Lewis performing in 2014
|Jennifer Diane Lewis|
|Born||January 8, 1976|
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Origin||San Fernando Valley, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative country, indie folk|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, guitar, bass, harmonica|
|Labels||Team Love, Warner Bros., Brute/Beaute, Saddle Creek, Barsuk|
The Postal Service
The Watson Twins
Jenny and Johnny
Nice as Fuck
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. 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.
Lewis made her professional debut in a Jell-O commercial. She later appeared in commercials for Mattel's Barbie and Baby Skates dolls, Toys "R" Us toy stores, the Black & Decker Popcorn Maker,General Mills' Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Kellogg's Corn Pops, 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, and won $500 but did not win her match.
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 1988 made-for-TV film set in Vienna at the start of the Holocaust, A Friendship in Vienna. She played Beverly D'Angelo's daughter in the 1996 made-for-TV film Sweet Temptation. She continued acting until 1998, although the last released film - Don's Plum, filmed 1995-96 - was not released until 2001.
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." Originally asked to sing back-up vocals by Sennett, Lewis refused to join the band unless she was able to sing lead vocals.
Beginning with a country sound, Rilo Kiley gravitated toward a downbeat indie rock sound, gaining the attention of Warner Bros., who signed the band for the release (via its own imprint, Brute/Beaute Records) 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. The song "Portions for Foxes" was a hit. Rilo Kiley's 2007 album Under the Blacklight was released directly by Warner Bros.
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.
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", 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 "Fernando". The album received positive reviews, with Entertainment Weekly writing, "Consider Lewis the Emmylou Harris of the Silverlake set" and Rolling Stone commenting that "her girlishly seductive vocals are more versatile than ever".The A.V. Club, Spin, and NPR music critic Meredith Ochs named it among the best albums of the year.
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 5 years to complete and is a reflection on Rilo Kiley's break-up and the death of her father. The release of the album was preceded by the single "Just One of the Guys". 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). Lewis also directed the music video.
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.
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.
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 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".
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.
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.
On June 25 2019, Lewis performed "Wasted Youth" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
|1983||It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown||Ruby (voice)||TV|
|1985||The Twilight Zone Segment "If She Dies" (1 Episode)||Sarah (ghost child)||TV|
|1986||Life with Lucy||Becky McGibbon||TV series|
|1987||Trading Hearts||Yvonne Rhonda Nottingham|
|1987||The Golden Girls||Daisy (A Sunshine Cadet)||TV series|
|1987||Uncle Tom's Cabin||Evangeline 'Little Eva' St. Claire||TV|
|1988||Growing Pains||Judy Jones||TV|
|1988||A Friendship in Vienna||Inge Dournenvald||TV|
|1988||My Father, My Son||Maya||TV|
|1988||Who Gets the Friends?||TV|
|1989||Shannon's Deal||Neala Shannon||TV|
|1989||Baywatch||Alex||TV - Shelter Me|
|1989||The Wizard||Haley Brooks||Film|
|1989||Troop Beverly Hills||Hannah Nefler||Film|
|1990||Perry Mason: The Case of the Defiant Daughter||Melanie Benson||TV|
|1991||Brooklyn Bridge||Katie Monahan||TV series|
|1991||Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story||Ellie||TV|
|1992||Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even||Corinne|
|1994||Murder She Wrote - episode "A Murderous Muse"||Leslie Walden||TV|
|1994||Runaway Daughters||Laura Cahn||TV|
|1996||Sweet Temptation||Jade Larson||TV|
|1996||Talk to Me||Kelly Reilly||TV|
|1997||Little Boy Blue||Traci Connor|
|2001||Don's Plum||Sara||Filmed 1995-96|
|2010||American Dad!||Amy||Voice (Merlot Down Dirty Shame)|
|2014||Comedy Bang Bang||Herself||Replacement for Reggie Watts on "Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket", season 3, episode 5; June 5, 2014|
|2015||A Very Murray Christmas||The Waitress||TV - Netflix Original|
|2019||Jenny Lewis' On the Line Online||Host||JennyLewis.com streaming special|