Jewel (singer)

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Jewel at Yahoo Yodel 2009
Background information
Birth nameJewel Kilcher
Born(1974-05-23) May 23, 1974 (age 38)
Payson, Utah, United States
OriginHomer, Alaska, United States
GenresPop, folk, rock, country
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, guitarist, actress, poet
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, autoharp
Years active1993–present
LabelsAtlantic, Valory
Notable instruments
Taylor 912-C[1]
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Jewel at Yahoo Yodel 2009
Background information
Birth nameJewel Kilcher
Born(1974-05-23) May 23, 1974 (age 38)
Payson, Utah, United States
OriginHomer, Alaska, United States
GenresPop, folk, rock, country
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, guitarist, actress, poet
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, autoharp
Years active1993–present
LabelsAtlantic, Valory
Notable instruments
Taylor 912-C[1]

Jewel Kilcher (born May 23, 1974),[2] professionally known as Jewel, is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, actress and poet. She has received four Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 27 million albums worldwide.[3]

Jewel's debut album, Pieces of You, released on February 28, 1995, became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, going 15 times platinum. One single from the album, "Who Will Save Your Soul", peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100; two others, "You Were Meant for Me" and "Foolish Games", reached number two and seven respectively on the Hot 100, and were listed on Billboard's 1997 year-end singles chart. She has crossed multiple genres throughout her career. Perfectly Clear, her first country album, was released on The Valory Music Co. in 2008. It debuted atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and featured three singles, "Stronger Woman", "I Do", and "Til It Feels Like Cheating". Jewel released her first independent album Lullaby in May 2009.

Jewel is the co-host, as well as a judge, with Kara DioGuardi on the songwriting competition reality television series Platinum Hit, which premiered May 30, 2011 on the cable network Bravo. Jewel has the vocal range of a lyric soprano.[4]


Early years

Jewel was born in Payson, Utah. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Homer, Alaska, where her grandfather Yule Kilcher, a delegate to the Alaska State Constitutional Convention and a state senator, had settled after immigrating from Switzerland.[5][6] Yule also made the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield.[7] Jewel is a first cousin once removed of actress Q'orianka Kilcher.[8] She spent most of her young life in Homer, living with her father, Atz Kilcher.[9] The home she grew up in did not have indoor plumbing; it had a simple outhouse instead.[10] The Kilcher family is featured on the Discovery Channel show Alaska: The Last Frontier, which chronicles their day to day struggles living in the Alaskan wilderness. Jewel and her father sometimes earned a living by singing in bars and taverns. It was from these experiences she learned to yodel, as demonstrated in many of her songs. Her father was a Mormon, but they stopped attending the church shortly before she turned eight.[11]

Jewel learned to play the guitar while at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, where she majored in operatic voice. She started writing songs at the age of 16.[12] While at school, she would sometimes play at Ray's Coffee House in Traverse City, Michigan.[citation needed]

For a time, Jewel lived in her van while traveling around the country doing street performances and small gigs.[13] She gained some recognition by singing at the Innerchange Coffeehouse and Java Joe's in San Diego, California.[14] (Jewel made her debut at Java Joe's when it was in Poway, where she was a barista). Her friend Steve Poltz's band, The Rugburns, played the same venues.[15] Jewel later collaborated with Poltz on some of her songs, including "You Were Meant for Me" (he also appeared in the second, better-known video for this song). The Rugburns opened for Jewel on her Tiny Lights tour in 1997, and Poltz appeared in Jewel's band on the Spirit World Tour 1999 playing guitar.[16]

Music career


Jewel was discovered by Inga Vainshtein in August 1994, when John Hogan, the lead singer from a local San Diego (California, United States) band, Rust, called to tell her about a girl surfer who sang at a local coffee shop on Thursdays. Vainshtein drove to Innerchange coffee shop with a rep from Atlantic Records, and after the show they called Danny Goldberg, the head of Atlantic Record's west coast operations.[17] Goldberg offered to pay for Jewel to record some of her songs.[citation needed] Vainshtein, a former Paramount studio executive, became Jewel's manager and was instrumental in creating a major bidding war, which led to Jewel's deal with Atlantic Records[18] and her subsequent appearance on the cover of Time, the first ever by an Atlantic artist.[19] Her first studio recording session was with Bruce Robb, who produced, engineered, and mixed her demos.

