Spotify kicks off Secret Genius video series spotlighting songwriters with Justin Tranter episode

Digital music service Spotify has launched Secret Genius: The Series to shine a spotlight on the unsung voices behind today’s biggest hits. Each episode, available in the service's new audio-visual Spotlight format, will feature one songwriter revealing the creative process behind one of their hottest songs, recorded and made famous by another artist. At the climax of each episode, the featured songwriter will put their own unique spin on the chart topping tune they penned.

Kicking off the series is a moving episode featuring Justin Tranter, an out pop-songwriting powerhouse and GLAAD board member behind hits like “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy, "Believer" by Imagine Dragons, and “Good for You” and "Hands to Myself" by Selena Gomez.

In the episode, Tranter talks about growing up facing bullying and the outright discrimination he received at the hands of his school’s administration. For his breakout hit “Centuries,” Tranter says he drew inspiration from the legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson, who he calls the “godmother of the movement" and whose legacy the songwriter sought to enshrine via the Fall Out Boy hit that eventually became the theme song for ESPN's college football season. 

Check out the episode on your mobile device now!

This is the latest example of Spotify using its huge global platforms to spotlight LGBTQ issues and out music artists. Last year, the digital music service launched its Pride hub and worked with GLAAD to create a Spirit Day playlist.

Other featured songwriters in Secret Genius: The Series include another out artist, country music star Shane McAnally ("Follow Your Arrow," Kacey Musgraves), as well as Poo Bear ("What Do You Mean?", Justin Bieber), RuthAnne ("In the Name of Love," Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha), Savan Kotecha ("What Makes You Beautiful," One Direction), Priscilla Renea ("Timber," Pitbull and Kesha), Hit-Boy ("Backseat Freestyle," Kendrick Lamar), Dave Bassett ("Fight Song," Rachel Platten), Ali Tamposi ("It Ain’t Me," Kygo and Selena Gomez) and Ricky Reed ("NO," Meghan Trainor).

A recognized and respected songwriter, Tranter recently received a Golden Globe nomination for writing “Home” (performed by Nick Jonas for the animated movie Ferdinand) and a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year for co-writing Julia Michaels' “Issues.” He was named one of Rolling Stone's "20 Biggest Breakouts of 2015" for his songwriting contributions to that calendar year's pop charts.

At every step of his continued rise to the top, Tranter has not shied away from speaking out about LGBTQ inclusion in the industry. Accepting his Songwriter of the Year award at the 65th Annual BMI Pop Awards, Tranter made a call for inclusion of LGBTQ people and women of color in writing rooms. On red carpets for high-profile events like the Grammy and Golden Globes, Tranter is donning the '&' pin and spreading the message to millions about the symbol for the GLAAD-launched Together Movement, which represents the power of the voices of marginalized communities uniting and standing together. 

In addition to pushing for LGBTQ inclusion in the industry, he is outspoken about the music business' role in accelerating LGBTQ acceptance and equality. In 2017, he released a compelling video urging more LGBTQ visibility in music and highlighting its importance for trans people -- who too often do not see themselves reflected in media – as part of Transgender Awareness Week. The video, released by GLAAD, featured RuPaul, McAnally, and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.

That same year, he also hosted a Spirit Day concert with performances by Courtney Love and Adam Lambert to raise funds in support of LGBTQ youth. Among the special guests were Carly Rae Jepsen, JoJo, Haliee Steinfeld, Gigi Gorgeous, Chris Colfer, Tinashe, Betty Who, and Darren Criss.

In 2016, Tranter along with Julia Michaels and Blood Pop co-wrote GLAAD's song “Hands,” released with Interscope Records to remember the 49 lives taken in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. The musical tribute to the victims of Orlando, featuring over 20 artists including Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears, and Adam Lambert, benefited Equality Florida, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida and GLAAD.

Watch Justin Tranter's episode now on your mobile device and stay tuned for an upcoming episode featuring out country songwriter Shane McAnally!