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Brett Michael Dennen (born October 28, 1979)[2][3][4][5] is an American folk/pop singer and songwriter from Central California. His sixth studio album, Por Favor, was released in May 2016.

Brett Dennen
Brett Dennen at Life is Good Festival, Canton, MA 2010.jpg
Brett Dennen live in concert
Background information
Birth nameBrett Michael Dennen[1]
Born (1979-10-28) October 28, 1979 (age 39)
OriginOakdale, California, United States
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active2004–present
LabelsDualtone, F-Stop, Three Angels and a Saint, Atlantic


Early lifeEdit

Dennen grew up in Central Valley, California in a small farm town.[6][7] As a child, Dennen was homeschooled,[8] where he was given creative free rein by his parents.[citation needed] His father was an avid pickler, which Dennen attributes to his own love for briney foods.[6] He spent much of his time learning to play music. After becoming proficient in the guitar, he started to write his own songs.[9]

Dennen attended Camp Jack Hazard,[citation needed] a residential summer camp, as a child.[10]His camp counselors played the music of Neil Young, John Denver, and Joni Mitchell, the same music that his parents listened to.[7] He idolized the counselors and, it was there in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, that he learned to play guitar.[7] As an adolescent, he worked there as a counselor.[10] He has continued to help the camp, performing at a fundraiser in February 2012 for the Jack and Buena Foundation, which now runs Camp Jack Hazard.[11] Brett's older sister and younger brother also attended the camp, and his mother has served on the board of directors of the Jack and Buena Foundation.

He attended Oakdale High School.[citation needed] He graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2002,[6] where he was a student at Kresge College.[citation needed] He majored in sociology and philosophy,[7] with goals of becoming an educator, a teacher, a community worker.[8] He also led numerous anti-smoking campaigns on campus, and was instrumental in removing ash trays from building entrances.[citation needed] It in college, however, that he began writing music with friends.[6] He eventually ended up in a jam band, playing mandolin alongside an acoustic guitarist, bassist, hand drummer, and flutist.[7] He found writing music that everyone would like, however, "stifling and overwhelming."[7]

After college, he says it took a year for him to figure out what he wanted to do, and in Santa Cruz, California.[7] After a couple of years, he moved to Los Angeles to perform.[6] In late 2003/early 2004 he started to make his first album,[6] which he self-released.[7] A year after the album's release, Universal signed on as a distributor.[7]


Dennen has been a part of The Mosaic Project, a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit organization, since its inception.

In 2004, Dennen released his debut, self-titled album, Brett Dennen on a boutique indie label, Three Angels and A Saint Records, produced by Dennen & Leslie Merical. Denzyl Feigelson (of iTunes) heard Brett perform songs from this debut live in Ojai, and got hold of a burned CD, which he put in the hands of influential KCRW DJ Chris Douridas. When Douridas debuted "Desert Sunrise" on his Valentine's Day show in 2004, the response was huge, which ultimately lead to Dennen's record deal with Dualtone Records.

His second album, So Much More, includes the singles "Ain't No Reason", "She's Mine" and "Darlin' Do Not Fear".

Dualtone Music Group signed Dennen in February 2006.[12]

Dennen also contributed a cover of "Private Life" to the 2006 tribute album Drink To Bones That Turn To Dust: A Toast To Oingo Boingo.

In an interview with American Songwriter magazine, Dennen acknowledged Paul Simon's significant influence on his music as well as commenting that Paul Simon's ""Graceland is my all time favorite album."[13]

Dennen opened for John Mayer on his tour in 2008.

In 2008, "Darlin' Do Not Fear," from So Much More, was featured in the award-winning, independent film Sherman's Way.

As The Mosaic Project's Resident Rock Star, Dennen created an original musical curriculum for the program which they released as an album called Children's Songs for Peace and a Better World in 2003. It won a Children's Music Web 2004 Award[14] and a Parent's Choice 2004 Approved Award.

Dennen was named by Rolling Stone magazine as an "Artist to Watch," and in 2008, Entertainment Weekly called him one of its eight "Guys on the Rise".[15] He has attended[vague] festivals such as the Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Lyons Folk Festival, and the Mile High Music Festival in Colorado.

In 2008, Dennen, along with Jason Mraz, contributed the song "Long Road to Forgiveness" to the Survival International charity album Songs for Survival. Earlier in the fall, Dennen toured Australia with Pete Murray. In late October, Hope for the Hopeless, Dennen's third album, was released. The song "Ain't Gonna Lose You" was featured on Grey's Anatomy and topped the iTunes folk charts. The record reached number 6 in the digital charts, and was followed by a successful mini-tour.

Dennen at Newport Folk Festival 2009

On August 1, 2009, Dennen performed at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island.[16]

On October 9, 2009, Dennen appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman.[citation needed] In 2010, Dennen played at the Oulipo Ballroom in Kentucky. He played a mixture of Paul Simon covers along with unreleased tracks from his upcoming album. His fourth album, Loverboy, was released on April 12, 2011. In 2009, Dennen's song "She's Mine" was featured on the soundtrack for the movie According to Greta; in 2010, Dennen's song "Darlin' Do Not Fear" was featured on the soundtrack for the TV show Parenthood.

