Interview: Brandon Jenner EP ‘Short of Home’ Inspired by Legacy of Family and Friends

By DONNA BALANCIA

– Brandon Jenner is grateful for every moment, and this family man has made his feelings clear through his songwriting. His new EP Short of Home captures the gratitude this second-generation songwriter feels today.

Jenner has a famous name: He’s the son of Caitlyn Jenner and songwriter Linda Thompson. But he’s kept a low profile and quietly pursues the best that life has to offer not only for himself, but more importantly, for his young family.

“‘Fame and fortune’ was something that from a young age I realized doesn’t bring you any more happiness than you already have, and as a matter of fact, it can even make things darker,” Jenner said. “I focus on priorities for me. I don’t try to shy away, I just try to live my authentic life.” 

Jenner said the center of that authentic life revolves around his wife, Cayley, and his children who help him stay grounded and happy.

“I have a 5-year-old daughter and twin boys, which is exciting as can be,” he said. “They’re fraternal twins who couldn’t be more different. We chase them around all day, unless they’re sleeping.”

Brandon Jenner ‘Short of Home’

Jenner said the collection of songs on Short of Home have in some way been inspired by family and friends.

“Kids definitely change your outlook on life and in general,” he said. “I think everything I do I filter through whether or not it would be good for them, whether or not it honors them in the right way. That affects my music, the kind of music I make, what I write. And all my effort is making the world a better place for them, not necessarily for myself any more, so they have a lovely world to live in and hopefully they can achieve the happiness I’m achieving these days, which I’m grateful for.”

Jenner’s attitude is one of appreciation.

“I notice that with the people around me that with maturity comes appreciation for the little things,” he said. “That’s something I emulate and practice as I’ve grown up. Even a breath of air, the way it makes your body feel, the fact we’re functioning and alive and aware and concious … is a real blessing. It’s a blessing to be here.”

Life Experiences Shape Brandon Jenner EP

Short of Home, the new six-song EP, has some important themes that Jenner said transcend normal everyday life.

“One of the songs that’s most important to me is a song called ‘Life For Two,’ which I just finished a video for,” he said. “That is the only song on this record that someone asked me to write a song for them, for their experience. I’ve done it in the past, where I’ve used something someone has gone through in their life as inspiration to write a song. But I was approached by a woman in Denmark a couple of years ago and she told me about her experience that she would be leaving behind a couple of young kids because she was diagnosed with an illness. She wated me to write a song about her and for her kids because I was her favorite songwriter. I was honored and humbled that she would even ask. That’s a song that’s super important for me on this record.”

‘Life For Two’ by Brandon Jenner:

“‘Something About You’ is about my wife, the love and admiration I have for her and the gratitude I have for the universe putting us together,” Jenner said. “Short Of Home’ is a collection of songs written with a lot of heart and emotion.”

One of the favorites on the record is “Give It All You’ve Got,” and Jenner said that upbeat track was inspired by a former presidential hopeful.

“I was listening to a podcast (N.J. Sen.) Cory Booker was on,” Jenner said. “He was talking about how he was sitting on his couch, he was having a terrible day, he grabbed a Ben and Jerry’s out of the freezer and he sat down and before he put the spoon in the first bite, he set it down and was overwhelmed with ‘I have to do something’ to change what was going on that day. He got up and grabbed a tent and camped in the park for days and started a fast.”

In 1998, Booker won a seat on the Municipal Council of Newark. A year later, to draw attention to the problems of rampant crime, violence and drug dealing, he went on a 10-day hunger strike while living in a tent and then a motor home in the city. Booker’s efforts made the media pay attention to the issues.

“He said everybody in every single moment has so much more power and they’re capable of so much more than they give themselves credit for,” Jenner said. “We just have to be brave, we have to put ourselves out on a limb and speak our mind and if we’re able to do that, we can really make the changes in this world we want to make. That’s where that song came from. ‘Give It All You’ve Got,’ doesn’t mean run the race harder or lift more weights at the gym. It means be yourself to the core and honor that and express that to the world.”

Advice for Young Musicians

In a world that’s overpowered by technology and hype, what advice would Jenner give young musicians so they can stand out?

“Continue to the ask the question, ‘Do I have anything I really want to say?'” Jenner said. “Do I have a message that I feel so strongly and passionate about that I need people to hear it. My focus on what music is here for is to get a message across. You have a few minutes to say anything you want to say with a captive audience and that’s a powerful tool.”

As for Jenner’s plans for the next year? 

“Watching my kids grow up and make more music and hopefully my veggie garden continues to thrive,” he said. “Focus on my family, not just my kids but also my in-laws and mother and try to do things that make me smile. And try to, if I can, use music as a way to do it. But also I want to try to make people feel good in my life. I feel that when we’re gone, the only thing we leave behind is how we made people feel.”

Check out Short of Home on Spotify: