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Jewel (singer)

Jewel Kilcher (born May 23, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter, actress, and poet, generally known just by her first name, Jewel. She has received three Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 27 million albums worldwide, and almost 20 million in the United States alone.

Kilcher debuted on February 28, 1995 with the album, Pieces of You, which became one of the best selling debut albums of all time, going platinum twelve times. In her career, she has released several albums, usually switching genres between working on her albums. Her most recent album, Perfectly Clear, her first country record, was released on The Valory Music Co. in 2008. It debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and has featured two charted country singles, "Stronger Woman" and "I Do". The latter peaked at #13, and "I Do" has made the Top 40.

Early years

Jewel was born in Payson, Utah, the daughter of Lenedra Carroll, an artist and personal manager, and Atz Kilcher, an elementary school music teacher, folk singer and social worker. Her mother is of Irish descent and her father is of Swiss-German origin. She is the cousin of actress Q'Orianka Kilcher. She spent most of her young life in Homer, Alaska, living with her father. The home she grew up in did not have indoor plumbing; it had a simple outhouse instead. She and her father sometimes earned a living by singing in bars and taverns. It was from these experiences she learned to yodel, a quality demonstrated in many of her songs. Her father was a Mormon, but they stopped attending the church shortly before she turned eight. Yule Kilcher, her grandfather, was a state senator involved in drafting Alaska's constitution for its admission into a state from a territory in 1959.

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 seventeen.

For a time, she was poverty-stricken and lived in her van while traveling about the country doing street performances and small gigs. She gained some recognition by singing at the Innerchange Coffeehouse and Java Joe's in San Diego, California. Her friend Steve Poltz's band, The Rugburns, played the same venues. 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. Poltz appeared in Jewel's band on the Spirit World Tour 1999 playing guitar.

Personal life

Jewel married Ty Murray on August 7, 2008 in the Bahamas after 10 years together. The couple resides in central Texas on a 2,200 acre ranch.

Music career

Early

In 1993, Michael Balzary (better known by the stage name – Flea) of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers met Jewel after he saw her perform at a local cafe. They went back to her van, in which she was living, and she gave a few songs to him. He described her singing voice as being "beautiful" and "breathtaking.

Jewel was discovered by Inga Vainshtein in August 1993, when a musician from a local San Diego band, Rust, whom Vainshtein was managing at the time, 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, and asked him to pay for Jewel's demo. Vainshtein eventually became Jewel's manager, and was instrumental in creating a major bidding war, which led to Jewel's deal with Atlantic Records. Her first studio recording session was with Bruce Robb (producer) who produced, engineered, and mixed her first studio appearance. She cut her debut album, Pieces of You, when she was nineteen and it was released in 1995. Jewel recorded Pieces of You in a studio on Neil Young's ranch, and was backed by his band, The Stray Gators, who played on Neil Young's "Harvest" and "Harvest Moon" albums. The album Pieces of You was produced by Ben Keith, who plays the Steel Guitar for Neil Young. Part of the album was cut live at the Innerchange Coffeehouse in San Diego where she had risen to local fame. The album stayed on the Billboard 200 for an impressive two years, reaching number four at its peak. The album spawned the Top 10 hits "You Were Meant for Me," "Who Will Save Your Soul" and "Foolish Games." The album was a huge success and eventually sold over 12 million copies in the U.S. alone, more than all of her subsequent albums put together.

Peak

Due to her successes, she 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.

In November 1998, Jewel released her second album, Spirit. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 4 million copies in the U.S. The songs "Hands" and "Down So Long" hit the Top 10. 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.

A year later, in November 1999, Jewel released Joy: A Holiday Collection. The album sold over a million copies and peaked at #32 on the Billboard 200. She released a cover of "Joy to the World" from the album.

In November 2001, the album This Way was released. The album peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 1 million copies in the U.S., standing as her most critically acclaimed album to date. Jewel hit the Top 10 with the song "Standing Still" and the Top 40 with the song "Break Me." Other singles released were "This Way" and "Serve the Ego," the latter giving Jewel her first number one club hit.

'0304' (Album) Era

In 2003, Jewel released the album 0304. She writes in the liner notes, "I wanted to make a record that was a modern interpretation of big band music. A record that was lyric driven, like Cole Porter, that also had a lot of swing. And a lot of it is thanks to Lester, because when I told him I wanted to make a record that combined dance, urban, and folk music, he didn't look at me like I was crazy." While some fans considered 0304 an innovative album that held to the tradition of her previous albums, others felt that it was too much of a departure from the style of her previous albums. 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, which strays from her usual folk style with simple guitar instrumentation, starts off with a French accordion and experiments with pop beats using synthesizers. The song was successful, reaching #5 on the Billboard Adult Top 40. However, a number of Jewel's fans criticized her for abandoning her traditional folk style in exchange for a new pop sound. Accusations of "selling out" for personal gain, among other things, were made. Despite the different sound style, the song is lyrically similar to her previous work. It has a number of references to culture, including mentioning celebrities such as pop star Jennifer Lopez, model Kate Moss, magazines, film culture and commercialism.