She cut her debut album, Pieces of You, in 1995 when she was 21.[20] It was recorded in a studio on Neil Young's ranch, and was backed by his band, The Stray Gators. The album was produced by Ben Keith, who played steel guitar in Neil's band. Part of the album was cut live at the Innerchange Coffeehouse in San Diego. The album stayed on the Billboard 200 for two years, reaching number four at its peak.[21] The album spawned the popular hits "You Were Meant for Me", "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "Foolish Games". The album eventually sold more than 12 million copies in the United States alone.[citation needed]


Jewel performing for US troops in 2000.

Jewel was chosen to sing the American national anthem at the opening of the Super Bowl XXXII in January 1998 in San Diego. She was introduced as "San Diego's own Jewel!" However, she was criticized for lip syncing the anthem to a digitally recorded track of her own voice. This was especially noticeable due to her missing her cue and not mouthing the first words. Super Bowl producers have since admitted that they attempt to have all performers pre-record their vocals.[22] She performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" again in the 2003 NBA Finals in one of the New Jersey Nets' home games.

Jewel parted ways with her original manager, Inga Vainshtein, in February 1998. At the time, she was in talks with Daniel Lanois about producing what would have become her second album. However, upon letting Vainshtein go, and handing her career management to her mother, she abruptly changed creative direction, and instead of Lanois, ended up going with Patrick Leonard, who created a much more pop album.[citation needed] Many believe that going in a more pop direction alienated her core fan base, resulting in much lower sales. Spirit was released in November 1998. The album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 4 million copies in the United States.[citation needed] The song "Hands" hit No. 6 on the Hot 100. Other singles followed, a new version of "Jupiter (Swallow the Moon)", "What's Simple Is True", the theme song to her upcoming movie, and the charity single "Life Uncommon".[23]

A year later, in November 1999, Jewel released Joy: A Holiday Collection. The album sold over a million copies and peaked at No. 32 on the Billboard 200. She released a cover of "Joy to the World" from the album as a single.[24]

In November 2001, the album This Way was released. The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 1.5 million copies in the U.S.. A song from the album, "Standing Still", hit the Top 30. Other singles released were "Break Me", "This Way" and "Serve the Ego", the latter giving Jewel her first number-one club hit.[25]


In 2003, Jewel released the album 0304. Following the limited success of "Serve the Ego", Jewel moved to a more pop-oriented sound with the release of the single "Intuition". The song reached No. 5 on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26]

Goodbye Alice in Wonderland

On May 2, 2006, Jewel released her sixth album, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland. The album received mixed reviews, but still managed to debut at No. 8 on the Billboard Albums Chart and sold 82,000 copies in its first week.[27] The lead single "Again and Again" had success on Adult Top 40 Radio, peaking at No. 16.[28] The second single, "Good Day", was released to radio in late June and peaked at No. 30 on the Adult Pop Songs charts. A video for "Stephenville, TX", her next single, was seen on Yahoo! Launch.[29] After a photo shoot at her Texas ranch, Jewel spontaneously decided to have photographer Kurt Markus shoot the music video for the song "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland". According to a single review appearing in the Market Wire business journal, widely duplicated in publicity material by her PR team,"The homegrown clip beautifully reflects both the song's organic, intimate sound and its powerfully autobiographical story."[30]

As of December 2006, the album had barely sold over 270,000 copies,[31] making it the first Jewel album not to quickly achieve Gold certification. CMT music critic Timothy Duggan praised the album: "This album showcases Jewel's unique talent as a lyricist, alongside a definite growth in her musicianship. It is what Pieces of You might have been had Jewel had the musical knowledge then that she has now. A very satisfying work, all in all."[32] Rolling Stone however, called the album "overdone and undercooked" with a rating of 2 stars out of 5.[33] Up to now, the album has only sold over 377,000 copies.

