Jenny Lewis

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Jenny Lewis
Jenny Lewis.JPG
Lewis performing in 2014
Background information
Birth nameJennifer Diane Lewis
Born (1976-01-08) January 8, 1976 (age 47)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Origin San Fernando Valley, California, U.S.
Genres Indie rock, alternative country, indie folk
Instrument(s) Vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, harmonica
Years active1983–1998, 2008–present (acting)
1998–present (music)
Labels Team Love, Warner Bros., Brute/Beaute, Saddle Creek, Barsuk, Third Man

Jennifer Diane Lewis [1] (born January 8, 1976) [2] [1] is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress. She was the lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist for the indie rock band Rilo Kiley.


Lewis gained prominence in the 1980s as a child actress, appearing in the films Troop Beverly Hills (1989) and The Wizard (1989) and the television series Brooklyn Bridge (1991–93). In the mid-1990s, Lewis semi-retired from acting to focus on her musical career, and formed Rilo Kiley in 1998 with fellow former child actor Blake Sennett. Rilo Kiley released four albums before they disbanded in 2014. [3] Lewis has released four solo albums: Rabbit Fur Coat (2006), Acid Tongue (2008), The Voyager (2014) and On the Line (2019). In addition to Rilo Kiley and her solo career, Lewis has been a member of the Postal Service, Jenny & Johnny, and Nice as Fuck. [4]

Early life

Lewis was born in Las Vegas. [1] Her mother, Linda, was a professional singer, and her father, Eddie Gordon, was a member of the Harmonica Gang. [5] [6] [7] Lewis is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. [8]

Acting career

Lewis made her professional debut in a Jell-O commercial. She later appeared in commercials for Mattel's Barbie [9] and Baby Skates [10] dolls, Toys "R" Us toy stores, [11] the Black & Decker Popcorn Maker,[ citation needed ] and Kellogg's Corn Pops, [12] among others. She was featured in the short-lived 1986 Lucille Ball sitcom Life With Lucy , where she was cast as one of Lucy's grandchildren. She also had small roles on TV shows, such as Murder, She Wrote , The New Twilight Zone , Baywatch , The Golden Girls , Growing Pains , Just the Ten of Us , Roseanne , Mr. Belvedere , and Brooklyn Bridge . She appeared on a kids' week episode of the game show Card Sharks on August 6, 1987, at age 11, winning $500, but she did not win her match. [13]

Lewis appeared in over a dozen teen movies, such as Troop Beverly Hills and The Wizard in 1989. She was featured in the 1996 made-for-TV movie Talk to Me with Yasmine Bleeth, as well as the films Foxfire , Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even , and Pleasantville . She played the part of Evangeline "Eva" Saint Claire in the 1987 film version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin , and also appeared in the 1988 made-for-TV film A Friendship in Vienna , set in Vienna at the start of the Holocaust. She played Beverly D'Angelo's daughter in the 1996 made-for-TV film Sweet Temptation. She continued acting until 1998, although her final movie – Don's Plum , filmed 1995–96 – went unreleased until 2001. In 2015, she appeared in the Netflix movie A Very Murray Christmas as a waitress and sang a few songs, including "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Bill Murray.


Rilo Kiley

In 1998, Lewis and friends Pierre De Reeder, Dave Rock, and then-boyfriend Blake Sennett formed the band Rilo Kiley. (Rock was eventually replaced by Jason Boesel.) In an interview with NPR's All Songs Considered , Lewis remarked that she wanted to name the group Love's Way (after her parents' lounge act in Las Vegas), but Sennett "didn't go for it." [14] Originally asked to sing back-up vocals by Sennett, Lewis refused to join the band unless she was able to sing lead vocals. [15]

Beginning with a country sound, Rilo Kiley gravitated toward a downbeat indie rock sound, gaining the attention of Warner Bros., who signed the band (via its own imprint, Brute/Beaute Records) for the release of their 2004 album More Adventurous, which gained the band some success. Critics such as Pitchfork attributed this to the "wise" decision to emphasize Lewis's voice and presence more so than in previous albums. [16] The song "Portions for Foxes" was a hit. Rilo Kiley's 2007 album Under the Blacklight was released directly by Warner Bros.

