Father John Misty clarifies comments after suggesting that Ed Sheeran is ‘cynical’

Josh Tillman talks pop music in new interview

Father John Misty has clarified recent comments that seemed to suggest that Ed Sheeran‘s approach to pop music is “cynical”.

The folk musician (real name Josh Tillman) releases third album ‘Pure Comedy’ on April 7. In the period since his previous album, 2015’s ‘I Love You, Honeybear’, Tillman has written songs for the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

Speaking to Los Angeles Times, Tillman detailed a recent chance meeting with an unnamed “famous singer”. After playing her songs he had been working on, she allegedly responded by saying “OK, all of these are mine.”


“I could show you songs I’ve written pretty much front to back [for other artists],” he added. “Then you get these emails that are like, ‘OK, here are the lyrics — your contribution is in blue, and so-and-so’s is in pink’. And it’s like three pink words in a field of blue. But that’s a co-write.”

Describing his own pride in his Gaga collaboration, ‘Come To Mama’, Tillman said: “To have a pop song that says ‘The only prisons that exist are the ones we put each other in’ — I mean, that is a case of being able to mess with the salmon run in such an extreme, powerful way.”

Tillman went on to say of Ed Sheeran’s populist approach to pop: “I’m not doing what Ed Sheeran does. It’s not this cynical approach: ‘I know what these idiots will like.’”

He has since tweeted saying: “If i made an effort to write the way he does, it would be cynical”.



“People act like there’s this glut of artists doing what I do,” he added. “I’m basically a meme at this point. But who else does this? Even when I’m writing a pop song, my values are markedly different. You have one of me to contend with. Grow up. Get over it.”


Father John Misty’s recently released new track ‘Total Entertainment Forever’ from his upcoming album. It includes the line: “Bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the Oculus Rift”. He later defended the lyric following criticism.

Read more: Father John Misty’s monster day on Twitter: the most hilarious and revealing moments