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Author Topic: New Bio!!!  (Read 1188 times)

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  • EDA
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New Bio!!!
« on: September 01, 2015, 10:24:49 AM »


Jewel has never had a case of writer’s block; if need be, she can write on command. “I’m lucky for that,” the singer-songwriter says with a laugh, playing down the fact that over the past few decades she’s penned hundreds of poignant songs, many of which she’s been performing in concert for over two decades but has chosen not to record. Jewel knows that at this point in her life – after selling millions of albums and establishing herself as one of the most successful musicians of her generation – she could take many routes: she could wait on releasing a new album for years at a time, strictly choosing to perform live instead; or perhaps she’d focus on her memoir, the forthcoming Never Broken; or be satisfied she wrote two children’s books and a pair of successful children’s albums. That’s not Jewel though. Jewel remains a storyteller. The itches are ever-present to document her thoughts and perceptions in musical form.

“It was the time in my life to do this,” the Alaskan-born music icon says bluntly, reflecting on her decision to record, produce and now release Picking Up the Pieces, her first “proper” album of new studio material in five years and a self-described return to the territory explored on her landmark 1995 debut, Pieces of You. “It’s something I needed for myself.”

Perhaps due to Jewel's desire to confront the darker side of life head on, her inimitable vocals sound as emotionally potent here as on her earliest work, conveying an unrelenting desire to share herself once more, a poet and troubadour on a lifelong journey of reflection. “My mission was to try and make a record where I didn’t feel diluted,” she explains of a 14-track collection of songs that finds the singer baring her soul and exploring a wide range of sonic textures, from sparse to exotic, in a manner few have ever treaded so successfully.

Picking Up the Pieces, which Jewel describes as a “singer-songwriter’s record,” and one she hopes her influences, Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones and mentors, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard and Neil Young, would be proud of, is the project many have been waiting patiently to hear for years. With her vast and wide-ranging catalogue, which is rapidly approaching 1000 songs - all written over the last quarter century, Jewel has indeed become one of the premiere singer-songwriters of our time. 

Over the course of the album, Jewel conveys the emotional turmoil of life during it’s most difficult and challenging moments, with genuine emotional pain fueling her vocals and reaching a new intensity level with her music in the process.  A singer cannot transmit feelings into listeners without tapping into those feelings and this collection of songs provided the opportunity to dig deep into her own experiences.

 Meditations on lost love and broken relationships are prevalent on Picking Up the Pieces, with the potent and poetic “Love Used To Be" and the hopeless despair of "It Doesn't Hurt Right Now," a penetrating collaboration with Rodney Crowell that explores the aftermath of an affair. Previously unrecorded live staples from the original Pieces Of You era like "Everything Breaks," "Here When Gone," "His Pleasure Is My Pain" and "Carnivore," which manages to convey heartbreak, hostility and defiance simultaneously, are also among them.  Family relationships are also eloquently explored, with the self-examining "Family Tree" and “My Father’s Daughter” – a stunning autobiographical collaboration with country legend Dolly Parton.

“I was trying to keep my mind quiet and honestly get back to something I feel like I’d lost touch with in my life,” she adds of the reflective LP. “It was really an exercise in shutting out fear. I was giving myself permission to be exactly who and what I was.”

To be sure, this is an album about self-awareness: namely, the way it affects our evolution, maturation and acceptance. “It really felt like returning to a part of me that I didn’t mean to lose, but with time and relationships and life and surviving and dealing you take on new things and not all of them are great,” she admits. The recording process for the album, which Jewel describes as a “very holistic process,” centered on “carving away things about myself and returning to a sense of myself that I really needed.”

The 41-year-old singer didn’t come to this place easily however – a rough childhood, a recent divorce and countless moments of introspection led her here. Still, as when she was a homeless teenager, hitchhiking the country and finding herself along the way, she persevered. Specifically, Jewel spent the past few years hashing out her new album in Nashville, hunkering down at a workmanlike clip with an accomplished band comprised of several of her mentor Neil Young’s longtime musical comrades. Typically, she’d log studio time for several hours a day, multiple days a week while her four-year-old-son, Kase, was at school.

Self-producing the album, she says, was something that came as a matter of unfortunate circumstances. “My original goal was to have Ben Keith do it,” she says of the late Pieces Of You producer. In his absence, she took it upon herself to man the boards, a challenge, she says, only in teaching herself to forget all the music-industry shortcuts she’d picked up throughout her career: “When I made my first record I knew nothing so I was able to make a very pure record. To try and do that 20 years later and forget all the quote-unquote clever stuff about the business is challenging.”  The absence of polished production and studio trickery reveals a clear focus on vocals and the instrumental empathy between Jewel and her musicians.  This was a risky approach that could have led to disaster but instead has helped her reach a new level of lyrical and musical unity. One of the finest examples of this is "Here When Gone," which is virtually unrecognizable from its solo acoustic incarnation, now vacillating between a haunting groove and a shuffling swing.  About this track, she says, "Thanks to the chemistry between these musicians and I, this song has finally found its place."

If returning to several songs she’d written at a much younger age – not to mention participating in countless moments of introspection – for Picking Up the Pieces, has taught Jewel anything, it’s that no matter her place in life, at her core she’s a singer-songwriter. “It isn’t just thinking about you,” she explains of her natural-born craft. “It’s thinking about the world and wanting to rise with people. You have a social obligation. You’re aware that there’s more than just you.

Picking Up the Pieces, she concludes, is born out of a simple purpose: it’s about “getting very comfortable with saying “This is just me. These are my thoughts. These are my feelings. This is my poetry.”