In 2011, Sennett hinted that Rilo Kiley had disbanded. [17] Lewis confirmed the band's split in 2014. [18]

A retrospective of Lewis's career by Jessica Roy in 2016 commented that Lewis was a style icon to music-loving young people in the 2000s. Roy commented:

For a particular brand of suburban girl who fancied herself cooler than her peers, Jenny was a fire-haired figure of worship. With her endless supply of cool sunglasses, vintage dresses, and hats ... she was a beacon of hope for introspective teens ... as a microgenerational sad-girl touchstone, many of us have our own Jenny Lewis Anecdote, our lives touched by her magnificent tweeness in different ways. [19]

Solo career

Lewis in 2006 Jenny Lewis, March 2006.jpg
Lewis in 2006

In 2004, Conor Oberst invited Lewis to record a solo record for record label Team Love. Described by Lewis as "a kind of soul record"[ citation needed ], Rabbit Fur Coat (released January 24, 2006) features contributions from Oberst, M. Ward, and Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine. Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie guests on a cover of The Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care." The Watson Twins provide accompaniment on the album, billed as Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins. Lewis toured with the Watson Twins in support of the album three times in 2006 and appeared with her band on the Late Show with David Letterman , The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson , Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Later with Jools Holland . They also appeared on a Washington, D.C.-based children's music program called Pancake Mountain , performing the song "See Fernando". The album received positive reviews, with Entertainment Weekly writing, "Consider Lewis the Emmylou Harris of the Silverlake set" [20] and Rolling Stone commenting that "her girlishly seductive vocals are more versatile than ever". [21] The A.V. Club, Spin, and NPR music critic Meredith Ochs named it among the best albums of the year. [22] [23] [24]

In 2008, Lewis released a second solo album, this time without the Watson Twins, titled Acid Tongue .

On July 29, 2014, Lewis released The Voyager . The album took five years to complete and is a reflection on Rilo Kiley's break-up and the death of her father. [25] The release of the album was preceded by the single "Just One of the Guys". [26] The music video for "Just One of the Guys" was released on July 15, 2014, through GQ and stars Lewis, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Brie Larson, and Tennessee Thomas, former drummer of The Like (now disbanded). [27] Lewis also directed the music video.

On January 23, 2019, Lewis announced the release date of her new album On the Line would be March 22, 2019. [28] The lead single "Red Bull & Hennessy" debuted with positive acclaim. [29]

Jenny and Johnny

In 2010, Lewis formed the duo Jenny and Johnny with her then-boyfriend, musician Johnathan Rice, and the pair released an album titled I'm Having Fun Now on Warner Bros. Records. In 2015, Rice and Lewis wrote the song "Cold One" for the film Ricki and the Flash .

The Voyager Tour

Lewis performing in 2007 Jenny Lewis Las Vegas 2007.jpg
Lewis performing in 2007

On July 8, 2014, Lewis began her "The Voyager" tour at the Ottawa Bluesfest in Ontario, Canada. She spent July touring the United States and released the album The Voyager on July 29. Her tour included performances at Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the 2014 ITunes Festival in London, two performances at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the Life Is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas.

Other projects

In 2002, Lewis was asked to contribute vocals for the band The Postal Service. Lewis performed in the video for "We Will Become Silhouettes", and toured with the band in 2013.

In 2003, Lewis contributed vocals to several tracks on the Cursive album The Ugly Organ .

In 2005, Lewis contributed to the UNICEF benefit song "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?", along with Sennett and Jimmy Tamborello.

In 2006, Lewis made a cameo in Episode 25, Season 1 of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour , and six of her songs (three with the Watson Twins and three with Rilo Kiley) were featured in various episodes of the show.

In 2007, Lewis contributed vocals to various songs on Johnathan Rice's album Further North, and she appeared in the music video for "We're All Stuck Out In The Desert (And We're Gonna Die)". She provided vocals for a track on Dntel's Dumb Luck LP.

In 2008, Lewis contributed backing vocals to several songs on the Elvis Costello and the Imposters album Momofuku .

