Malibu Gives Warm Reception to Native Son Brandon Jenner

Brandon Jenner

Malibu gave a warm reception to native son Brandon Jenner, who performed to a packed lawn at Trancas Market for the Vintage Grocers Summer Concert Series on Aug. 6. It was a homecoming for the singer/songwriter who just wrapped up an East Coast tour promoting his latest album, “Short of Home.”

Malibu has always been home to Jenner, the son of actress Linda Thompson and Olympian (and current gubernatorial candidate) Caitlyn Jenner. Family, he said, “is as important to me as my music.”

Of course, Jenner has other famous relatives including step-sister Kardashians and half-sister Jenners. And the fame attached to having a well-known last name can create baggage or expectations that the 40-year-old performer would like to clear up. 

“For people who haven’t heard my music yet, who’ve maybe just seen my name and then maybe come to listen with preconceived ideas—my music, I’ve been making for a long time,” Jenner said. “I do the best I can to make music from the heart. I expend a lot of emotion when I write and record. I hope that comes through and I hope people will find some kind of solace in my words and melodies.” 

The melodies are often inspired by his family. “Short of Home” features the song “Something About You,” which Jenner penned for his wife. He has also written about his six-year-old daughter, but said he has yet to write about his toddler twin boys who, at 18 months old, are keeping him too busy. At the time of his interview with The Malibu Times, the musical artist was their sole caregiver; Jenner’s wife was on her first overnight away from the boys since their birth.

When asked if he studied music in school, the Malibu High School graduate said no—“I was studying snowboarding and motocross.” However, Jenner said he has always been around music; he really learned a lot at stepfather David Foster’s side. 

“He’s a wonderful guy and an incredible music producer,” Jenner said. “I used to spend a lot of time hanging out in his studio.”

Now that Jenner has been performing as a solo artist for the last five years, he is taking on all those studio roles. 

“I don’t really outsource anything when it comes to making music. I write it myself, record it myself, engineer and produce, mix and master it—pretty much everything. So, it can take a little extra time, but it’s the way I like doing it,” he said. “Every creative decision falls on me and I would hope that the end result is something very authentically my voice.”

“It’s hard to put a stylistic label on what I do,” he continued. “I’m trying to write music that will help people to process their own emotions to help get through [tough] times in their life.” 

One poignant song on the record, called “Life for Two,” was inspired by a woman who came up to Jenner after a show in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. After the fan complimented him, she asked a very special favor. Jenner recalled the woman asking, “I’d like you to write a song about me because I got diagnosed with cancer. I’m not going to be around in a couple of years and I’m leaving behind two kids.” 

“As challenging as the pandemic has been, it’s more individual, personal stories that I like to write about,” the musician shared. “The weight of what that woman was going through—it was shared directly with me—not to diminish or dilute the pain suffered by losing a loved one due to COVID, [but] to me that woman’s story was a very powerful thing. Those are the things that inspire me to make music.”

And the music is joyous, too. That joy was felt during the concert earlier this month.

“It’s a treat to be able to play for my local crowd,” Jenner said. “We don’t have anywhere to play anymore. There’s nowhere to do live music. I grew up playing music in Malibu so to be able to do that now at this stage in my life and career is fantastic. It really means a lot to me. I love our community and I’m happy we got to celebrate together.

“We have a unique hometown,” he continued. “Seeing people I grew up with is an awesome experience. I love seeing familiar faces. Playing in my hometown is its own energy. On the road, you see new people and that’s fantastic, but to see old faces—people you’ve known your whole life growing up—for them to be able to hear what I’ve worked on so hard for the past couple decades is its own treat.”