R&B music is the last thing you would associate Father John Misty with. But the folk singer has been dabbling into this particular genre lately, as seen in his recent work and shows.
Father John Misty has opened up about his surprising new collaboration with Beyoncé on her new visual album, Lemonade. When both the album and HBO special dropped on Saturday, April 23, it was revealed that over 72 writers worked on the 12 tracks. The second track, “Hold Up,” had 15 writers involved on the song including Father John Misty, whose uses his real name Josh Tillman in the songwriting credits, according to Tidal.
In a written statement to Rolling Stone, he recalls the songwriting process as “crazy.”
“I went crazy. [I] recorded a verse, melody and refrain that, unbelievably – when you consider how ridiculous my voice sounds on the demo – ended up making the record.”
When Father John Misty received a demo for “Hold Up,” he wasn’t sure how much of his work would be used in the song since he’s not the only songwriter who worked on it.
“I was mostly kind of in the dark,” he added.
He said that he didn’t receive a songwriting credit until Beyoncé told him in person after his 2015 Coachella performance. Father John Misty recalled the moment in a series of funny tweets on Monday.
“I make ends meet taking the occasional playing airhorn … I’m something of a dilettante when it comes to airhorn, and I require quite a bit of guidance (and extensive comping) to nail the take.”
TBH I’m something of a dilettante when it comes to airhorn, and I required quite a bit of guidance (and extensive comping) to nail the take
— FATHER JOHN MISTY (@fatherjohnmisty) April 25, 2016
Then in a written statement submitted to Billboard, Father John Misty explained how his unlikely collaboration with Queen Bey happened.
“About a year and half ago, my friend Emile Haynie played Beyonce some of my music, along with some tunes I’ve written for other people, back when she was looking for collaborators for the record… Pretty soon after they sent along the demo for ‘Hold Up’, which was just like a minute of the sample and the hook.”
Other collaborators who worked on “Hold Up” include Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig and music producer Diplo. Another songwriting credit goes to alternative band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the line, “Hold up/They don’t love you like I love you,” which references the band’s 2003 song “Maps.”
Father John Misty also experimented with the R&B genre when he covered Rihanna’s “Kiss it Better” during the first show of his tour. The indie rocker usually sings about his time in the bedroom or the occasional cemetery, which is why RiRi’s sensual song is a perfect fit for the bearded musician.
A fan shot the video of Father John Misty performing the hit song during his concert at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California, late last month. The video showed Misty jutting his hips to the music as he sang the sexually charged track without changing any of the pronouns.
Check out Father John Misty’s cover of “Kiss It Better” in the video below.
That wasn’t the only song that Father John Misty and his band covered that night. He also put his spin on Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith’s collaboration “Because the Night,” which you can watch in the video below.
Father John Misty has become an indie god in his own right. He became well established in the genre by releasing cinematic music videos and starring in Lana Del Rey’s music video for “Freak.”
With Father John Misty’s cover of “Kiss it Better” and writing credit on “Hold Up,” this proves that he’s more than just a folk singer. Misty has proven that he can experiment with any style of music, just like Beyoncé and Rihanna have on their experimental new albums. Beyoncé sampled various styles of music on Lemonade, while Anti includes a cover of “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” by Australian rock band Tame Impala.
[Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images]