Born in Melbourne and the daughter of an American and Australian, Jodi Phillis returned to America in her infancy, but returned again to Australia to start her schooling. Quitting at the age of 15, she grew very interested in music as well as graphic arts. While working at an Australian company called Mambo as a graphics designer, she was approached by the Clouds to do their artwork, which eventually led to her becoming an integral member of the seminal group. The band produced three albums from 1989 to 1995, but split up in 1996. At that time, Phillis released her debut album Lounge O Sound and received praise for the effort. The singer then joined another group, the Dearhunters, which based its sound around the likes of Wilco and the Cowboy Junkies. The Dearhunters released two albums. In 2001, Phillis released In Dreams I Live, which was nominated for an ARIA award. In 2002, she toured North America.