Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23: American singer-songwriter and poet, Jewel Kilcher is 39-years-old today.

Known simply as Jewel, she has received four Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 27 million albums worldwide.

Jewel was born in Payson, Utah. Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Homer, Alaska, into a house without indoor plumbing. 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.

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.
For a time, she lived in her van while traveling about the country busking and playing in small venues.

Jewel was discovered by Inga Vainshtein in August 1993, when John Hogan, the lead singer from a local San Diego 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. At the time, Jewel did not even have a demo. Goldberg offered to pay for Jewel to record some of her songs.

Vainshtein, a former film studio executive, became Jewel's manager and was instrumental in creating a major bidding war, which led to Jewel's deal with Atlantic Records and her subsequent appearance on the cover of Time Magazine, the first ever by an Atlantic artist.

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She cut her debut album, Pieces of You, when she was 19 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. Part of the album was cut live at the Innerchange Coffeehouse in San Diego.

The album became one of the best selling debut albums of all time, going platinum 15 times. stayed on the Billboard 200 for two years, reaching number four at its peak. 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 U.S.alone.

Jewel has crossed multiple musical genres throughout her career. Perfectly Clear, her first country record, was released on The Valory Music Co. in 2008. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart and #8 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. In its second week on the charts, the album dropped to #25 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on the Country Albums chart. Perfectly Clear, featured three singles, "Stronger Woman," "I Do," and "Til It Feels Like Cheating."

Jewel released her first independent album Lullaby in May 2009. It is a collection of lullabies, which she described as “not just for children, but also adults.” Its lead single “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was #1 on The Top Children's Songs the week of release.

Jewel will be the host, and a judge with Kara DioGuardi, on the upcoming series Platinum Hit. The competition pits 12 singer-songwriters against each other for a record deal and $100,000. It premieres May 30th, 2011 on Bravo.

A Greatest Hits album was released 2013, featuring a new rendition of Jewel's song "Foolish Games" as a duet with Kelly Clarkson, and "You Were Meant for Me" with the Pistol Annies. Also in 2013, Jewel played the lead role as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime original movie Ring of Fire.

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