Goodbye Alice In Wonderland Era

On May 2, 2006, Jewel released her sixth album, Goodbye Alice In Wonderland. The album received mixed reviews, but still managed to debut at #8 on the Billboard Albums Chart. The album sold 82,000 copies in its first week out. The lead single "Again and Again" has had moderate success on Adult Top 40 Radio, peaking at #16. The second single, "Good Day," was released to radio in late June but failed to gain any traction on the radio airplay charts. Recently, a video for "Stephenville, TX," her next single, has been seen on Yahoo! Launch.

As of December 2006, the album barely sold 270,000 copies. It is notable in that it is the only Jewel album not to achieve Gold certification, even though it has been hailed as arguably one of her best albums. As one music critic, Timothy Duggan, notes: "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. Rolling Stone however, called the album "overdone and undercooked" with a rating of 2 stars out of 5.

Currently, Jewel has 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 Arthur and the Invisibles, which was released January 2007.

Country music career

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 for a large crowd of adoring fans. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Jewel confirmed 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. 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.

In November 2007, Jewel was signed to Valory Records, a newly formed division of the independent Big Machine Records label. Her first country album, Perfectly Clear, was released on June 3, 2008, selling 48,000 units in its first week. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and #8 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart (the same position as her previous album, Goodbye Alice In Wonderland, but sold 35,000 fewer units in its first week). In its second week on the charts, the album dropped to #25 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the Country Albums chart, with estimated second week sales of 15,000 units.

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, the single was #13 on the charts, which was its peak position. As of June 12, 2008, the song is no longer in the top 40.

The next single, "I Do," released to radio on June 23, 2008. The video for the single featured her future husband, Ty Murray.

She will tour with Brad Paisley, Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough on Paisley's 2008 tour.

There are two songs from the 0304 album that were subsequently put on later albums. "Fragile Heart" is on the album 0304 as well as the album Goodbye Alice In Wonderland. "2 Become 1" is also on the album 0304 as well as retitled "Two become One" on Perfectly Clear. Both songs were re-recorded in order to fit the general mood of their respective albums.

Film and theatre

Jewel starred in the 1999 Ang Lee film Ride with the Devil. Jewel also starred as Dorothy in the 1995 "Dreams Come True" production of "The Wizard of Oz" (available on VHS). She had a cameo as herself in Walk Hard.

Television

Date Title Role Note
1998 Saturday Night Live
Herself
Host with Joan Allen
2002 VH1's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performer, sang duet of Here Comes the Sun with Rob Thomas. Read introduction to Brenda Lee, one of the inductees.
2003 VH1's 2003 Diva Duets Performer, sang duet of Proud Mary with Beyoncé.
The Lyon's Den
Rob Lowe's ex
2006 The Young and the Restless
Herself
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
Presenter
Presented with Ty Murray
7th Heaven
Herself
Neighbor to characters Kevin Kinkirk and Lucy Camden.
Las Vegas Sang three songs from Goodbye Alice in Wonderland.
Men In Trees Sang the song Good Day with a character of Men in Trees.
2007 American Idol
Herself, Guest-Judge
American Idol, Season 6 Guest-Judge for the season six premiere / auditions in Minneapolis.
Nashville Star
Host
Co-host with Cowboy Troy.
Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race
Herself
ABC reality television series featuring a dozen celebrities (including boyfriend Ty Murray) in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, Jewel matched up against former NBA player John Salley and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler John Cena.
Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge American 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 (Jewel's long time boyfriend) for the PBR Jack Daniels Invitational in Nashville.
2008 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Season 8
Herself
Episode Bull - Sang the US National Anthem in a Rodeo
Nashville Star, Season 6
Judge
The show has moved to NBC this season. Jewel is a judge, along with John Rich and Jeffrey Steele. Country music singer, Billy Ray Cyrus, hosts the season.

Minor

  • Lifetime T.V network, has released a commercial starring Jewel to help promote breast cancer awareness.
  • In 2006, Jewel appeared with Ty Murray in a Miller Lite Men of the Square Table commercial.
  • Jewel has also done many late night talk shows, including Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, and many more taped from 1996 to 2006.
  • Jewel was a featured singer in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra television special and 2001 DVD The Ghosts of Christmas Eve, performing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
  • Jewel has also appeared on The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour where she performed a duet of Who Will Save Your Soul with Jessica Simpson.
  • Jewel was featured on the MTV show Punk'd in 2007.
  • Jewel has also been a celebrity judge on Iron Chef America in 2007.
  • Two of Jewel's songs were played on Dawson's Creek: "Hands" in #2-05 "Full Moon Rising" and #6-24 "...Must Come to an End" (the latter being the second part of the series finale), and "This Way" in #5-17 "Highway to Hell." Her song "Standing Still" was also featured in the WB's promos for #5-09 "Hotel New Hampshire."