Jewel released a video for the new song "Quest for Love" as the lead single from the movie Arthur and the Invisibles. The song is only available on the soundtrack for the film, which was released January 2007.[34]

Perfectly Clear

In early February 2007, Jewel recorded a duet with Jason Michael Carroll, "No Good in Goodbye", that was featured on Carroll's debut CD, Waitin' in the Country. She also made a promotional appearance on the T in Boston for the Verizon Yellow Pages, playing songs on a moving subway car and then doing an hour-long acoustic concert in South Station.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Jewel stated that she is no longer affiliated with a record label, confirming rumors that Atlantic Records failed to renew her contract after the lackluster sales of her then-latest album. She also hinted that she would like to do a country album next.[35] She is working with John Rich of Big & Rich fame. He says that she is "probably one of the greatest American singer-songwriters we have had." He also said that "every label in Nashville" was talking to her at the time.[36]

In November 2007, Jewel was signed to Valory Records, a newly formed division of the independent Big Machine Records label.[37] Her first country album, Perfectly Clear, was released on June 3, 2008, selling 48,000 units in its first week. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and No. 8 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart.[38] In its second week on the charts, the album dropped to No. 25 on the Billboard 200 and No. 5 on the Country Albums chart, with estimated second week sales of 75,000 units.[citation needed]

Its lead single, "Stronger Woman", was released to country radio on January 17, 2008, and entered the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. On the April 26, 2008, country charts it peaked at No. 13. The next single, "I Do", released to radio on June 23, 2008. The video for the single featured her cowboy husband, Ty Murray. This song peaked at No. 28. Following it was "Till It Feels Like Cheating" which peaked at No. 57.[citation needed]

Perfectly Clear was released in Australia in late May 2009. It was then released across Europe by Humphead Records in June 2009.


Jewel being interviewed at Yahoo! event in 2009.

In early 2009, it was announced that Jewel would release a new studio album titled Lullaby, a collection of lullabies, which she described as "not just for children, but also adults". Its lead single, "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", was released on iTunes on March 17, 2009. The album was released on May 5, 2009. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was No. 1 on The Top Children's Songs the week of release.

She also recorded a duet, "Make It Last", with R&B singer Tyrese in conjunction with the release of his comic book, Mayhem!. It was intended to be used for the soundtrack to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen but did not appear on the final tracklisting.[39]

Sweet and Wild

In January 2010, Jewel released "Stay Here Forever", from the soundtrack to the film Valentine's Day. It also served as the lead-off single to Jewel's ninth studio album Sweet and Wild released on June 8, 2010.[40] The single debuted at No. 48 on the Hot Country Songs chart and reached No. 34 in May 2010. "Satisfied" was released as the album's second single on May 17, 2010, reaching its highest peak of No. 57. On October 10, 2010 Jewel released the third single from Sweet and Wild, "Ten". It made its debut on the Hot Country Songs Chart at No. 55 on the week of October 15, 2010 and peaked at No. 51 two weeks later.

The Merry Goes 'Round

Jewel's second children's album, The Merry Goes 'Round was released in August 2011.[41] It is the second album released by Jewel under the Fisher-Price label.[citation needed]

Greatest Hits

On October 16, 2012, Jewel announced via Twitter a Greatest Hits album would be released in 2013.[42] The album features new duets from Kelly Clarkson and the Pistol Annies. Jewel and Clarkson recorded a fresh rendition of Jewel's song "Foolish Games" while Jewel and the Pistol Annies re-cut "You Were Meant for Me".[43] The Greatest Hits album was released February 5, 2013.

Musical equipment and technique

Owning a wide variety of Taylor Guitars, Jewel uses a Taylor 912-C most often.[1] Acoustic Guitar writer Jeffery Pepper Rodgers called the guitar her "steady companion".[1]

All of her guitars are strung with D'Addario products.[1] To strum, she employs a unique self-created fingerpicking technique or a hard pick.[1]

Film and theater

Jewel starred in the 1999 Ang Lee film Ride with the Devil.[44] Jewel also starred as Dorothy in the 1995 "Dreams Come True" production of The Wizard of Oz.[45] She had a cameo as herself in Walk Hard.[46] In June 2012 Jewel was cast in the lead role as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime original movie The June Carter Cash Story.[47]


