Josh Tillman is an American singer, musician, performer and songwriter. He is also an actor and record producer. He is best known for his albums ‘Pure Comedy’, ‘God’s Favorite Customer’ and ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. Josh Tillman grew up in a staunch religious household and learnt to play musical instruments at an early age. He dropped out of college and took up odd jobs while working on his albums. By chance, he landed the opportunity of opening for a popular artist and began to release his solo albums too. Thereafter, he toured with various bands like ‘Fleet Foxes’, ‘Saxon Shore’, etc. and continued to release album after album, mostly inspired by his personal experiences. He also gave himself the moniker ‘Father John Misty’ and released some albums under that name. As a well-known indie artist, he has been constantly nominated and won several awards across the world. He has also produced records for some artists and recorded covers of Taylor Swift songs. He has created soundtracks and acted in films, and gone on world album tours too.
Childhood & Early Life
Joshua Michael Tillman was born on May 3, 1981, in Rockville, Maryland, USA, to Barbara and I.C. Tillman. His mother is a homemaker and his father is employed at Hewlett-Packard. He has a younger brother, Zach, and two sisters.
As a child, he reportedly wanted to become a pastor and a cartoonist, but decided to become a musician instead. He initially played drums, but at the age of 12, he learnt to play the guitar and would regularly play music with his brother.
He grew up in a strong evangelical Christian' household, went to a Baptist church, attended an Episcopal elementary school and later moved to a Pentecostal Messianic day school. It was only in his late teens that he was allowed to listen to secular music but that too, with a spiritual theme.
He attended Nyack College in New York, but dropped out and moved to Seattle in the early 2000s.
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In his early 20s, Josh Tillman worked at a bakery in Seattle by day and recorded his songs at night. He reportedly slept on floors, arranged acoustic panelling for bands and handed out his self-recorded demo tapes to bartenders across Seattle.
One of his demo tapes landed in the hands of indie rock singer-songwriter, Damien Jurado, who gave him the opportunity to open for him at performances.
From 2002 to 2003, he also performed with ‘Saxon Shore’ on their albums ‘Be a Bright Blue’ and ‘Four Months of Darkness’. In 2004, his first album, ‘I Will Return’ was released.
In 2006, Josh Tillman met Eric Fisher, who produced his second album ‘Long May You Run’ that was released by ‘Keep Recordings’. Later that year, another label ‘Fargo Records’ re-released his albums ‘I Will Return’ and ‘Long May You Run’ and also put out his new album ‘Minor Works.’
In 2007, his fourth album ‘Cancer and Delirium’ was released by ‘Yer Bird Records’.
In 2008, he became the drummer for Seattle folk rock band ‘Fleet Foxes’ on their tour of Europe and Australia.
In 2009, he signed up with ‘Western Vinyl’ in the U.S. and ‘Bella Union’ in the UK to release two albums ‘Vacilando Territory Blues’ and ‘Year In The Kingdom.’
In 2010, his seventh album ‘Singing Ax’ was released.
He continued to tour with ‘Fleet Foxes’ until early 2012 when he was promoting their album ‘Helplessness Blues’. Later that year, he created the moniker ‘Father John Misty’ and released an album ‘Fear Fun’ under that name, which many claimed was influenced by hallucinogens and drug use.
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In 2013, he worked on American musician, Kid Cudi's, album ‘Indicud’. He also gave the soundtrack for a short film directed by his wife, ‘The History of Caves’, and penned a lengthy essay on Damien Jurado’s new album ‘Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son’.
In 2014, he toured with singer, Lana Del Rey, on the North American leg of her ‘Paradise’ tour.
In 2015, he released a widely acclaimed concept album ‘I Love You, Honeybear’ that had a lot of his personal life experiences. He also did covers of some Taylor Swift songs that received much press coverage.
In 2016, he was featured in Lana del Rey’s music video ‘Freak’ and was part of a song by the Australian rock group ‘The Avalanches’. He made headlines when he stopped mid-performance at the ‘XPoNential Music Festival’ and delivered a speech on the numbing role of entertainment.
In the first half of 2017, he continued to release singles, which culminated in the release of his album ‘Pure Comedy’ in April that was followed by the album world tour.
In June 2018, he released his next album ‘God's Favorite Customer’, where he spoke about his battle with depression and nervous breakdown. He acted in a film, ‘Hotel Artemis’, as a bank robber, and released a song ‘Gilded Cage’ that was part of the film.
Family & Personal Life
Josh Tillman first met Emma Elizabeth, a photographer and filmmaker, at a store in Los Angeles. They married in 2013 in Big Sur, California. He currently lives in Los Angeles, USA, with his wife.
His brother, Zach, is part of ‘Pearly Gate Music’ group.
He was estranged from his parents for a long time, but they have reportedly reconciled now.
He openly criticizes religion now and his beliefs are said to border on atheism.
He has struggled with depression for a long time and has spoken openly about it on many occasions.
Josh Tillman has called his upbringing ‘culturally oppressive’ and stated that he was not allowed to listen to secular music by his parents.
The first ever album that he bought was by the heavy-metal Christian band ‘Petra On Fire.’