Music & Arts
Meet Jennifer Newberry, aka SWEEDiSH, a Swedish-American MusicianApril 13, 2017
Since she was 6, Swedish-American actress and music artist Jennifer Newberry has been entertaining the world.
Today, Newberry is a music entrepreneur based in Los Angeles who goes by SWEEDiSH. Her music has been featured on the hit FOX television show “Empire,” top-spinning EDM records and she even wrote a song for Gwen Stefani, though she ended up holding it for herself (which was released last week in her EP debut, “Runaway”).
From jamming with J. Lo’s bassist in L.A. to performing at The Apollo Theatre in New York City, Newberry has shown that with hard work, dedication and putting yourself out there, anyone can reach their dreams.
A Young Swedish Star on the Rise
Newberry was born in Alabama, but moved to Sweden at the age of 3. She grew up in a small town about three-and-a-half hours north of Stockholm with her mom and stepdad, who introduced her to the spotlight.
“My mother was a singer, and I would tag along with her during her rehearsals and performances,” Newberry said. “And my stepdad was a theatre director.”
While Newberry is known for her work in music, theatre was her first love. She starred in one of her stepdad’s plays at just 6, and shortly after, Newberry regularly was featured on a Swedish children’s show called “Play Easy.”
“At first all I wanted to do was act, but everyone around me encouraged the singing,” Newberry said. And so I started participating in choirs in and outside of school, writing music and of course, performing in theatre.”
Growing up in a small town where everyone knew each other, it didn’t take long for Newberry’s talent to get noticed. Just after graduating high school, she was signed to a local record label where she recorded her own music and sang back-up vocals on other artist’s albums.
“This was such a cool opportunity for me and at such a young age,” she said. “Yes, it was a small town, but they were recording for really popular artists at the time,” like Lutricia McNeal and Melinda Wrede.
Not long after, she appeared on Season 2 of the popular European music competition, Melodifestivalen, when she sang “Ingenting Ingenting (Nothing Nothing)”.
Pursuing Music in the U.S.
After Melodifestivalen, Newberry moved to Seattle, where her father lived, for a year before she left for New York City.
“I moved to New York by myself with just $300, working so hard and craving to do something with music,” Newberry said.
She lived just a few blocks from the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem and was encouraged to audition by her boyfriend at the time. In 2005, she performed on an episode of “Showtime at the Apollo” and even appeared as a guest performer on “Good Morning
In New York, Newberry felt she grew as much as a musician could and decided to move back to Seattle to be near family. For the next seven years, she worked as a singer in cover bands and continuing to write her own music.
Then came “The Voice.”
In 2013, Newberry auditioned to be on “The Voice.” She appeared on an episode that aired during Season 5, when she sang Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven”. Unfortunately, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton or CeeLo Green turned their chairs around.
A year later, Newberry made her way to Los Angeles and continued writing and playing music in every way possible as a solo artist, in bands and collaborating with others. L.A. also is where she took the initiative to work as an independent artist.
“The music industry is set up so that you have to go through a record label,” Newberry said. “I was stubborn though, and I wanted to do it on my own, or as much I possibly could.”
And that she did.
Newberry went to the Musicians Institute on Hollywood Boulevard and completed its Independent Artist Program, where she learned everything from music marketing to creating her own album and brand.
She released her first album, “Inspiration of the Rain,” in 2011 on her birthday as a gift to herself.
She continues to write and promote her music as SWEEDiSH and encourages others who share her passion to do the same.
“For anyone trying to do their own thing, keep doing it and be who you are,” Newberry said. “Put yourself out there and don’t wait around for others to do it for you.”