The career path of a child star is all but predetermined. Fast success, a rehab stint here or there and eventually fade into obscurity, only to reappear years later on a reality show (or “docuseries”) du jour. But Jenny Lewis is no cliché. For the better part of the last two decades, Lewis has served as queen of the indie-rock scene. Her résumé includes a chart-topping band (Rilo Kiley, for the uninformed), two solo albums and a vocal contribution to The Postal Service. Not bad for someone who starred in “Troop Beverly Hills.”

Four years after her last release, a collaborative album with boyfriend Johnathan Rice, Lewis is gearing up to go solo once again with her new album, “The Voyager,” due out in July. Friday afternoon’s set at Governors Ball, held on Randall’s Island in New York, was something of a coming-out party for the new tunes. “I haven’t played that many shows with my new band, and we played two pretty big festivals within our first five shows,” said Lewis post-performance. “It’s a good way to get to know someone.”

This story first appeared in the June 10, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The Voyager” has been four years in the making, a labor-intensive process that included several rewrites and revisions. “I recorded so many versions of the record that I actually wanted to call the album ‘Versions,’” says Lewis. “I was feeling weird and wasn’t sleeping well. I just couldn’t get it together.”

Eventually, Lewis found the missing link in musician Ryan Adams. “I DM’d him on Twitter and was like, ‘Hey Ryan…can I come record a song in your awesome new studio?’” she says. “He invited me to record one song, and by the end of the day he asked if I wanted to recut my whole record. He’s got a lot of energy, that dude. He has a real philosophy about music. I dig it.”

Lewis herself is not without musical philosophy. During her hour-long set at Governors Ball, the singer bounced around her extensive discography, playing brand new songs alongside Rilo Kiley deep cuts. “I understand what an audience wants to hear, and ultimately, I’m an entertainer,” she says. “People love the older songs. Obviously. I love the older songs when I go see a band. I want to hear something I f–king know.” Are there any songs she’ll never play again? “No. There are no rules. There never were any rules. If I want to play it, there’s a little part of me in that song and I should be able to play it.” A quick pause. “Well, ‘Glendora,’” she says, referring to a particularly upbeat ditty off of Rilo Kiley’s first EP. “I will never play that song. I was 19 when I wrote it….It’s so silly. It’s a weird poem.”

As Lewis’ lyrical prose has evolved over the years, so has her personal style. “I used to wear jeans and a T-shirt. I never wore skirts or dresses,” says the self-proclaimed tomboy. “I was so shy that I never felt comfortable showing my legs. When I became more confident from being in a band, I started to feel that I could really own it.”

For Friday’s set, Lewis donned a new look — a white suit with a rainbow motif airbrushed on by artist Adam Siegel. The ensemble is also Lewis’ getup on the upcoming album cover. “He f–king killed it,” says Lewis, examining her colorful blazer. “For this record, I really wanted to wear a suit. I felt kind of androgynous.”

A giant cheer coming from the festival’s main stage momentarily halted the conversation. Phoenix was finishing up their set with “Lisztomania.” “Oh s–t!” says Lewis, briefly swaying to the beat. “There is music happening. I kind of forgot. Music fests can be kind of distracting.”

Lewis was skipping out on the next two days of the festival, for good reason. She had been invited to the White House. “Oh, P.S., I’m going bowling at the White House,” she says, laughing and incredulous. “I don’t know who invited me — a mysterious e-mail just appeared.”

This would not be her first trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, however. “I went in 2008 for a slam poetry competition, which was not in my area of expertise,” she explains. “I went with Conor [Oberst] and we got all dressed up, but no one knew who we were. Arcade Fire was also there, so everyone thought we were in the band. [Conor and I] were like, ‘Sure, we play the strings….’”

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