Writing

Jewel published a book of poetry titled A Night Without Armor in 1998. Although it sold over 1 million copies and was a New York Times Bestseller, it received mixed reviews. Jewel went on to write an autobiography titled Chasing Down the Dawn in 2000. Chasing Down The Dawn was 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. 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 Ty's mother's reaction to her intimate confessions.

In a now-infamous interview with MTV News icon Kurt Loder to support A Night Without Armor, Loder points out that Jewel misused the word "casualty"; her use was in reference to a casual attitude in society, while a casualty is a person who is killed or injured in a war or disaster.

Philanthropy

In 1995 Jewel performed 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.

She formed a non-profit organization called Higher Ground For Humanity with her mother Lenedra J. Carroll and her older brother Shane Kilcher. The organization's main focus became access to clean water in developing countries after The Clearwater Project was launched in 1999. The organization's focus is education, sustainable improvements, and building alliances with like-minded organizations. The Clearwater Project has taken on projects in South America, Central America, India, and Africa, building wells and water filtration systems. One such project was the reactivation of construction of a well through the use of a solar powered pump for the benefit of the Maasai people in the Sukenia region of Tanzania, Africa. Before Clearwater's involvement villagers were walking as much as 10 hours a day to fetch clean water. Other projects have taken place in Malakkara, India, Gualcea, Honduras, Sisoguichi, Mexico, and Bangladesh. Jewel donates a portion of her income to the organization and often holds events to benefit the organization. The organization tends to parallel the career of Jewel since she provides the majority of the organization's funding. As of 2005, the activities of the organization were reduced. In September, 2006, as part of Lifetime Television'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.

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

Discography

Albums

DVDs

  • Jewel: A Life Uncommon. An intimate documentary featuring live performances and candid interviews. (1999)
  • Live at Humphrey's By The Bay. Shot over two sold-out performances at the San Diego venue. Bonus features include interviews, live footage from her This Way Tour, and a photo gallery. (2004)
  • Jewel: The Essential Live Songbook [Due Out September 2008]

Books

  • Revealing Jewel An Intimate Portrait from Family and Friends (2003) Edited by Kenneth Calhoun and Cambria Jensen Publisher: Atria (June 5, 2003) ISBN 0743475402
  • A Night Without Armor : Poems by Jewel Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (August 3, 1999) ISBN 0061073628
  • Angel Standing By: The Story of Jewel by Jewel (January 1999) ISBN 0-312-19827-2
  • Jewel: Pieces of You Published by Alfred Publishing Company (November 1997), ISBN 0769216765
  • Chasing Down the Dawn: Stories from the road, Published by Harper Paperbacks (November 2001), ISBN 0-06-019200-3
  • The Best of Jewel - Piano/Vocal/Guitar Published by Hal Leonard Corporation, ISBN
  • Jewel Spirit: Guitar Songbook Edition, by Jewel Published by Warner Brothers Publications (January 1999) ISBN 0769273351

Major tours

Awards

Year Award-giving Body Award Result
1996 MTV Video Music Awards Best Female Video - Who Will Save Your Soul Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated
1997 American Music Awards Favorite New Artist Won
American Music Awards Favorite Pop/Rock Artist Nominated
VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards Most Fashionable Video: Foolish Games Nominated
Grammy Awards Best New Artist Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - Who Will Save Your Soul Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Female Video - You Were Meant For Me Won
MTV Video Music Awards Viewer's Choice - You Were Meant For Me Nominated
MTV Video Music Award Video Of The Year - You Were Meant For Me Nominated
Billboard Magazine #1 Female Singles Artist Of The Year Won
Billboard Magazine Top 40 Artist Of The Year Won
1998 American Music Awards Favorite Female Artist Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite LP - Pieces Of You Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Female Pop Vocal Performance - Foolish Games Nominated
1999 Blockbuster Music Awards Favorite Female Artist Won
Audie Award Best Spoken Word Album - A Night Without Armor Won
Governor's Award Songwriting Award Won
2003 Radio Music Awards Favorite Female Artist - Modern Rock Won
Regis & Kelly Awards Favorite Musical Guest Won

  • Jewel also holds the record in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest chart run of a single for "You Were Meant For Me (Radio Edit) / Foolish Games."

References

External links

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