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Out Now: Brittany Ann Tranbaugh

Feb 15, 2024

Out Now: Brittany Ann Tranbaugh

Brittany Ann Tranbaugh is the first artist we’ve featured in Out Now that I have yet to meet. She runs in queer music circles, playing with many LGBTQ+ artists – including Liv Greene and Jobi Riccio, who were featured on this column last year, as well as other queer-identifying artists like Sadie Gustafson-Zook and Mya Byrne.

I’m very much looking forward to hearing Brittany live at our next Queerfest show, also featuring Liv Greene and Carmen Dianne, at Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge in Nashville on February 24 at 7 pm. Brittany writes with relatable lyrics, warm, inviting sounds, and sings with silky vocals.

Our Out Now conversation covers her upcoming touring plans, her favorite LGBTQ+ artists, and how she balances creativity and business as an independent artist.

What would a “perfect day” look like for you?

Sleeping in, but not too late (9 am is my ideal wake-up time), making a hearty homemade breakfast with a good podcast or record playing, walking my dog in the woods, taking a long shower, then playing a queer country night with my band and a bunch of friends, enjoying some excellent drinks and food together afterward.

Why do you create music? What’s more satisfying to you, the process or the outcome?

I think I’ve spent most of my creative life on the outcome-oriented side of the spectrum, but I’m learning to enjoy the process more. Having a band has taught me to love all of the steps of making a song, because they can evolve a lot when I bring them to the band. My bandmates make arranging and recording extra fun and satisfying. I’ve also begun to open myself up to co-writing, which is a process I enjoy deeply when it’s with the right people.

Do you create music primarily for yourself or for others?

I think above all else, I strive to create music I feel proud of, that effectively and artfully communicates my truth, that feels cathartic to sing and play. I’m incredibly lucky that a large enough number of other people resonate with it, to the point that I get to do it for a living and connect with wonderful folks all over the world.

Who are your favorite LGBTQ+ artists and bands?

Growing up, my favorite out queer artists were Brandi Carlile, Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls, Ani DiFranco, and Tegan and Sara. Lately I’m a huge fan of Adrianne Lenker/Big Thief, and honestly a lot of my favorite LGBTQ+ artists are people I consider friends, like Liv Greene and Jobi Riccio. Here’s a link to a Spotify playlist with my Queer Americana faves.

What are your release and touring plans for the next year?

I released an existential lullaby called “For Caroline” in January and in March I’ll be releasing a poignant short-story song called “Bushwick.” This winter I’m spending most of my time home, but doing a few weekend mini tours, going as far away as Nashville. I’ll be solidly on tour all spring and summer: April in the Northeast and New England with Blair Borax, May in the Midwest with Sadie Gustafson-Zook, June and early July on the West Coast with Joh Chase, mid-July in Germany and the UK, then back to the US for some festivals. I haven’t planned much for fall yet. Just leaving it open for magic.

As an independent artist, how do you find the balance between the creation of music and the business of managing, booking, and promoting your work?

It’s tough! I’m still figuring it out. I get easily wrapped up in all the business aspects of the job, because it takes a huge amount of that work just to pay my bills. I know that when I don’t nurture my curiosity and creativity, songwriting begins to feel tedious, then I avoid doing it, then my mental health declines. Recently I started two simple habits that have helped me access my creativity more easily: morning pages (3 pages of free-writing) after waking up and a phone-free bedtime and morning routine.

These habits let my “artist brain” wander, and allow songs to come easier. Another thing that’s been really helpful is scheduling retreats and/or residencies at least twice a year, where I get away and unplug from social media and just focus on songwriting and self care for at least a week. I did a communal retreat in a lake cottage with some songwriter friends last year that was life-changing, and I realized that retreats really work for me, so I made them a priority.

Like you mentioned, you’ve played shows and continue to play shows with other LGBTQ+ artists including Liv Greene, Sadie Gustafson-Zook, Jobi Riccio, and Mya Byrne, what has it been like for you to work with other queer-identifying artists?

I love playing with other queer artists! I definitely seek out fellow queer songwriters. I connected with all of the folks you mentioned on Instagram and now we’re friends in real life who tour and collaborate together. I’ve always been a deeply community-oriented artist. My favorite shows are the ones I play with friends. I think that the love and respect artists have for one another is palpable and sets the tone for everyone in the room. Here in Philly, I’ve been heavily involved with Baby’s First Rodeo Queer Country Night. We’ll be doing our third event in February. Those shows have been bliss for me: to see that many queer folks, who grew up listening to and loving country music, being so authentically themselves in a country music space makes me cry every time.

Photo courtesy of the artist.

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Out Now: Brittany Ann Tranbaugh
Out Now: Brittany Ann Tranbaugh