Sleeper is composed of Louise Wener (vocals, guitar), Jon Stewart (guitar), Andy Maclure (drums), and Diid Osman (bass). Wener and Stewart met while studying politics at school in Manchester, England. Relocating to London, the two recruited Osman and Maclure and began playing Wener's original songs. The group made its debut in 1993, which led to a series of positive reviews in the British music weeklies. By November of 1993, they had released the independent single "Alice in Vain." In February 1994, the band released "Swallow," which charted in the Top 100; the following May, "Delicious" was released and became a number one independent single. Also in May, Sleeper supported Blur on the London band's enormously successful Parklife tour. In February 1995, Sleeper released their debut album Smart, which entered the U.K. album chart at number five and the independent chart at number one; it would be certified silver in four months. Smart was released in the U.S. in March to positive reviews, but it failed to duplicate the band's British commercial success. In the late spring of 1996, Sleeper released their second album, The It Girl. Thanks to the singles "What Do I Do Now?," "Sale of the Century," and "Nice Guy Eddie" — the last two reached number ten — The It Girl became Sleeper's biggest hit.
Sleeper quickly followed The It Girl with Pleased to Meet You in October 1997, but the album failed to generate a hit, and the group soon disbanded. Wener turned to writing, publishing a memoir called Different for Girls in 2010.
Sleeper reunited for a Brit-pop festival in 2017, a one-shot gig that spawned a subsequent tour in 2018. Soon the band headed into the studio with their old producer Stephen Street and recorded The Modern Age, which appeared in April 2019.