As we exit the park and start our trek up the concrete strip of Atlantic Avenue, our dialog turns in the direction of Tomberlin’s upbringing. Her father is a Baptist pastor and the household moved often earlier than settling within the rural city of Fairfield, Illinois when Tomberlin was 12. Tomberlin and her sisters—she’s the center little one—have been homeschooled by their mom. Like many youngsters raised within the church, she grew up surrounded by music. As a baby, she took piano classes, sang within the choir, and made up songs at any time when, wherever—then, when she was a preteen, she picked up a guitar and taught herself to play by ear.
Tomberlin’s curiosity in secular movie, artwork, and music was not precisely inspired by her mother and father, who, she deadpans, wished her to “love Jesus and the lord.” Fortunately, there was Tumblr. She managed to maintain her on-line exercise a secret till the household pc’s search historical past revealed some not so holy photos. Past the web, Tomberlin credit the roles she labored as a teen and younger grownup—together with a profitable newspaper route—as offering “expertise exterior of the world that was created for me. I used to be attending to introduce myself to the world as somebody aside from the pastor’s daughter,” she says. “That all the time made me really feel so invisible.” At 16, she graduated from highschool and enrolled at a Christian school, the place she studied biblical counseling and elementary schooling. However after a yr, she dropped out of faculty—no less than partially on account of an unhealthy relationship—and moved again house.
In 2017, Tomberlin moved on her personal to Louisville (which she pronounces in two syllables). In between neighborhood school and clocking hours at a Verizon retailer, she wrote the songs that might compose her full-length debut, At Weddings. Although she uploaded the songs to Bandcamp, she had no intention of turning into an expert musician: “I used to be similar to, ‘These are the very best songs that I’ve written, I like them, I assume it’s an album.’” However one thing about her work— the understated gravity of her melodies, the memorable turns of phrase, the sage strategy to existential quandaries—stood out. A yr later, she’d signed with the Omaha-based indie Saddle Creek, who reissued an expanded model of At Weddings in 2018. It was a full-circle second: Shiny Eyes’ I’m Vast Awake, It’s Morning was one of many contraband CDs she hid from her mother and father as a teen.
After acting on Jimmy Kimmel Dwell! In March 2019, Tomberlin bristled on the web peanut gallery’s assumption that she was some form of repressed nation bumpkin—Christian background apart, the one supporting proof was her lengthy, soiled blonde hair and a modest white robe. “I’m a Little Home on the Prairie bitch, however that’s solely a part of me,” she concedes with a loud snigger. Opposite to that notion, she was motivated to discover past her world. That summer time, she and Annie, her beloved white rescue pup, moved to Los Angeles, the place they lived with the actress and famous indie music fan Busy Philipps and her household; the pair had struck up a friendship on Instagram, main Philipps to ask her to maneuver into their guesthouse. In October 2020, she launched Projections, a brighter EP co-produced alongside Alex G and his longtime bandmate Sam Acchione. “I didn’t need to change myself however I additionally didn’t need to be pigeonholed into this concept,” she explains. “I referred to as it Projections as a tip of the hat, like everyone seems to be projecting their bullshit thought of who I’m onto me however I’m merely a teen on this planet figuring that out.”