Father John Misty is an indie rock singer-songwriter hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, U.S who was born on the 3rd of May 1981. Since his solo debut in 2004, he has released 10 studio albums and has also performed as the drummer for both Saxon Shore and Fleet Foxes.
Father John Misty was born Joshua Tillman to an evangelical Christian family in Rockville, Maryland. Despite being a “pretty aimless kid”, in his words, from a young age Tillman was taken with the idea of being a performer. However, since secular music was forbidden in his house, the closest thing to it that he could aspire to be was a pastor, which was his ambition until the age of 17. That was the age he was at when his parents allowed him to listen to secular music that had a “spiritual theme”, leading him to discover albums like Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming”, which completely changed his life.
Tillman was already musical, having learnt the drums as a child, and then picked up the guitar at 12. Once he was able to listen to the albums that influenced him most he began to write songs, and then at the age of 21 he moved from his native Maryland, to Seattle, Washington in 2002. One of his first demos found its way to Seattle based singer-Damien Jurado, who was so impressed that by the age of 22, Tillman was opening for him on tour. After extensive touring and distributing his demos at shows for free, independent label Fargo Records released Tillman’s first solo album “Minor Works” in 2006, along with his albums “I Will Return” and “Long May You Run” in the same year as a double disk set.
In 2007, another album of Tillman’s was released called “Cancer and Delirium”, meaning that Tillman was an artist who’d released four studio albums of entirely original material in two years. For such a prolific artist, it’s a testament to his creative spirit and lack of ego that he’d then join Fleet Foxes the following year as their drummer, without any involvement in their writing process. Despite him touring with the band extensively, his solo albums still got him signed to Western Vinyl in 2009 where another two albums of his were released the same year. He stayed touring with Fleet Foxes until 2012, when he played his last show with them, changed his stage name from J. Tillman to Father John Misty and made a break for the mainstream.
Since then he’s become something of a songwriter’s songwriter, still releasing stellar solo albums, touring the world to ever increasing crowd sizes and working with everyone from rapper Kid Cudi to Parks and Recreation actress Aubrey Plaza. He’s the kind of artist that could have found success whenever he started, and we should be thankful that we’re around to see his prime. Highly recommended.