Later that year, Lewis voiced the role of the assistant director for Walt Disney Pictures' animated film Bolt (2008), and she also provided the song "Barking at the Moon." [30]

Jenny Lewis at The Postal Service Goodbye in Lollapalooza 2013, Chicago The Postal Service - Jenny Lewis.jpg
Jenny Lewis at The Postal Service Goodbye in Lollapalooza 2013, Chicago

In March and April 2009, Lewis traveled to Australia for the first time, as an act for the V Festival, as well as a supporting act for Snow Patrol and performing one solo Sydney show.

On April 18, 2009, Lewis performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.

On May 5, 2009, Lewis performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson [ citation needed ]

Lewis makes an appearance on the track "Hard Enough", taken from the 2010 album Flamingo by fellow Las Vegan Brandon Flowers.

In 2013, Lewis created the music score for Tribeca Film's feature Very Good Girls . She provided original music and also included older music from her previous band, Rilo Kiley, such as the song, "Go Ahead". [31]

In 2014, Lewis contributed an exclusive track to HBO's Girls , in collaboration with Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij titled "Completely Not Me". The song was featured in the Season 3 premiere "Females Only". The song is the second track on Girls Volume Two: All Adventurous Women Do. [32]

In 2016, Lewis contributed to She & Him's second Christmas album, Christmas Party , appearing on the track "Winter Wonderland". [33]

In 2016, the trio Nice as Fuck, comprising Lewis, Erika Forster (of Au Revoir Simone), and Tennessee Thomas (of The Like), debuted at a Bernie Sanders benefit. The group opened on a number of tour dates for M. Ward. [34] [35]

On June 25, 2019, Lewis performed "Wasted Youth" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. [36]

On October 28, 2019, Lewis is featured on the fifth issue of Archie Comics' comic book series Jughead’s Time Police , was released on October 30. [37]

On November 13, 2019, it was announced Lewis would be an opening act for Harry Styles on the North American leg of his 2020 Love On Tour. [38]


1983 Baby Makes Five Laura RiddleTV series; episode: "Pilot"
1983 It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown Ruby (voice)TV film
1985Suburban BeatJennifer MorganTV film
1985 The Twilight Zone Sarah (ghost child)TV series; segment: "If She Dies"
1986ConvictedShelley ForbesTV film
1986 Webster KimTV series; episode: "The Truth Hurts"
1986 Life With Lucy Becky McGibbonTV series; 13 episodes
1987 Uncle Tom's Cabin Evangeline "Little Eva" St. ClaireTV film
1987 The Golden Girls Daisy (A Sunshine Cadet)TV series; episode: "Old Friends"
1987 The Charmings SaraTV series; episode: "A Charming Halloween"
1988A Place at the TableRachel SingerTV film
1988Who Gets the Friends?TV film
1988My Father, My SonMayaTV film
1988 Trading Hearts Yvonne Rhonda NottinghamFilm
1988 A Friendship in Vienna Inge DournenvaldTV film
1988 Mr. Belvedere KimberlyTV series; episode: "Braces"
1988 Growing Pains Judy JonesTV series; episode: "Ben's First Kiss"
1988 Baby M TuesdayTV miniseries
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Hannah NeflerFilm
1989 Just the Ten of Us PamelaTV series; episode: "Puberty Blues"
1989 Have Faith AngelaTV series; episode: "The Teacher"
1989 Shannon's Deal Neala ShannonTV film; later adapted as a TV series of the same name
1989 The Wizard HaleyFilm
1989 Roseanne DianeTV series; episode: "Five of a Kind"
1989 Free Spirit ChrisTV series; episode: "Hallowinnie"
1989 Baywatch AlexTV series; episode: "Shelter Me"
1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter Melanie BensonTV film
1991 Brooklyn Bridge Katie MonahanTV series; 18 episodes
1991 Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story EllieTV film
1991Shannon's DealNeala ShannonTV series; 11 episodes
1991Runaway FatherMarciaTV film
1991 Daddy Melissa WatsonTV film
1992 Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even CorinneFilm
1994 Murder, She Wrote Leslie WaldenTV series; episode: "A Murderous Muse"
1994 Runaway Daughters Laura CahnTV film; originally aired as an episode of the TV series Rebel Highway
1996 Sweet Temptation Jade LarsonTV film
1996Run a Mile in My ShoesShort film
1996 Foxfire Rita FaldesFilm
1996 Talk to Me Kelly ReillyTV film
1997 Little Boy Blue Traci ConnorFilm
1998 Pleasantville ChristinFilm
1999 Get Real Meg O'DonnellTV series; episode: "Anatomy of a Rumor"
2000 Once and Again JennyTV series; episode: "Cat-in-Hat"
2001 Don's Plum SaraFilm; filmed 1995–96, but unreleased until 2001
2008 Bolt Assistant Director (voice)Film; also has two songs featured on the film's soundtrack
2010 American Dad! Amy (voice)TV series; episode: "Merlot Down Dirty Shame"
2014 Comedy Bang Bang HerselfTV series; replacement bandleader, filling in for Reggie Watts (episode: "Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket")
2015 A Very Murray Christmas The WaitressTV film; Netflix Original
2019 Jenny Lewis' On the Line Online streaming special


