Indie artist brings fan-approved music to Philly

Out multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Brett Gleason is bringing his new fan-assisted and -approved music to town Dec. 4 at Kung Fu Necktie.

Gleason’s latest album, “Manifest,” was crowd-sourced by fans, from whom he also took artistic cues and suggestions for the songs on the albums throughout its creative process.

Gleason said that fan input inspired him to take the new album in a slightly different direction than previous releases.

“It helped me to change the production a lot,” he said. “On the first record, I used a lot of electronic components. I think a lot of people thought that it was something I was hiding behind. I layered a lot of things and I hid my voice. Most folks wanted me to strip down my sound and put my voice in the front, as opposed as hide it behind electronic elements. Another thing was, on my first record, I used a lot of complex arrangements and a lot of people saw that as something I was showing off with. That was interesting. I’d put a song out and folks would be more interested in a lyric than a time signature. So I’d get more into that lyric and take that in a different direction. It was interesting to see what folks were emotionally engaged by, as opposed to what I thought was cool musically as a musician.”

Gleason said he found the creative process for the current album appealing enough that he’s going to continue to seek out fan suggestions and support for future recordings.

“I’m trying to take it even further,” Gleason said about crowd sourcing. “It’s a monthly financial support system, but I look at it more like a creative and emotional support system and a way to get instant feedback on your work. I’m writing a bunch of new songs now and I’m hoping that it will be a process for inspiration and creative feedback as I write, as opposed to after I write.”

Gleason also took suggestions from his fans about his latest music video for the song “Expiration Date,” which, in a first for Gleason, features a same-sex romance as part of its storyline.

“I had heard for a long time that folks have wanted me to have some sort of gay romance or content in my videos,” Gleason said. “I’ve been an out artist from the beginning and, though I’ve spoken about it, none of the videos for my songs have had me with another guy or a gay storyline. So that’s something that folks have talked about a lot. The second they heard that song that had a romantic byline through it, that was the first thing they said: ‘Finally, an opportunity to have a gay storyline!’ From my perspective, the only reason I haven’t had any sort of gay romance in my video is that I haven’t previously written about love or romance. It wasn’t something I had written about.”

Brett Gleason performs 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St. For more information or tickets, call 215-291-4919 or visit or