1995VH1's VH1 Duets
In an episode led by Melissa Etheridge, Jewel and Melissa sang together on the songs "Baby You Can Sleep While I Drive", and "Foolish Games". She also sang with Melissa Etheridge, Paula Cole, Joan Osborne, and Sophie B. Hawkins in a performance of Joan Armatrading's "Love and Affection."
1996MTV's "MTV 120 Minutes"Performed Acoustic version of "Absence of Fear"
1998Saturday Night LiveHost with Joan Allen
2002VH1's Rock and Roll Hall of FamePerformer, sang duet of Here Comes the Sun with Rob Thomas. Read introduction to Brenda Lee, one of the inductees.[48]
2003VH1's 2003 Diva DuetsPerformer, sang duet of Proud Mary with Beyoncé Knowles.[49]
The Lyon's Den
Rob Lowe's ex
2006The Young and the Restless
Performed at a fund raiser hosted by characters Nick and Sharon Newman to mark the first anniversary of their teenage daughter's death in a drunk-driving accident.
CMT Country Music Awards
Presented with Ty Murray
7th Heaven
Neighbor to characters Kevin Kinkirk and Lucy Camden, sang her song "Good Day" for Lucy's baby who couldn't go to sleep.
Las VegasSang three songs from Goodbye Alice in Wonderland.
Men in TreesSang the song Good Day with a character of Men in Trees.
2007American Idol
Herself, Guest-Judge
American Idol, Season 6 Guest-Judge for the season six premiere / auditions in Minneapolis.
Nashville Star
Co-host with Cowboy Troy.[50]
Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race
ABC reality television series featuring a dozen celebrities (including Ty Murray) in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, Jewel matched up against former NBA player John Salley and WWE wrestler John Cena.[51]
Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding ChallengeAmerican celebrity reality television show on CMT in which nine celebrities from across the board spend 10 days learning how to ride bulls with retired rodeo star Ty Murray for the PBR Jack Daniels Invitational in Nashville, Tennessee.
2008CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (season 8)
Episode Bull - Sang the U.S. National Anthem in a rodeo
Nashville Star, Season 6
The show has moved to NBC this season. Jewel is a judge, along with John Rich and Jeffrey Steele, and hosted by Country music singer, Billy Ray Cyrus.
2010Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Guest host on the February 22 edition along with her husband Ty Murray.
Funny or Die
Karen, Herself
Sang in a karaoke bar as Karen, a frumpy office worker, before revealing her true identity.
America's Got Talent The Finale: Results
Performed a duet with America's Got Talent's contestant finalist: Michael Grimm.
2011Platinum Hit
2013Howard TV
Performed Acoustic version of Howard Sterns ‘Silver Nickels and Golden Dimes’.


Dancing With the Stars

On February 8, 2009, it was announced that she would appear on the eighth season of Dancing With the Stars alongside new pro Dmitry Chaplin, which she did primarily as a bet against husband Ty Murray. However, five days before the season premiere, she suffered stress fractures in the tibia of both legs, and was forced to withdraw.[53]


Jewel published a book of poetry titled A Night Without Armor in 1998. Although it sold over 1 million copies and was a The New York Times Best Seller list, it received mixed reviews.[54] During an MTV interview in 1998, Kurt Loder pointed out the incorrect usage in her book of poetry of the word "casualty" (intended as something to the effect of "of a casual nature") to which Jewel responded, "You're a smartass for pointing that out. Next topic." In the fall of '98, the poet Beau Sia composed a book-length response to "A Night Without Armor" entitled "A Night Without Armor II: the Revenge."[55] The reviewer Edna Gundersen, writing in USA Today, noted, "Hers is flowery and sensitive. His is wry and absurd."[56]

Jewel went on to write an autobiography titled Chasing Down the Dawn in 2000, a collection of diary entries and musings detailing her life growing up in Alaska, her struggle to learn her craft and life on the road.[57]

Jewel was scheduled to release a third book called Love Poems, which was supposed to be an extremely intimate portrayal of her relationship with her boyfriend, Ty Murray. It was canceled several months before release because Jewel was worried about Murray's mother's reaction to her intimate confessions.[58]


In 1995 Jewel played Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True, a musical performance of the popular story at Lincoln Center to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. The performance was originally broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT), and issued on CD and video in 1996.[citation needed]

She formed a nonprofit organization called Higher Ground for Humanity with her mother, Lenedra J. Carroll, and her older brother, Shane Kilcher. The organization's focus is education, sustainable improvements, and building alliances with like-minded organizations.[59] Jewel donates a portion of her income to the organization and often holds events to benefit the organization.[60] The organization tends to parallel Jewel's career since she provides the majority of the organization's funding. As of 2005, the activities of the organization were reduced.[citation needed] One early grantee was the Global Youth Action Network, which has become one of the largest youth movements around the United Nations.