Rilo Kiley


Jenny & Johnny

Nice as Fuck

Other appearances


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rilo Kiley</span> American indie rock band

Rilo Kiley was an American indie rock band based in Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1998, the band consisted of Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett, Pierre de Reeder, and Dave Rock.

<i>The Execution of All Things</i> 2002 studio album by Rilo Kiley

The Execution of All Things is the second full-length album released by Los Angeles-based indie pop band Rilo Kiley. Expanding on their previous musical sound that mostly incorporated guitars, vocals, percussion and pianos, the album contains heavy electronica sampling mixed into the songs in a rather unusual and displaced-sounding way. Also, unlike their previous tracks which were written in very traditional manners, the lyrics to the songs on Execution are very wordy and read like prose. Musically, the record has a very sunny disposition, with bouncing bass lines and simple melodies complemented by lead singer Jenny Lewis's vocal style, but the upbeat music is generally counterpointed by the often dark and morose subject matter that the lyrics reference. The album was released by Saddle Creek Records in Omaha, Nebraska, and the aforementioned features show the influence of that studio's associated Omaha Sound. It was recorded at Presto! in Lincoln, Nebraska.

<i>The Initial Friend</i> 1999 EP by Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley, also known as The Initial Friend EP, is the first release by Los Angeles–based rock band Rilo Kiley. It was initially released independently in 1999 under the title Rilo Kiley. It was subsequently re-pressed in 2000 and again in 2001, under the name The Initial Friend EP with an alternate track-listing and cover. All three releases commonly sell on eBay for between $250–400 and are fairly rare.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Valentine (musician)</span> American guitarist

James Burgon Valentine is an American musician who is the lead guitarist and backing vocalist for the pop rock band Maroon 5.

<i>More Adventurous</i> 2004 studio album by Rilo Kiley

More Adventurous is the third studio album by American indie rock band Rilo Kiley. Released on August 17, 2004 by Brute/Beaute Records, a self-made imprint distributed by Warner Records, it was the band's major label debut.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blake Sennett</span> American musician and actor

Blake Sennett is an American musician and actor who served as the lead guitarist for indie rock band Rilo Kiley, as well as the lead singer/lead guitarist for his alt-rock side project the Elected. Until 2017 he led Night Terrors of 1927 with Jarrod Gorbel. In addition to being a musician, Sennett was a child actor, appearing on the television shows Salute Your Shorts and Boy Meets World. As an actor, Sennett originally went by the names Blake Soper and Blake Swendson.

<i>Take Offs and Landings</i> 2001 studio album by Rilo Kiley

Take Offs and Landings is Rilo Kiley's debut full-length album, originally released in 2001 on the vanity label "Rilo Records", then shortly thereafter on the independent label Barsuk Records. It was released for the first time on vinyl on March 15, 2011.

<i>Rabbit Fur Coat</i> 2006 studio album by Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins

Rabbit Fur Coat is an album in collaboration by Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, with The Watson Twins. It was released in the United States on January 24, 2006, by Team Love. Lewis has described the album as a "sort of soul record". The album contains a cover of the Traveling Wilburys song "Handle With Care", featuring Ben Gibbard, Conor Oberst and M. Ward.

