Jenny Lewis: The Soundtrack of My Life |


Jenny Lewis: The Soundtrack of My Life

With her excellent new solo album, ''The Voyager,'' in stores now, the former child star and Rilo Kiley frontwoman, 38, talks Bob Dylan, dutchies, and making out to Heavy D

The First Song I Was Obsessed With
”’King Tut’ by Steve Martin. Apparently I sang it on The Gong Show when I was a little child. I can’t remember it all, but I do know that my babysitter at the time was also on the show. She was a female Elvis impersonator and she got gonged quickly. I was not, because how do you gong a 2-year-old?”

The First Record I Bought
”’Pass the Dutchie’ by Musical Youth. I don’t think I realized at the time what it was. Technically it’s a Dutch oven, but clearly it’s about grass.”

The First Song I Ever Sang In Public
”This isn’t counting showbiz, because I’d been singing on camera since I was a tiny kid. But I was in a band in high school called Soulfish, which is the most ’90s band name ever. We were primarily a Jimi Hendrix cover band, so I believe it was ‘Red House,’ at my friend’s 16th-birthday party.”

The Song That Reminds Me Of My First Kiss
”I was going to Pacoima Junior High [in the San Fernando Valley], and I was dared to make out with this kid Timothy. The song playing in the background was Heavy D, ‘Overweight Lovers in the House.’ I did not remember that until literally just now. Thank you, Kyle.”

The Song I Wish I’d Written
”Anything from Bob Dylan’s catalog. That’d be pretty impressive if I busted out ‘Tangled Up in Blue.”’ [Laughs]

The Song That Makes Me Cry
”This is embarrassing to admit, but I cry a lot when I’m writing songs. I think it’s the catharsis. When I was tracking The Voyager, I was teaching the string players the changes, and I was so embarrassed because I was sobbing. I didn’t know these people, and it was such a weird feeling, so I turned my back to them.”

The Music I Listen To Before I Go On Stage
”It’s always reggae or dub music — the sentiment, just the positivity. But there’s another song that kind of riles me up in a different way. This is terrible: I stole a cassette from Adam Horovitz’s [a.k.a. Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys] house. The first song on side B was ‘Before They Make Me Run,’ that Stones song that Keith sings. I didn’t even know about the Rolling Stones aside from ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ because of that Whoopi Goldberg movie, and that kind of changed me musically. I was like, ‘What is this guy on? It’s amazing!’ You just feel f—ing cool when you listen to it.”

The Song I Love That Might Surprise People
”I guess I would go with Compton’s Most Wanted’s ‘Hood Took Me Under.’ For me, growing up in the Valley at that time, Compton was pretty close geographically, but really far away. To think that while I was walking around the mall in Panorama City, people were getting shot on the streets. I was a white kid from the suburbs; I don’t know why I connected with that song so deeply.”

The Song I Want Played At My Funeral
”I’ve thought about what I want on my epitaph: ‘I could probably live here,’ inspired by Charles Bukowski’s epitaph, which is ‘Don’t try.’ But there’s this one song that I think I would like to be played at both my wedding and my funeral, and it also happens to be the alarm on my iPhone that I wake up to every morning. It’s an absolutely perfect song by this guy Bobby Charles called ‘I Must Be in a Good Place Now.’ That just sums it up: Wherever you are, enjoy it.”