The three-time Grammy nominee remains a unique and authentic artist, exploring fresh musical avenues for more than a decade that have taken her from the simplicity of acoustic-driven folk to the embrace of rock, pop, country, blues, jazz and classical influences.
To date, Jewel has sold over 25 million albums worldwide, enjoying career longevity rare among her generation of artists.
A native of Payson, Utah, and raised in Homer and Anchorage, Alaska, Jewel (born Jewel Kilcher) was the descendent of homesteaders: her mother's family old-guard Mormon, her father's side Swiss futurists who immigrated before World War II. Both of her parents, Atz and Nedra, enjoyed making local records and performing and, along with her brothers, Jewel 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.
At 15, 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.
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 sixteen at the time and had no idea that that song would, a mere three years later, become the first single from her first album, offering not just a day's meal ticket, but meteoric success.
Jewel's personal odyssey, partly chronicled on her twelve-times RIAA platinum debut album, Pieces of You, comes to full flower in her new release, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland (Atlantic), released on May 2.
Accelerating into third gear, Jewel makes the most of her lyrical skills and malleable voice on Alice. Alice is her most autobiographical work in more than a decade, tracing her path from the extreme solitude of Alaska to the extreme joys and pitfalls of fame. Its title also alludes to other fantasies: the fairy tales we are told in youth about life, love and friendship versus the more complex, and often disheartening, truth.
Read earlier biographies on this page.
Jewel Kilcher Facts
|Also known as
|May 23, 1974 (49)
|Payson, Utah, USA
|5' 6" (1m68) How tall is Jewel Kilcher compared to you?
|Ride With the Devil
|The Monster Catch
|Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts of Christmas Eve
|The Wizard of Oz in Concert
|The Rutles 2
|Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music
|Ring Of Fire/ Love Notes