  • EDA
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Re: New Bio!!!
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 12:08:45 PM »
It's incredible how much these change over the years!!

Here's the one from 1998


Jewel and her brothers spent their early years in Anchorage, Alaska. In Anchorage, Lenedra inspired her children's interests in creativity by encouraging them to participate in weekly workshops focused on art, music, prose and poetry. Lenedra sang songs to the children every night and family sing-a-longs were common. Some of Jewel's earliest musical influences consisted of her dad's deep interest in country music & her mom's musical favorites such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Billy Holiday, Cole Porter , and other more esoteric music.

In 1980, at the age of six, Jewel began accompanying her parents in local Alaskan performances. It was during these performances that Jewel mastered the art of yodelling that she learned from her father. ˙˙Years later, Jewel's parents divorced and Atz and the children moved to Homer to live on the family homestead. The divorce and relocation had a profound effect on Jewel, and she found herself unable to verbalize her strong feelings. Journal writing became Jewel's preferred method of expression during this time in her life.

In her early teen years, Jewel spent the winters in Anchorage and the summers in Homer. In the summer, Jewel and her father performed as a duo. Jewel also spent a lot of time enjoying her first love--horses.

At age 14, Jewel was "adopted" into the native Ottowa Indian culture. She participated in a ceremony which included a "talking circle". Jewel's Ottowan uncles taught her that she had "a gift to give the world". It was then that Jewel made a conscious effort to speak more from her heart and articulate her feelings. At age 15, Jewel was invited to perform on Tom Bodet's popular "End Of The Road Show". This was Jewel's first public solo performance. Lenedra worked extensively with Jewel prior to this performance perfecting a rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow". It was at this performance, in January of 1989, that Jewel "found her voice".

Jewel's junior and senior years of high school were spent at Interlochen Fine Arts Academy in Michigan. Along with a very stringent academic schedule, Jewel also pursued her other interests including sculpture, art, music and dance while pursuing a voice major.

At Interlochen Jewel also expressed an interest in acting, but the school's policy did not allow voice majors to participate in the drama program. She persisted in pestering the department until they granted her an audition. She ended up landing the lead role in that semester's play called "Spoon River Anthology". Her performance was so impressive, that Interlochen began accepting non-theater majors into their drama program.

Upon graduation in the summer of 1992 Jewel joined Lenedra and younger Brother Atz Lee in San Diego, which she now calls home. Jewel worked a variety of jobs including waitressing, but generally lost them when her interest in chatting with the customers surpassed her desire and abilty to do the actual job. ˙˙˙˙Due to her lack of skills needed to be a competent waitress, Jewel found herself unemployed, financially broke and depressed in May of 1993.

With Lenedra's emotional support and encouragement, they moved out of their apartment, into their vans, to pursue their dreams. With lots of peanut butter, carrot sticks, and a guitar, Jewel settled down to write songs.

Around this time Jewel experienced a lot of new songwriting activity, she became friends with local songwriter, Steve Poltz and his band The Rugburns. Steve taught Jewel how to better work within a "verse/chorus/verse" Structure and his influence balanced her very serious writing style with his more humorous and spontaneous style.

This time period also included many collaborations with various musical Talent in the San Diego area. Jewel often participated in "housejams" with Local musicians. These often became spontaneous songwriting sessions with Jewel improvising lyrics on the spot.

In June of 1993, Jewel began performing sporadic gigs to sparse crowds at various area coffeehouses, including The Innerchange Coffeehouse in Pacific Beach, CA. For a mere $3 one could hear a three to four hour set of original Jewel material, with the exception being an occasional cover of Tracy Chapman's "Behind the Wall".

Word started to spread, and eventually Jewel had a regular Thursday night Gig at The Innerchange. With larger audiences at The Innerchange, Jewel's name began to show up in the local press and she landed a few choice opening spots.

˙˙˙˙Around June or July 1993 the news of the young singer, songwriter spread to Los Angeles, and record executives started going to San Diego to see Jewel perform. They immediately recognized Jewel's talent, and soon the limos were directed towards Jewel's van/home.

At the end of 1993, after considering her options, Jewel signed a record contract with Atlantic Records. Much of early 1994 was spent in Los Angeles meeting with producers. Ben Keith, whose previous credits included Neil Young and James Taylor, was chosen to produce the album.

In June of 1994, Jewel's studio sessions began at Neil Young's Redwood Digital Studio at his Broken Arrow Ranch in Woodside, California. Young's longtime band, the Stray Gators, were recruited to back Jewel on five songs, along with Steve Poltz.

To capture Jewel's connection with her audience, Atlantic decided that a Live recording would be essential. On July 28 and 29, 1994, a sound crew Descended on The Innerchange to record four sets of Jewel on her home Stomping grounds. All the live recordings on "Pieces of You" (POY) come from those two sessions.

Song selection from the Innerchange recordings and mixing of the studio sessions continued over the next few months. After another few days of "final touches" sessions in September and October of 1994, Jewel's 1st album, "Pieces Of You" was mastered and released in February of 1995.

Since 1995, Jewel has extensively toured the world in support of her 1st Album including support status with heroes such as Bob Dylan & Neil Young. As of November 1998 Jewel has sold over 10 million copies of "Pieces of You".

In June, 1998 Jewel published a book of poetry that stayed on the New York Times bestseller's list for weeks in a row.

Also in the summer of 1998, Jewel completed filming a movie based on a Civil War novel directed by Ang Lee. Jewel plays the lead female role in the movie.

November 17, 1998 Jewel is releasing her long-awaited second album entitled "Spirit".