Dennen's fifth album, Smoke and Mirrors was released on October 22, 2013, along with its first single, "Wild Child." On October 24, "Sweet Persuasion" was featured on the TV show Parenthood. The songs "When We Were Young" and "Hard Times Come Again No More" were also used on other episodes of the drama.

"Comeback Kid (That's My Dog)" is the theme song on the NBC comedy About A Boy. The song was also used in the series finale of Wizards of Waverly Place.

On March 13, 2014, he appeared on episode 67 of Live From Daryl's House,[17] performing "Only Want You", "Wild Child", "Right As Rain", "When We Were Young", "What's Gunna Happen To Us", and "Don't Mess With Karma" with Daryl Hall and his house band.

In 2016, Dennen released his sixth studio album, Por Favor.

In January 2018, Dennen released a new single, "Already Gone." That same year, he released two EPs "simply to change it up."[10] The EP Here's Looking At You Kid?, a song that he says is about "life," was originally inspired by his loyal fans over the years, but began to include his personal speculation about what fatherhood might be like.[10]


Music alone inspires. That's what I believe. It makes you feel. Feelings are powerful, they move people. — Dennen in a September 2018 interview[10]

Dennen counts "great songwriters" like Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, and Van Morrison among his biggest influences.[10] Among his favorite albums are Paul Simon's Graceland, Tom Petty's Wildflowers, Van Morrison's Veedon Fleece, the first Crosby Stills and Nash album, and Cat Stevens' albums Buddha and the Chocolate Box.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Dennen is a wine aficionado and is a fan of Qupe and Au Bon Climat.[10] He is 6'5".[18]

Public imageEdit

In a 2007 article in Maverick magazine, Alan Cackett bemoaned the number of artists who imitate Bob Dylan, Rick Springfield, and Paul Simon, he said of Dennen "once in blue moon, a genuinely original singer-songwriter emerges on the scene with a distinctive sound and style of their very own."[7] Including Dennen on its September 2007 list of "Tunesmiths to Watch," Entertainment Weekly said Dennen sounds like "Early Paul Simon/Tracy Chapman: folky, lyrical, melodic" and concluded that he is a "big talent with a young face and an old soul."[19]



Studio albumsEdit

Live albums and EPsEdit

  • Peace EP (2006)
  • (More) So Much More (2007)
  • Live Sessions EP (iTunes exclusive) (2009)
  • Let's... (2018)
  • "Here's Looking At You Kid" (2018)


  • "Ain't No Reason" (2006)
  • "She's Mine" (2007) #26 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Make You Crazy" ft. Femi Kuti (2008) #5 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Heaven" ft. Natalie Merchant (2009)
  • "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" (2011) #17 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Comeback Kid (That's My Dog)" (2011) #8 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Wild Child" (2013) #5 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Out of My Head" (2014)[21]
  • "When We Were Young" (2014) #25 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Cassidy" (2016) #30 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Already Gone" (2018) #3 Adult Alternative Songs[20]
  • "Here's Looking at You Kid" (2018) #17 Adult Alternative Songs[20]

Other contributionsEdit


  1. ^ "California Births, 1905 – 1995". October 28, 1979. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  2. ^ Harris, Lauren (March 3, 2007). "The User's Guide: Brett Dennen". VH1. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
  3. ^ "Brett Dennen – Free listening, concerts, stats, & pictures at". Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Brett Dennen". Rhapsody. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Brett Dennen Biography". October 28, 1969. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Schorn, Chris (August 30, 2018). "Brett Dennen Talks Music, Paul Simon, & Giant Pickles [Interview]". Music In Minnesota. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Cackett, Alan (August 2007). "Just a singer-songwriter?". Maverick (61): 43–45.
  8. ^ a b Richardson, Derk (November 30, 2006). "On his latest CD, 'So Much More,' singer/songwriter Brett Dennen proves himself a wise, if baby-faced, bard". SFGate. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "Dennen, Brett". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Horrigan, Rebecca (September 14, 2018). "An Interview with Brett Dennen". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  11. ^ Brown, Patrick. "Bay Area nonprofit fights to keep camp alive". Bay Area News Group. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
  12. ^ Stark, Phyllis (February 11, 2006). "DUALTONE SIGNS DENNEN". Billboard. 118 (6): 75. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  13. ^ Evan Schlansky (June 4, 2012). "Watch Brett Dennen Perform "Crazy Love, Vol. II" Off Paul Simon's Graceland". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on June 5, 2012. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  14. ^ "Announcing The Children's Music Web Awards 2004 Winners". Archived from the original on May 19, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  15. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (May 21, 2008). "Guys on the Rise: 8 Emerging Singer-Songwriters". Entertainment Weekly.
  16. ^ "Brett Dennen: Newport Folk Festival 2009". Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  17. ^ "Episode 67: Brett Dennen :: Live From Daryl's House with Daryl Hall :: Current Episode". Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  18. ^ Schlanger, Talia (April 4, 2018). "Brett Dennen On World Cafe". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  19. ^ Greenblott, Leah (September 14, 2007). "TUNESMITHS TO WATCH". Entertainment Weekly (953/954): 148.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Brett Dennen Chart History: Triple A". Billboard. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on June 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "First Listen: 'Gazing With Tranquility – A Tribute To Donovan'". NPR. Archived from the original on October 15, 2015.

External linksEdit