Musician Brandon Jenner photographed by fashion photographer Jim Jordan for James Magazine

Q: What’s your favorite childhood memory?
A: When I was in elementary school, I played flag football.  We would travel around to play against other teams and, one day, found ourselves on a field that we had never traveled to, playing a bunch of new faces for the first time. We won the coin toss and chose to receive. The kicker lofted the ball high into the air, and it came right to me. I caught the football just in front of our end zone and took off running down the right-hand side of the field.  Cutting through the players, I found myself in front of a defender that I couldn’t avoid. I faked left, hard faked to the right, and spun back to the left leaving him hopelessly too far away to pull my flag.  I ran the ball all the way back down the field for a touchdown.  Starting the game off with a touchdown was a real crowd pleaser and, among them, was my dad who saw the whole thing happen.  She was so impressed with my moves that later we went out into the street, at her request,  so that I could show her the move that I put on that lone defender.  I did the same move with even more gusto than I had on the field, wanting to impress my gold medal achieving father and it worked perfectly. Only this time, when I did my spin back to the left, I tripped over my own feet and crashed into the street burying pieces of asphalt deep into my palms.  I remember crying and feeling like an idiot.  I guess you could say that it was one of my best childhood memories mixed with one of my worst.  Still a very memorable one, none the less.

Q: Who and what inspired you to get into music and performing?
A: Music is something that I grew up with around me at all times. My mom is a lyricist and my stepfather, who lived with us since I was four years old, was a music producer. It would be easy to credit my parents as my biggest inspiration, but I should also give credit to all the other students in the dorm at UC Boulder who were also trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. With the broadened perspective of my new environment and friends, I was able to take a hard look at my life and what I wanted to achieve with it. I wanted to do something that would change people’s lives in a meaningful way, and, to me, there was only one choice: music.

Q: What instruments do you play?
A: Acoustic guitar is the instrument that feels most like home. It is such a wonderful tool for songwriting and easy to lug around for when inspiration hits. I do produce all of my own music however, so I would consider myself proficient at a lot of different instruments. Anything that makes noise, really.  I even use a few of my children’s toys to record with.

Q: What’s your favorite song right now?
A: I have three kids and we listen to a lot of Raffi. The one that is stuck in my head these days is ‘Down by the Bay’. It gives us the opportunity to make up our own rhymes such as, “Have you ever seen a horse suffer from remorse.” That is a dad favorite at the moment.

Q: How would you describe your sound of the music you create?
A: I think that’s one of the most challenging questions to answer for a musician. I try to create sound that speaks to me and when I go to record it, I don’t really try to emulate any specific style. I just do what I think is best for the song and hopefully it blossoms with its own unique stylistic fingerprint.

Q: If you could perform anywhere, where would it be?
A: Probably in my backyard but, logistically, it doesn’t make much sense.

Q: Where is the most memorable place you have performed?
A: The last time I was in Norway I played a show in Oslo that was sold out and they were people who couldn’t get in. The next day as the sun was setting, I decided to hold an impromptu concert in the harbor by the ocean. Those who weren’t’t able to make it into the show before came down and gathered around as I played through a bunch of my songs with my friend and guitar player, Mason Stoops. It is so nice to be face-to-face with people who listen to my music and know the words. Especially in a place so far away from where I call home. That afternoon was one of those moments that I will never forget. As the sun set on the harbor that evening, I would like to think that everyone who came down to the water’s edge felt a deep sense of love and gratitude for all of the beauty this planet and our existence has to offer.

Q: Would you say you’re more of an extrovert or an introvert?
A: I definitely bounce back-and-forth but, overall, I try to give myself the license to be more of an extrovert as I grow older. When I was younger, I was much more of an introvert, and often times I still am, but I think having kids has given me the bravery and even the duty to be my true self and to set a good example for my kids in hopes that they will be able to stand up for themselves and to be capable of speaking their minds, when necessary.

Q: What was the last TV show you binge-watched?
A: I don’t really binge watch too many TV shows. I prefer documentaries and shorter clips with lots of information packed into them.  Lately, I’ve been going through Vice’s content on YouTube.  I also watch a lot of things on aviation and cosmology. Oh, I guess the last thing I did watch in sort of a “binge” fashion was The Untold History of the United States of America by Oliver Stone.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I love to fly airplanes and helicopters. I’ve been flying since I was a teenager and am in awe of anything that flies. I’ve been getting in the air more lately as I recently became a plane owner for the first time in my life. A very small little plane, but it is a good start.

Q: Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been?
A: Every morning my daughter comes out of her room and finds me in the kitchen, I pick her up and she gives me a big hug.  Standing there, in her arms, is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and I get to go there every single morning.

Q: What is one of the happiest moments in your life?
A: They happen all of the time. I have these little moments while driving down the street or putting my kids to sleep or just sitting in the sun, when I become overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.  To me, happiness is actually something that we can practice.  I’m well aware of the fact that I could, so easily, just go through life without taking in the little moments.  I have spent plenty of time doing that.  I believe that in any given moment, the possibility of deep happiness lies somewhere within us.  We just need to sit still for a moment and allow ourselves to feel it.

Q: Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: I would say the things that I’m most proud of are some of the songs that I’ve been able to write that have helped others get through challenging times.  When I see something happen in the world that is painful or traumatic, I try to sit with what that must feel like for those experiencing it first-hand.  I do the best I can to imagine what they would want to say, and I write a song about it.  Those songs are the ones that have the most meaning to me and I feel like they give me the most purpose in this life. Outside of being a father, of course.

Q: What would you like the world to remember about you?
A: I strongly believe the only thing that we truly leave behind when we pass is the way that we made other people feel.  I even hope that in this moment, you feel loved by me for how incredible I think you are.  Our perspectives are as uniquely our own as are our fingerprints and, because of this, every one of us has so much to offer this world.  Please know that as you read this, you are likely far more powerful than you give yourself credit for.  We all are.  Share yourself and your love with the world.  It needs you.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve been given?
A: Someone once told me that the vast majority of people are good people, and to never be weighed down by the negative things that happen in life and get so much attention. Don’t just believe in yourself and your friends but believe in humanity as a whole. Always have the bravery to be good-natured and kind to others, no matter what.

Q: What would be the title of your memoir?
A: Ha! I have no idea.

Q: What advice do you have for kids who want to be musicians?
A: If you want to play an instrument, cut out all other distractions and spend time working on your craft.  If you want to be a songwriter, cut out all other distractions and spend time working on yourself.

Q: What cause or charity do you most identify with?
A: The more local the charity, the better.  Start with good deeds around your house, town and community.

Q: What is one message you would give to people who have lost their way?
A: I’m here to listen.  Send me a DM anytime.

Q: What is next for Brandon Jenner?
A: Hopefully more and more happiness.  I do also have a record coming out in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that :)
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