Nate Walcott is an American musical composer, arranger, pianist, keyboardist, and trumpeter. He has composed the scores for several feature-length films, including 2014's The Fault in Our Stars. He is a member of the band Bright Eyes, and has played in Conor Oberst's Mystic Valley Band and with singer-songwriter M. Ward. Between 2016 and 2019, Walcott was the touring pianist and keyboard player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, during their The Getaway World Tour.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jason Boesel</span> American musician based in Los Angeles

Jason Lyon Boesel is an American musician, songwriter and producer based in Los Angeles. He was the drummer for Rilo Kiley and has also played with The Elected and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johnathan Rice</span> American singer-songwriter

Johnathan Rice is a Scottish-American singer-songwriter. He used to frequently collaborate with Jenny Lewis. His first album, Trouble is Real, was released on Reprise Records on April 26, 2005. His follow-up, Further North, was released by Reprise on September 11, 2007. He has also worked as a producer on Jenny Lewis' Acid Tongue (2008) and Voyager (2014), and as a songwriter on the self-titled record by Nashville band The Apache Relay. He has served as a session and live musician with Elvis Costello on 2008's Momofuku). In 2010, he released a collaborative album I'm Having Fun Now with Jenny Lewis, as Jenny and Johnny. In 2013–14, Rice and Lewis scored and wrote seven original songs for the 2014 film Song One, starring Anne Hathaway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Whispertown</span>

Whispertown is an American indie music project from Los Angeles, California, fronted by singer-songwriter Morgan Nagler. They have toured or performed with Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, the Breeders, She & Him, Maria Taylor, M. Ward, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's and the Elected.

<i>Under the Blacklight</i> 2007 studio album by Rilo Kiley

Under the Blacklight is the fourth and final full-length studio album released by American alternative rock band Rilo Kiley. It was released on August 20, 2007, in the United Kingdom - three years and three days after the release of their third album, More Adventurous. Warner Bros. Records released the album one day later in the United States. "Silver Lining" was No. 27 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rilo Kiley discography</span> Band discography

This is a comprehensive listing of official releases by Los Angeles-based indie rock band Rilo Kiley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jenny Lewis discography</span>

This is a comprehensive listing of official releases by Jenny Lewis, lead singer of the band Rilo Kiley.

<i>Acid Tongue</i> 2008 studio album by Jenny Lewis

Acid Tongue is the debut solo album, second overall by American singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis, released in September 2008 through Warner Bros. and Rough Trade Records. Inspired by jam sessions, the album was recorded December 2007-March 2008 in Van Nuys, California with the intent of capturing a more live feeling than 2006's Rabbit Fur Coat. Lewis worked with a number of guest musicians and wrote the album with boyfriend Johnathan Rice. Lewis, Rice, Jason Lader, and Dave Scher produced the album. Acid Tongue features musical styles ranging from indie rock to alternative country and Americana.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Execution of All Things (song)</span> 2003 single by Rilo Kiley

"The Execution of All Things" is the title track of Los Angeles-based indie rock band Rilo Kiley's second album. It was released as a single on September 22, 2003 via Saddle Creek. Rilo Kiley's cover of The Velvet Underground's "After Hours" appears as a b-side, as does a new track called "Emotional ". The single and its b-sides are available to download on the iTunes Store.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mike Bloom (musician)</span> American musician, singer, composer, producer and mixer

Michael Evan Bloom is an American musician, singer, composer, producer and mixer who has performed, produced or recorded with artists such as Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis, Julian Casablancas, Johnathan Rice, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, and Rachael Yamagata. He was a co-founder of The Elected. Bloom plays guitar, bass, lap steel guitar, keys, drums, banjo, and harmonica. He is also a composer and has served as music supervisor for films and TV shows. He is the younger brother of actor/writer Brian Bloom and actor/producer/writer Scott Bloom.

<i>Rkives</i> 2013 compilation album by Rilo Kiley

Rkives is a compilation album released in 2013 by Los Angeles-based band Rilo Kiley.

Nice as Fuck (NAF) is an all-female indie rock supergroup made up of Jenny Lewis, Erika Forster, and Tennessee Thomas. The band first performed at a rally for U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in April 2016 and went on to make their television debut in July 2016 on a live episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert during the 2016 Republican National Convention.


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