How do I even begin to describe my love for singer/songwriter Jewel…she’s perfect in the realest of ways. Beautiful, talented, and down to earth, she’s an inspiration to so many. I think I’ll give a bit of history on Jewel’s road to becoming a music icon.
Jewel grew up on a ranch in the Alaskan wilderness with no running water or electricity. She spent her childhood picking berries, riding horses, and singing with her dad. Jewel’s family never had a lot of money, but they lived off the land and made do with what they had. Jewel and her dad made extra money by traveling around the state performing at any bar that would have them.
At the age of 15, Jewel set out on her own and was accepted into a fine arts school in Michigan, where she learned to play the guitar and started writing her own songs. After high school, Jewel was homeless for a while, living in her car after her boss fired her for refusing to sleep with him. But, her determination and raw talent paid off when multiple record labels took notice and Jewel signed with Atlantic Records. Her debut album, Pieces of You, sold 12 million copies, cementing Jewel as one of the most successful musicians in history.
Growing up, I remember seeing Jewel’s music videos on the TV. The video for “Foolish Games” captivated me with its striking imagery and it’s still my all-time favorite Jewel song. It’s like I had no idea what heartbreak was at that age, but I felt her pain in those lyrics. That memory has stayed with me all these years. They are lyrics that anyone can relate to because they are so realistic and descriptive. I knew she was special, but I didn’t learn her backstory until much later.
I really respect Jewel for staying true to herself in an industry where selling out is encouraged. She’s tried her hand at almost every genre of music, including folk, rock, pop, and country, excelling at them all. To me, that shows growth as an artist. Some of Jewel’s fans thought she sold out when she decided to release the dance-pop song “Intuition”, but I think they didn’t listen to the lyrics or recognize that the video was a parody of pop culture and the sex-crazed music industry. As an artist, you can never please everyone, so doing what feels right is all one can do.
Jewel’s quirks make her so lovable. Even though she doesn’t have perfectly straight teeth, Jewel has refused to ever get them fixed. She’s proud of her snaggletooth and thinks it makes her unique. I see it as a humble reminder of where she came from. Jewel’s voice is also very interesting. I was watching a live performance of her’s the other night and she joked that she sounded like Kermit the Frog on her first album because she hadn’t learned how to sing in a studio yet. lol I don’t think that’s true, but her voice is definitely different. Jewel has quite a range and when she busts them out, her scatting and yodeling are impressive.
I believe I also feel a strong connection with Jewel because she shares my grandma Jewell’s name. That’s not a very popular name and the two have quite a bit in common. Both grew up in the country and sang with their families. My grandma was a country singer from Kentucky and I have a bunch of her recordings on tape. She sang while my grandpa played guitar and the two could really harmonize! I’m sure that’s where I get my love of music from. I grew up on country music and while it holds a special place in my heart, I’ve always been more into the pop/dance genres. Anyways, Jewel reminds me of my grandma and listening to her music gives me fond memories of the good times we had. 🙂
Jewel was just a simple girl with a dream. She made it happen. Her story and music inspire me to never forget my past, but strive for more.