c Barlow, Eve (June 24, 2021). "Justin Tranter: the Hits Pride Special Interview". Hits Daily Double. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Martins, Chris (October 2, 2018). "School of Pop: How Justin Tranter Became the Man Behind (Almost) Every Song You Love". Playboy. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Justin Tranter". Chicago Academy for the Arts. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c "17th Annual Academy AIDS Benefit". Email Campaign Archive from the Chicago Academy for the Arts. 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e j. poet; Rovi. "Semi Precious Weapons on Apple Music". Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Justin Tranter (Los Angeles, CA) (February 2017-Present)". GLAAD. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  7. ^ Browne, David (August 5, 2010). "Inside Lady Gaga's Monster Ball, Summer's Biggest Tour". Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Michelson, Noah (January 24, 2018). "Pop Hitmaker Justin Tranter Is Taking No Prisoners On His Rise To The Top". HuffPost. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  9. ^ Garibaldi, Christina (November 4, 2015). "This Rocker Has Been Writing All Of Your Favorite Pop Songs". MTV. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Edwards, Gavin; Harris, Keith; Spanos, Brittany (December 28, 2015). "20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  11. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (July 8, 2014). "How an Unlikely Duo Became the Hottest Songwriters in Pop Music". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 4, 2021. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  12. ^ Feeney, Nolan (March 18, 2016). "Gwen Stefani: How Making My New Album Saved My Life". Time. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  13. ^ Daly, Rhian (August 8, 2017). "Julia Michaels says she has a 'hard time listening to' the song she co-wrote with Linkin Park". NME. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Gil (April 2, 2018). "Imagine Dragons' Dan Reynolds' LoveLoud Festival 2018 Lineup: Zedd, Mike Shinoda, Grace VanderWaal & More". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  15. ^ Wilker, Deborah (July 6, 2016). "Britney Spears, Pink, Selena Gomez Join 'Hands' for Orlando: How the All-Star Song Came to Life". Billboard. Archived from the original on July 7, 2016. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  16. ^ Frankel, Jillian (February 10, 2017). "Hitmaker Justin Tranter Joins GLAAD's National Board of Directors: 'I'm Using the Success I've Had to Help Other People Shine'". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  17. ^ Crowley, Patrick (May 17, 2017). "GLAAD Media Awards: Songwriter Justin Tranter Raises $123K With Auction for Studio Sessions". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  18. ^ Daw, Stephen (November 18, 2019). "Justin Tranter Celebrates ACLU Award Win With Pal Selena Gomez: See the Sweet Post". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Masters, Jeffrey (January 21, 2020). "Songwriter Justin Tranter: "My Femininity Is So Important To Me"". The Advocate. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  20. ^ Aswad, Jem (June 2, 2021). "Hitmaker Justin Tranter on LGBTQ Advocacy, Allyship: 'Without Marginalized People, Music Is Gonna Get Really Bad'". Variety. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  21. ^ Nunn, Jerry (April 21, 2010). "Semi Precious Weapons' Justin Tranter on Gaga, Chicago". Windy City Times. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  22. ^ a b US (April 21, 2009). "Fetty's Pricey Line Gets Drastically Cheaper For Urban Outfitters". Refinery29. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  23. ^ Newman, Sabrina (February 7, 2008). "StyleHive Sneak Peek: Justin Tranter's Exclusive DKNY Sneaker Line". StyleHive. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  24. ^ "Guest Appearance on Chelsea Lately". November 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  25. ^ "MTV MADE: Rock Star. Season 9, Episode 30". MTV. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  26. ^ "Telephone (Video)". November 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  27. ^ Hiler, James (November 25, 2013). "'Jobriath A.D.,' Documentary on 'The True Fairy of Rock and Roll,' Acquired by Factory 25". Indie Wire. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  28. ^ Doyle, JD. "Outmusic Awards Data". Queer Music Heritage. Retrieved December 24, 2021.
  29. ^ "Warner/Chappell Named Music Publisher of the Year at BMI Pop Awards". Music Business Worldwide. May 10, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017. We're so proud of Justin Tranter and Ross Golan, who won 2017 Songwriter of the Year, and all of our winners tonight.
  30. ^ "Justin Drew Tranter". Grammy.com. The Recording Academy. November 23, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2020.

External links[edit]