Q

Songwriter Justin Tranter on their journey from struggling glam rocker to hitmaker for the stars

Songwriter Justin Tranter just received the ACLU Bill of Rights Award for their LGBTQ activism. They're the first gender non-conforming honoree to receive the award.
Songwriter Justin Tranter just received the ACLU Bill of Rights Award for their LGBTQ activism. They're the first gender non-conforming honoree to receive the award, which in the past has been given to influential figures such as Ellen DeGeneres, Colin Kaepernick, Judd Apatow and more. (Getty Images)
Listen20:07

Justin Tranter is the songwriter behind some of the biggest pop songs of the past decade: Justin Bieber's Sorry, Believer by Imagine Dragons, DNCE's Cake by the Ocean and Selena Gomez's number one smash hit Lose You to Love Me.

As one of the most in-demand songwriters in Los Angeles right now, Tranter has also written for Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Cardi B and Christina Aguilera.

For years, Tranter fronted a glam-rock band called Semi Precious Weapons, but when it didn't catch on, they slid behind the scenes. Just as Tranter's presence as a songwriter got stronger, so did their commitment to LGBTQ advocacy. They just hosted a charity concert for GLAAD's anti-bullying program and, last month, they were the first gender non-conforming person to receive the ACLU Bill of Rights Award for their activism. 

Tranter joined q's Tom Power from a studio in Los Angeles to talk about their transformation from struggling glam rocker to in-demand songwriter, and how they're using their platform to promote LGBTQ activism and anti-bullying initiatives.


Download our podcast or click the 'Listen' link near the top of this page to hear the full conversation with Justin Tranter.

— Produced by ​Stuart Berman

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