Jay Brannan did pretty well for himself with his 2008 debut goddamned -- good reviews, high iTunes placement, that sort of thing.
But for his follow-up, the New York-based songwriter knew he needed to push himself further, and he knew just the man for the job: producer David Kahne, who has worked with Sublime, Paul McCartney and, especially for Brannan, the Regina Spektor album Begin to Hope. The Strokes. The only obstacle was making sure Kahne was aware that he was the perfect person for the job
"I made a list of dream producers, and David was at the top," he says. "I thought there was no way I'd even be able to reach him, but I basically stalked his management down online. I heard from David directly that night and we met to say hello, and had a good conversation. After that we agreed to do one song, and that led to another, then another...until we had a full album!"
Brannan credits Kahne with pushing him out of his comfort zone and making him think beyond the stripped-down acoustic guitar approach he had been favoring. "I've always been terrified of drums and percussion. For some reason those sounds have always freaked me out on my own music," he says. He admits that he likes that sort of thing in other people's songs, "so I wanted to walk into my fears a bit with this album, and David was the right person to help me do that."
The result of Kahne's prodding is Brannan's new album, Rob Me Blind, which will be out March 27 via Nettwerk. Brannan will premiere new songs at a Le Poisson Rouge performance on March 23. (Tickets are available here.) Until then, you can check out the video for "Beautifully" below, the storyline for which calls upon Brannan's acting experience. (He was in the 2006 indie Shortbus.)
"'Beautifully' is such a storytelling song that it lends itself to a narrative style video," he says. " I wanted to be an observer in the video, seeing the story unfold and sort of relating to it as a character in the background -- imagining that I was someone on the movie set who felt what the actress in the story was feeling, and would then go write about it later."