ABOUT FATHER JOHN MISTY
Father John Misty was born Joshua Michael Tillman in Rockville, Maryland, and grew up in a strict Evangelical Christian household. A musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer, his experience of secular music was extremely limited until the age of 17 when his parents allowed him to listen to Bob Dylan records and music that had a "spiritual theme". Tillman learned to play drums at a young age and began learning guitar at age 12.
2004-2012: Early career and Fleet Foxes
When he was 21, Tillman moved to Seattle from New York City, having attended Nyack College for a year. He began recording music at night before his 4.30 am shift at the local bakery began. One of his demos ended up in the hands of Seattle singer and songwriter Damien Jurado, who then invited Tillman to open for him on tour a year later. Whilst on the tour, he sold copies of the album I Will Return, which he had burned on CD-R. He also befriended Eric Fisher, who produced Long May You Run, another CD-R album. Both albums were later released on Keep Recordings. Not long after, he joined Jurado again, this time as a support act for Richard Buckner.
Tillman was signed to independent label Fargo Records in 2006, who distributed his album Minor Works, and also reissued I Will Return and Long May You Run as a two-disc set that year. The following year, Yer Bird Records released his fourth album, Cancer and Delirium.
In 2009, he made a deal with Western Vinyl, with whom he released two albums that year: Vacilando Territory Blues and Year in the Kingdom. In 2010 he released the album Singing Ax.
In 2008, Tillman joined Seattle folk-rock band Fleet Foxes as their drummer. He performed with the band until 2012 when he left following their tour to promote their album Helplessness Blues.
2012-2014: Father John Misty stage name and Fear Fun
Tillman relocated to Los Angeles after leaving Fleet Foxes and signed to Sub Pop. Having previously released music under the name J. Tillman, he chose the stage name Father John Misty, partly to mark a change in musical direction having found himself dissatisfied with the music he had previously released. Fear Fun, the first album under his new moniker, was released on May 1, 2012. It was preceded by a video for the song "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" starring Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza.
As Father John Misty, Tillman was featured on the track "Young Lady" from Kid Cudi’s 2013 album Indicud. He also wrote the soundtrack for a short film called The History of Caves, directed by his wife, filmmaker Emma Elizabeth Tillman.
2015-2016: I Love You, Honeybear
In February 2015, Tillman released the album I Love You, Honeybear to widespread critical acclaim and featured on many ‘Best Albums of 2015’ lists. The album hit number 17 on the Billboard 200, as well as reaching number two on the US Folk Albums chart and number three on both the Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts. That year, he was noted for covering Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and "Welcome to New York".
In May 2016, Tillman released the single "Real Love Baby". A few months later, he featured on the song "Saturday Night Inside Out" on The Avalanches' second studio album Wildflower. On July 22, 2016, he garnered media attention after walking off stage at XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, New Jersey, twenty minutes into his planned fifty-minute performance in response to Donald Trump's speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which had taken place the night before. In September 2016, Tillman’s voice and likeness were featured in Brad Neely's animated surreal comedy variety show Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio on Adult Swim, where he sings a song called "This Is America" that is a humorous parody of his own music.
2017-2020: Pure Comedy and God’s Favorite Customer
The title track from Misty's third studio album, Pure Comedy, was released on January 23, 2017, with an accompanying music video. Its follow-up, "Two Wildly Different Perspectives", was released with another music video on January 30. A third single, "Ballad of the Dying Man", was released on February 1, 2017, and a fourth, "Total Entertainment Forever", was released on the night it was performed on Saturday Night Live on March 4. On April 7, 2017, the album itself was released. The album reached number 10 on the Billboard 200 and topped the Top Rock Albums chart. It was also featured in 17 ‘Best Albums of 2017’ lists. That month, he embarked on the Pure Comedy Tour, which ran through early-2018.
God's Favorite Customer (or Mr. Tillman's Wild Ride) was released on June 1, 2018. It was preceded by the single "Mr. Tillman". The album reached number 18 on the Billboard 200, topped both the Folk Albums and Top Alternative Albums chart, and reached number two on the Top Rock Albums chart. Also in June 2018, Tillman was cast in a small role in the film Hotel Artemis and he contributed the song "Gilded Cage" to its soundtrack.
On March 23, 2020, Tillman released a live album titled Off-Key in Hamburg, which was recorded at the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on August 8, 2019. The album was released on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
2021-present: Chloë and the Next 20th Century
Father John Misty’s fifth studio album, Chloë and the Next 20th Century was released on April 8, 2022. It was preceded by the singles "Funny Girl", "Q4", "Goodbye Mr. Blue", and "The Next 20th Century".