Jenny Lewis

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Jenny Lewis
Lewis performing in 2014
Lewis performing in 2014
Background information
Birth nameJennifer Diane Lewis
Born (1976-01-08) January 8, 1976 (age 48)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
OriginSan Fernando Valley, California, U.S.
GenresIndie rock, alternative country, indie folk, indietronica
Instrument(s)Vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, harmonica
Years active1982–1998, 2008–present (acting)
1998–present (music)
LabelsTeam 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 five solo albums: Rabbit Fur Coat (2006), Acid Tongue (2008), The Voyager (2014), On the Line (2019), and Joy'All (2023). 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 a certain type of 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[edit]

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.

Lewis performing in 2007

On July 8, 2014, Lewis began "The Voyager" tour at the Ottawa Bluesfest in Ontario, Canada. She spent July of that year touring the United States. 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.

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" garnered positive acclaim.[29]

On June 9, 2023, Lewis released a new album, Joy'All. She'd started writing for Joy'All while on tour to promote her previous album On the Line (2019), shortly before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Work resumed on the album in early 2021, when Lewis participated in a virtual songwriting workshop hosted by Beck.[30] The album was produced by Dave Cobb, who Lewis met while visiting Lucius at RCA Studio A in Nashville, Tennessee.[31]

Other projects and collaborations[edit]

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 and again in 2023.

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."[32]

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".[33]

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.[34]

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

In 2023, Lewis toured to support her new album Joy'All. She also made appearances on dates for The Postal Service reunion tour.[39]

Other bands[edit]

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.

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.[40][41]


Year Film Role Notes
1983 Baby Makes Five Laura Riddle TV series; episode: "Pilot"
1983 It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown Ruby (voice) TV film
1985 Suburban Beat Jennifer Morgan TV film
1985 The Twilight Zone Sarah (ghost child) TV series; segment: "If She Dies"
1986 Convicted Shelley Forbes TV film
1986 Webster Kim TV series; episode: "The Truth Hurts"
1986 Life With Lucy Becky McGibbon TV series; 13 episodes
1987 Uncle Tom's Cabin Evangeline "Little Eva" St. Claire TV film
1987 The Golden Girls Daisy (A Sunshine Cadet) TV series; episode: "Old Friends"
1987 The Charmings Sara TV series; episode: "A Charming Halloween"
1988 A Place at the Table Rachel Singer TV film
1988 Who Gets the Friends? TV film
1988 My Father, My Son Maya TV film
1988 Trading Hearts Yvonne Rhonda Nottingham Film
1988 A Friendship in Vienna Inge Dournenvald TV film
1988 Mr. Belvedere Kimberly TV series; episode: "Braces"
1988 Growing Pains Judy Jones TV series; episode: "Ben's First Kiss"
1988 Baby M Tuesday TV miniseries
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Hannah Nefler Film
1989 Just the Ten of Us Pamela TV series; episode: "Puberty Blues"
1989 Have Faith Angela TV series; episode: "The Teacher"
1989 Shannon's Deal Neala Shannon TV film; later adapted as a TV series of the same name
1989 The Wizard Haley Film
1989 Roseanne Diane TV series; episode: "Five of a Kind"
1989 Free Spirit Chris TV series; episode: "Hallowinnie"
1989 Baywatch Alex TV series; episode: "Shelter Me"
1990 Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter Melanie Benson TV film
1991 Brooklyn Bridge Katie Monahan TV series; 18 episodes
1991 Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story Ellie TV film
1991 Shannon's Deal Neala Shannon TV series; 11 episodes
1991 Runaway Father Marcia TV film
1991 Daddy Melissa Watson TV film
1992 Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even Corinne Film
1994 Murder, She Wrote Leslie Walden TV series; episode: "A Murderous Muse"
1994 Runaway Daughters Laura Cahn TV film; originally aired as an episode of the TV series Rebel Highway
1996 Sweet Temptation Jade Larson TV film
1996 Run a Mile in My Shoes Short film
1996 Foxfire Rita Faldes Film
1996 Talk to Me Kelly Reilly TV film
1997 Little Boy Blue Traci Connor Film
1998 Pleasantville Christin Film
1999 Get Real Meg O'Donnell TV series; episode: "Anatomy of a Rumor"
2000 Once and Again Jenny TV series; episode: "Cat-in-Hat"
2001 Don's Plum Sara Film; 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 Herself TV series; replacement bandleader, filling in for Reggie Watts (episode: "Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket")
2015 A Very Murray Christmas The Waitress TV film; Netflix Original
2019 Jenny Lewis' On the Line Online Host streaming special


Rilo Kiley[edit]


Jenny & Johnny[edit]

Nice as Fuck[edit]

