bio

Folk/Rock singer/songwriter and recording artist James Brant creates insightful compositions that become windows into the deeper emotional experiences of our lives. While striving to authentically capture the complexity of our journey, James offers solace to listeners with his unassuming yet relevant style.

James grew up in Johnstown, an old steel town nestled in the foggy mountains of Western Pennsylvania. Once bustling with culture and industry, Johnstown experienced a decline as the steel mills began closing down in the early 1980s. As a child, James was inherently aware of this evolution – and the challenge it presented to the character and spirit of his hometown.

Through this, the Brant family remained passionate creators and supporters of local arts and music. James grew up playing his father’s rustic piano – his gateway into the musical world. With the piano as his foundation, James began guitar lessons downtown with Bob Bretz. He took lessons for about a year allowing him enough time to learn the basics. He quickly absorbed the basics and formulated his own signature style without much further outside influence.

As a teenager, James would walk to his neighbor’s house to play music with friends who shared similar interests in music which included mostly classic rock, specifically Bob Dylan and the Beatles. They recorded mini “jam” sessions with voice, guitar, bass, and drums. These early musical collaborations developed James’ approach to music – casual yet authentic, laid back yet passionate. Music became the path for this introverted teenager to build lifelong friendships.

In 1991, when the Brant family moved east to Chester County Pennsylvania, music was James’ key to feeling at home and building new friendships.

After high school, James briefly studied Music at the University of New Hampshire. Being mostly self-taught, this experience was too structured and without room for creativity. He dropped this major after only a few weeks and started out again, on his own path, moving back to Chester County as soon as the first semester was over. He studied Computer Science and Psychology at West Chester University.

“I remember sitting in my first music theory class and wondering – ‘what did I get myself into?’.  My understanding of music theory was, and still is, very limited.  At the college level I was expected to already have this foundation which I didn’t.  I dropped that major within the first few weeks and started to try and figure out what to do with myself.”

With the formal training in computer software as a foundation, James continued to develop his interest and skills in digital media and recording. In recent years, James’ interest in sound technology has grown. He experiments and hones his skills in his home recording studio, ‘Sweaty Dog Studios’.

The comradery of being part of a band and performing locally always appealed to James. He has been an active member of three established Philadelphia area bands: Casual Freedom (1999-2001), Transient(2003-2006), and Couple Days (2011 – present).

Transient was the best known of these bands; they played on some of the larger stages in the Philadelphia area including the TLA, and a main stage at Musikfest in 2005.

Currently, James writes, arranges, and records his music in short spurts throughout the day as he helps to care for his family – two little boys – James and Ethan.

Although guitar is his primary instrument, James plays many others including the piano, bass, mandolin, and drums.

His debut solo album, ‘Strange by Design’, will be available on June 02, 2015. He sings and plays all instruments on the album which he recorded and engineered himself at ‘Sweaty Dog Studios’. With this release he hopes to extend his musical reach and expose a new audience to his music and journey in life so far.

“A solo album is something that I have wanted to do for literally over 10 years.  All of the pieces never seemed to fit together at the right time so the project was always pushed aside.  Throughout the years I kept my creative side satisfied by being involved in other music related projects.  The most recent time the idea popped back into my head it felt like the right time.”

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