Jewel is an acclaimed American singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and daughter to an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter.
From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, the three-time Grammy nominee, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Whether alone with her guitar or fronting a band of ace musicians, Jewel has always been a charismatic live performer, earning the respect of other singer-songwriters such as Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who, not only invited her to open their shows, but mentored her in the early phases of her career. Her singular style and beauty continuously land her on the covers of such diverse magazines as Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, In Style, Glamour and Seventeen. Stuff listed her among its '102 Sexiest Women in the World’ while Blender went further, crowning her 'rock’s sexiest poet. ‘
After a tremendous amount of success as a singer-songwriter and over 27 million albums sold, Jewel returned to her roots with the release of her debut country album Perfectly Clear in June 2008, which garnered her a spot at #1 on the Billboard country album charts. Perfectly Clear was the debut release on the Nashville-based independent label The Valory Music Co.
Shortly after Perfectly Clear, Jewel debuted her first-ever independent release, Lullaby, in a partnership with Fisher-Price® and Somerset Entertainment. Lullaby was produced by Jewel and recorded at her home studio in Stephenville, TX. The 15-track album features 10 self-penned songs and a few standards including beautiful renditions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” The acoustic record is reminiscent of Jewel’s twelve-time platinum album Pieces of You.
Jewel has spent a lot of time in Nashville over the last few years, and has naturally been drawn to and accepted by the Nashville music community. She has hosted the country reality show "Nashville Star" and she has made a number of appearances at Muzik Mafia events. She co-wrote and sings with new artist Jason Michael Carroll on "No Good In Goodbye" which appeared on his debut album, Waitin' In The Country (Arista Nashville). She was also invited to sing with Merle Haggard, a long time hero of hers, on his album of #1’s.
Jewel is maintaining her country roots as she returns to the format with her sophomore follow-up album, Sweet and Wild. The album, written and produced by Jewel, was released on June 11, 2011. The first single, “Stay Here Forever,” has been embraced by critics and the video is a success on CMT and GAC.
“The theme of this album is finding what’s true about you and your life, and defending it and valuing it above all else,” said Jewel. “My newest country album will share so many of my personal feelings of love and happiness that I have written into the songs,” said Jewel, who married her longtime boyfriend Ty Murray in the summer of 2008. Jewel will also embark on a tour sponsored by Country Financial to support Sweet and Wild.
Also near and dear to Jewel’s heart is her charitable initiative, Project Cleanwater, which she continues to support, unwaveringly. Jewel founded Project Clean Water in 1997. Having experienced homelessness as a teenager, Jewel became ill and couldn’t afford to buy the bottled water she needed for her sick kidneys. She then realized it was difficult to obtain clean water in the United States, and discovered it was a huge problem globally. She has been relentless in her efforts to bring safe water to those in need and create awareness of clean water shortages around the world.
Project Clean Water has recently partnered with Virgin Unite and the Voss Foundation to create the "Give A Drop" campaign. Donations of $5.00 can be made by texting the message "DROP" to phone number 85944. Money raised through text donations will benefit the partnership, which is currently working in Pel in the Dogon region of Mali, where 40 water retention structures were recently completed. This spring, work will also begin to help rural villages in southeast Ethiopia expand their access to clean water.
Jewel currently lives on a working ranch in Stephenville, Texas with her husband, World Champion bull-riding superstar, Ty Murray.
Jewel’s family were original pioneers of Alaska who settled there when it was still a territory. Her grandfather, Yule, drafted the Alaskan constitution and served as the state’s senator. She was raised on the family ranch with the same old world traditions. Her home was located in a very remote area, far from any town, and had no running water or electricity (they used a coal stove for heat and had an outhouse).
Both of her parents, Atz and Nedra, enjoyed making local records and performing; and, along with her brothers, Jewel (her given name) accompanied her parents on tours through native villages. “At six I remember singing for Eskimos and Aleuts in remote places, taking dog sled rides through frozen tundra,” she says. “We canned berries and made our own butter- ate only what we raised and stored.”
When her parents divorced, she spent more than a half-dozen years with her father touring as a duet act, starting at the age of eight. “We sang in biker bars and lumberjack joints. If the cops were ever called, I’d hide in the bathroom till they were gone,” she says. At fifteen, she went her own way, performing solo for the first time and earning a vocal scholarship to Interlochen, a private arts school in Michigan where she also majored in visual art. It was here she learned guitar and began writing songs, inspired by a love of reading at a young age. “Reading made me feel connected to the world,” she explains. “The writers I returned to again and again were the ones that were brutally honest, willing to show themselves as heroic at times, grotesque at others. Anais Nin, Charles Bukowski, these were heroes to me.”