Other appearances[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Jenny Lewis Biography". Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "UPI Almanac for Monday, Jan. 8, 2018". United Press International. January 8, 2018. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2019. …singer Jenny Lewis in 1976 (age 42)
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Rilo Kiley biography". Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  4. ^ Strauss, Matthew. "Jenny Lewis's Band Nice as Fuck Surprise Release New Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 30, 2016.
  5. ^ "Jenny Lewis Biography (1977-)". 1977-01-07. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  6. ^ Ayers, Michael D. "Jenny Lewis Is Tired of Being in a Band". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  7. ^ Empire, Kitty (2008-10-11). "Jenny's junior showtime". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
  8. ^ Per Malitz, David, Deputy Features Editor, The Washington Post: @malitzd (September 6, 2019). "Jenny Lewis tonight said" (Tweet). Archived from the original on December 16, 2019 – via Twitter. "...her 23andMe results confirmed she’s 90% Ashkenazi Jewish."
  9. ^ The First We Girls Can Do Anything Barbie Slogan Commercial. 80s Commercials Forever. August 15, 2009. Archived from the original on 2017-03-08. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Vintage 80s Baby Skates Commercial with Jenny Lewis & Emily Schulman. 80s Commercials Forever. July 30, 2009. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Jenny Lewis kid Toys r us. RiloKiley77. March 15, 2006. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17. Retrieved 23 March 2019 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "YouTube". Archived from the original on 2013-02-11. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  13. ^ Card Sharks – Jenny Lewis (Aug. 6, 1987)]. Chad Mosher. December 17, 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-11-17 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "The Blue-Eyed Soul of Jenny Lewis". NPR. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  15. ^ Saroyan, Strawberry (September 2007). Solid Gold. SPIN Magazine. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  16. ^ Dahlen, Chris (August 15, 2004). "Rilo Kiley More Adventurous > Review". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  17. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. "Rilo Kiley Seem to Have Broken Up". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Jenny Lewis talks breaking up the band, messaging Ryan Adams on Twitter and dealing with insomnia". National Post. Canada. 2014-07-30. Archived from the original on 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2014-07-30.
  19. ^ Roy, Jessica. "I Like That Bitch's Life: How Jenny Lewis Was a Twee Teen's Dream". New York. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  20. ^ Michael Endelman (2006-01-27). "Jenny Lewis". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  21. ^ Hiatt, Brian (February 9, 2006). "Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins Rabbit Fur Coat > Review". Rolling Stone. No. 993. p. 62. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 4 October 2012. Posted on February 7, 2006.
  22. ^ Battaglia, Andy; Christopher Bahn; Jason Heller; Josh Modell; Keith Phipps; Kyle Ryan; Marc Hawthorne; Nathan Rabin; Noel Murray; Scott Gordon; Sean ONeal; Steven Hyden (2006-12-19). "Best Music Of 2006". The Onion A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  23. ^ Ochs, Meredith (2006-12-05). "Top Ten CDs of 2006". NPR. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  24. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2006 The SPIN Staff". Spin. 2006-12-14. Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
  25. ^ McEvers, Kelly. "Rainbow in the Dark: Jenny Lewis on staring down sadness". NPR. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  26. ^ "Just One of the Guys". iTunes. 1977-01-08. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
  27. ^ "Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart Breakdance for Jenny Lewis Video 'Just One of the Guys'". Rolling Stone. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  28. ^ "Jenny Lewis Announces On the Line Album Details, Releases "Red Bull & Hennessy"". Spin. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  29. ^ "Hear Jenny Lewis' Smoldering New Song 'Red Bull and Hennessy'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  30. ^ Richards, Will (March 29, 2023). "Jenny Lewis announces new album 'Joy'All' with new single 'Psychos'". NME. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  31. ^ "Jenny Lewis releases new solo album Joy'All" (Press release). Blue Note Records. June 9, 2023. Retrieved June 18, 2023.
  32. ^ "Pop & Hiss goes to the movies: Jenny Lewis gets a dose of Disney optimism with 'Bolt'". Pop & Hiss. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
  33. ^ Choi, Sarah (2014-06-26). "Jenny Lewis Scores for the Screen in 'Very Good Girls' (Now out on VOD!)". Tribeca Film. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  34. ^ "Listen: Jenny Lewis' new song "Completely Not Me", from HBO Girls' soundtrack"". 2014-01-13. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  35. ^ "She & Him (M. Ward + Zooey Deschanel) Announce a New Christmas Album Featuring Jenny Lewis". Under the Radar. 2016-09-15. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  36. ^ "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert – Season 4 Episode 171". Rotten Tomatoes.
  37. ^ Aniftos, Rania (October 28, 2019). "Jenny Lewis Appears in New Archie Comics Issue". Billboard. Retrieved January 11, 2022.
  38. ^ "Harry Styles Announces 2020 Tour". Rolling Stone. 2019-11-13.
  39. ^ "Jenny Lewis on the Postal Service, Touring with Ben Gibbard and LP 'Joy'All'". 2 October 2023.
  40. ^ "Jenny Lewis Forms New Band". Pitchfork. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Jenny Lewis Forms New Band NAF (Nice as Fuck) With Members of Au Revoir Simone, The Like". Stereogum. 6 April 2016. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  42. ^ "Jenny Lewis's Band Nice as Fuck Surprise Release New Album". Pitchfork. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  43. ^ Blistein, Jon (2019-01-24). "Vampire Weekend Return After Six Years With 'Harmony Hall,' '2021'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-06-21.

External links[edit]