The singer Josh Tillman, aka J. Tillman, aka Father John Misty, has been making a lot of noise in music since hitting the scene years ago. Under his Misty tag, he’s dropped critically acclaimed albums like I Love You, Honeybear in 2015 and Pure Comedy in January of this year. Plus, you can see him take the stage in September and October in various cities, so be sure to get tickets here.
Before gaining popularity as a solo act and playing “SNL” this year, Misty was the drummer for the indie rock band Fleet Foxes. Then afterwards, he released his first album Untitled No. 1 under the J. Tillman moniker. Misty co-wrote songs for Beyoncé and Lady Gaga as well, just to see how things got made in mainstream music realms. But after he decided not to write for other people again.
The gifted songwriter grew up in an evangelical Christian household but isn’t too keen on religion these days. There's a lot to know about FJM, here are just a few:
1. Misty doesn’t like being famous
In a recent interview with The Boston Globe, Misty said that fame has made him extremely uncomfortable and it doesn't sit well with him.
He also said that fame made him “hyper-aware instead of self-aware,” meaning it made it more difficult for him to learn about himself, because he was being too self-critical. Plus, Misty said he hopes to run a stationary store in 10 years and be completely away from the music business.
2. Misty gets his fashion sense from the late French singer Serge Gainsbourg
While speaking to Indie88, the Maryland native said he refuses to dress in your typical everyday men’s wear and doesn’t understand why some guys dress “like they are a graphic designer.” Misty also said that he loves Gainsbourg’s versatility as far as fashion goes and his ability to master different looks. “He went from suits to sort of a cowboy thing and then a really great phase in the '80s when he was just wearing denim pants with denim shirts, like unbuttoned to his navel.”
Misty said that he’s not a fan of buttoning his shirts to the top either and just having one button fastened is good enough for him.
3. Misty doesn’t miss being a drummer in the band Fleet Foxes
When the singer walked away from the popular indie band, people said he was crazy,” he told Rolling Stone. But he wanted to try others things. Plus, being in the band taught him something: He learned that being a working musician in a popular group doesn’t fix all of life’s problems.
“It’s so much easier to be successful than it is to be happy,” Misty said. “That was the real takeaway from that experience.”
Misty said that he loses sleep the night before every album comes out because he puts so much of his personal life into his writing, he told the Financial Times. In fact, that’s why the singer uses the alter ego Father John Misty instead of his real name. So he can be more honest in his writing without feeling like he’s exposing too much about Josh Tillman.
4. Misty turned down a bunch of offers from major record labels
A lot of big time music execs told Misty that they’d take his career to newer heights, which he says is a cliché in the music business that he hates. So instead, he remained with the independent labels Sub Pop and Bella Union and doesn’t have any interest in signing to a major. On top of that, he turned down a role in the second season of the Netflix sci-fi series “Stranger Things,” because he doesn’t want to be famous for being on television.
5. Misty dropped out of college
Misty attended Nyack college, a private Christian school based in New York for a short period of time. From there, he would move to Seattle to pursue music, which angered his parents. But they would soon feel better about his new career path after the indie rocker Damien Jurado brought him on tour, where Misty sold CDs and made money for himself.
Seattle was also the place he met the Fleet Foxes and was asked to be their drummer.