Heartfelt songwriting became not only an emotional outlet, but a means of survival. During spring break one year she took a train and hitchhiked in Mexico, earning money as a street-corner minstrel. “I made up lyrics everywhere I went and eventually it turned into a very long song about what I saw around me,” she recalls. “I made it back to school two weeks later with an unformed song called ‘Who Will Save Your Soul’.” She was 16 at the time and had no idea that song would, a mere three years later, become the first single from her first album, offering not just a days meal ticket, but meteoric success.
Moving to San Diego, a series of unfortunate events led to living in her car and, after it was stolen, borrowing $1,000 from a friend to buy a van to live in. She got her first regular gig at a coffeehouse in Pacific Beach, where fans soon multiplied like rabbits, building a local cult following. Label A&R guys started coming as well, and Jewel was signed to Atlantic Records close to her 19th birthday. Her first record, a deeply introspective, live, voice-and-acoustic-guitar, modern folk collection called Pieces of You, sold about 3,000 copies, nearly all in San Diego, in the nine months after its February 1995 debut. So, Jewel hit the road with a vengeance, playing four shows a day in 40 cities. A folk singer at the height of grunge, she was encouraged by two acts she opened for: Bob Dylan, who actively listened to her songs and discussed lyrics with her, and Neil Young, who gave the nervous solo artist a piece of advice at Madison Square Garden: “Its just another hash-house on the road to success. Show ‘em no respect!”
Hard work and heartfelt songwriting, not to mention an exquisitely expressive voice, paid off. After a year on the road, “Who Will Save Your Soul” became a major hit. And, with the release of two other hit singles, “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games,” album sales went through the roof, as Blender magazine writes: “With considerably less fuss, [Pieces of You] went on to exceed the sales of Nirvana's Nevermind, moving a phenomenal 11 million units.”
Hailed by The Times of London as the most sparkling female singer-songwriter since Joni Mitchell, Jewel’s subsequent albums steadily built her reputation and fan base. In November 1998 came Spirit, a collection of inspirational ballads aided by sparse, supportive instrumentation. The next November she offered up Joy: A Holiday Collection, blending well-loved Christmas carols with traditional spirituals and other songs, followed in Fall 2001 by the best-selling album This Way. In June 2003, her fifth work, 0304, premiered at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking both the highest-debuting and highest-charting album of her career to date. Describing it as a modern take on 40s dance hall music, Jewel brought dance beats, synthesizer flavors and layered vocal overdubs to the album, which included the top five hit single “Intuition.”
Touring remains part of Jewel’s essence and, through her U.S. and world tours, she has forged a powerful, intimate bond with audiences around the globe. Her extraordinary voice and engaging stage presence have earned her acclaim throughout North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Among her many accolades are three Grammy Award nominations, an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award. In 1999, she was presented the prestigious Governors Award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Recording Academy (NARAS). The award, now known as the “Recording Academy Honors” award, recognizes those whose creative talents and accomplishments have crossed all musical boundaries and have been recognized as an asset to our music community.
Her debut poetry collection in 1998, A Night Without Armor, quickly became a mainstay of The New York Times bestseller list, with 29 printings and a remarkable million-plus copies sold and is the best-selling poetry book of all time. The audiobook version received the 1999 Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association. The following year saw the publication of her second book, the intimate journal Chasing Down The Dawn, a revealing chronicle of an artist’s life on the road.
Jewel’s full-length home video, “Jewel: A Life Uncommon,” offered an autobiographical documentary rife with live performances, archival footage of her upbringing and interviews with the people closest to her. In 2004 came her first live DVD, “Live At Humphreys,” shot three years previously in San Diego, showcasing her boundary-crossing style in an intimate concert setting.
Recently, Jewel had a song “Stay Here Forever,” featured in movie and on the soundtrack of the blockbuster hit Valentine’s Day. The singer’s songs and ethereal voice have accompanied many other motion pictures in the past including Clueless, Batman & Robin, Phenomenon, Life or Something Like It, Sweet Home Alabama (theme song) and Ang Lee’s independent civil war drama Ride With the Devil, where she earned critical praise for her acting debut alongside stars Tobey Maguire and Skeet Ulrich. Becoming a staple on television, from talk shows to Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, Jewel also guest starred on the NBC drama The Lyons Den, playing a lawyer opposite series star Rob Lowe.