In September 2006, as part of Lifetime's "Stop Breast Cancer for Life" campaign, Jewel delivered more than 12 million petition signatures to Capitol Hill, urging Congress to pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2005 (S 910/HR1849). The bill would ban the practice of "drive-through" mastectomies, when women are discharged from the hospital just hours after their surgeries.[61]

Jewel served as the honorary chairperson of the 2006 Help the Homeless Walk in Washington, DC.[62]

Project Clean Water: Celebrity Lyrics Auction

In November 2008, Jewel began work on a project with several dozen singer-songwriters to write and auction their lyrics with donations benefiting her "Project Clean Water" charity.[63] Many singers and songwriters besides herself have donated their written lyrics including, Patrick Davis, Alabama's Randy Owen, John Mellencamp, Jason Mraz, Gretchen Wilson, and Marv Green. The majority of the lyrics were written on paper and signed by the songwriter, with the exception of Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl". Many of the artists as well as writing lyrics (and their signature), also drew pictures to illustrate their lyrics.[citation needed] The auction ran from December 1, 2008 to December 18, 2008, promoted by CMT and Virgin Music.[64] Some of the lyrics that were up for auction included hits such as "So Small", "Foolish Games", "I'm Yours", "I Kissed a Girl", "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)", "Live Like You Were Dying", "I Don't Need a Man", "Superman (It's Not Easy)" and "Redneck Woman".[65] The auction officially ended on December 18, with the highest bought lyrics being Jewel's signature song "You Were Meant For Me" sold for $1,505,[citation needed] and "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "Hands", raising more than $1,005 each.[citation needed] Jewel promised that all items sold by December 18 will be delivered by Christmas.[66] After the majority of the auctions ended on December 18 two new lyrics by Craig Wiseman and Ernie Ashworth were put up for auction ending in January 2009.[67]

Personal life

Jewel married pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray on August 7, 2008 in the Bahamas after 10 years together.[68] Their son, Kase Townes Murray, was born on July 11, 2011.[69]



Studio Albums



Major tours


YearAward-giving BodyAwardResult
1996MTV Video Music AwardsBest Female Video - Who Will Save Your SoulNominated
MTV Video Music AwardsBest New ArtistNominated
1997American Music AwardsFavorite New ArtistWon
American Music AwardsFavorite Pop/Rock ArtistNominated
VH1 Vogue Fashion AwardsMost Fashionable Video: Foolish GamesNominated
Grammy AwardsBest New ArtistNominated
Grammy AwardsBest Female Pop Vocal Performance - Who Will Save Your SoulNominated
MTV Video Music AwardsBest Female Video - "You Were Meant For Me"Won
MTV Video Music AwardsViewer's Choice — You Were Meant For MeNominated
MTV Video Music AwardVideo Of The Year — You Were Meant For MeNominated
Billboard MagazineNo. 1 Female Singles Artist Of The YearWon
Billboard MagazineTop 40 Artist Of The YearWon
1998American Music AwardsFavorite Female ArtistNominated
American Music AwardsFavorite LP - Pieces of YouNominated
Grammy AwardsBest Female Pop Vocal Performance - Foolish GamesNominated
1999Blockbuster Music AwardsFavorite Female ArtistWon
Audie AwardBest Spoken Word Album — A Night Without ArmorWon
Governor's AwardSongwriting AwardWon
2003Radio Music AwardsFavorite Female Artist — Modern RockWon
Regis & Kelly AwardsFavorite Musical GuestWon
2010American Country AwardsFemale Artist of the YearNominated
Grammy AwardsFemale Country Vocal — SatisfiedNominated


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External links