Brandon Jenner Talks Co-Parenting, Reveals His Kids Are 'Always Asking for Dada's Songs'

·6 min read
Brandon Jenner new music
Brandon Jenner new music

Magdalena Wosinska Brandon Jenner

Brandon Jenner pours his heart and soul into everything, from his family to his music.

On Friday, the artist released his latest EP, Oversized Soul, a timeless collection of alt-pop bops (the Fitz and the Tantrums-esque "Vibrations") to country-tinged rock ("Till the Day We Die").

"This is just the next step in my journey to be able to try to express myself purely without worrying about what people would think about it or allowing my own fears or worries about other people's opinions get in the way," says Jenner, 42, whose parents are songwriter Linda Thompson and Olympic gold medalist Caitlyn Jenner.

Ahead of the EP's release, Jenner opened up to PEOPLE about his latest project — and how fatherhood and his children (daughter Eva, 7, with ex Leah James, and 2-year-old twins Bo and Sam with wife Cayley Stoker) informed his new music.

What vibe were you going for this time around?

Doing songs that are acoustic-based and singer-songwriter in nature and kind of folky — with a very sweet and thoughtful lyric — is kind of my bread and butter. We all have this spectrum of emotions that we go through, and I think my music tends to be a reflection of that. I don't really stick into just one style of music because I'm not just continuously depressive or continuously happy. I'm kind of all over the map emotionally, and so I end up just making music that reflects that.

Are your kids your biggest fans? Do you play things for them as a sort of litmus test?

We'll be driving in the car, or they do this with their mom more often — she says they're always asking for Dada's songs. But they have certain ones that they like more than others. I think that kids, they really like upbeat stuff, things are kind of simple. So they've really liked "Vibrations." I mean, that's been a song that they've really dug. I wrote that song while I was trying to explain the word "vibrations" to her. I just was trying to explain something to my daughter and used music as a way to do it. I'm not trying to think, "Oh, I want to write a hit", or, "I want to write something", or, "I want people to like this." None of that stuff ever crossed my mind. It was just this pure expression of what makes me feel happy and pure, and, "What's a little ditty that goes with that?"

So they influence my music in a great way. And the purity that they operate with is something that definitely affects my life and influences my life. I'm always working on music with them. I'm always doing fun stuff with them musically. They affect every aspect of my life.

The twins turned 2 earlier this year. How's that going?

They're sweet, they're kind, they hug each other, they love each other, they love their parents, they love their big sister. They're polite. They're learning how to use the potty really well right now. We're just in the thick of it. We really are. It's the opposite of terrible though. It's wonderful, and it's beautiful, and it's challenging, but I think that's what parenthood does — it just opens up your ability to be happier and more joyous than you've ever been in your life, but it also opens up the potential that you're going to face the biggest difficulties that you've ever in your life.

You and Leah divorced in 2019, but you seem to be co-parenting well together. How do you manage that?

I really give both Cayley, my wife, and Leah a lot of credit for stepping up and putting the kids first always. I can do the best I can to be consistent and kind and loving, and all that stuff, but really they deserve a lot of credit, all the credit, really, for making sure that we have one big happy family. So far, we've been able to do it really well. It doesn't mean that it's perfect. I don't want people to ever think that the way other people do things is better than the way they're doing it. We just do the best we can. We all make mistakes, but we've all been really good at correcting them and always making sure that the kids come first. And we just feel really lucky.

I mean, I feel so fortunate that my kids get to have siblings that they're growing up with. I mean, the relationship that my little boys have with their sister is just so wonderful. So wonderful, secure and loving and thoughtful. And they care for each other.

I just encourage anybody that's going through co-parenting stuff to just do the best they can to always try to look at the situation through the eyes of the children and put the kids first. And if you do that, then I think everybody will show up in the best way possible.

You married Cayley in 2020, and "Till the Day We Die" is inspired by your relationship. How did you open yourself up to love again after a split?

It's just kind of who I am. I mean, I think I'm kind of a romantic, and I really value being in a relationship. I always have. I mean, I've always been in long-term relationships growing up and stuff. It's something that I really value because I think that they get better over time.

The amount that you're able to just feel seen and loved for exactly who you are by another person is fantastic. The safety that it provides is amazing. So I always knew that that's what would happen at some point for me, but when it's right, it's right. And with Cayley, I just knew right away. Things were just so easy and we got along so well. When we walked into each other's lives in the way that we did, we just knew from the very beginning that this was really right and something that we wanted to explore.

Brandon Jenner new music
Brandon Jenner new music

Magdalena Wosinska Brandon Jenner

I couldn't be more grateful that I've found this life that I have right now with these three amazing kids and wife that I adore, totally look up to, and that we have complementary strengths, and that we're all able to get along in the way that we are. It's really a beautiful thing. I'm very, very ridiculously grateful and happy.