Jewel Kilcher was born on May 23, 1974, in Payson, Utah. Her father's name is Atz Kilcher, and her mother's name is Lenedra (Nedra) Carrol. Mr. Kilcher did nightly gigs and worked as a social worker, and her mother was a glass sculptor, a singer, and a homemaker . She has an older brother (by three years) named Shane and a younger brother named Atz.
While Jewel was still a baby, her family moved to Homer, Alaska. Her family lived on eight hundred acre homestead. The Kilcher family had no in-door bathroom and had to take trips to the outhouse. They only had a coal stove as a source for heat, and they had no plumbing for hot, running water.
Fishing was very important for her family along with the many other fishing families in Homer. She says, "I'd be canning salmon after school while other kids would be watching He-Man.
Jewel's father exposed her to the art of yodeling (which she does so very beautifully). In the beginning, Jewel's father was hesitant to teach her how to yodel. He though she was too young, and that her vocal chords wouldn't be strong enough. However, Jewel practiced. She would even yodel in bed until she fell asleep. She was even sent home from school one day for yodeling during math class.
Jewel was brought up to be open and open-minded. Her parents were over-joyed when she brought home an African-American boyfriend in high school.
Jewel began singing publicly at six years old, which is probably why she's such a phenomenal live performer now.
Atz and Nedra divorced when Jewel was eight years old. Jewel, Shane, and little Atz stayed in Homer with their father.
Jewel continued to sing with her father at local bars, hotels, and Eskimo villages. However, as she got older, she and everyone else began to realize that she could do more than just yodel, she could sing. She also began writing songs and poetry.
Jewel is dyslexic. When she was younger, she even bought a Pink Floyd's The Wall, thinking it was Pink Panther. However, Jewel has for the most part overcome this. She is a very talented songwriter and poet.
Jewel went to live with her aunt in Hawaii when she was about fifteen years old. Because Jewel has fair skin, eyes, and hair, she was ostracized. She says, "These big Samoan kids wanted to beat me up because I was white…" So, she began yodeling: "After that, they cornered me every day and made me yodel until I was blue in the face."
Eventually, Jewel got sick of all this and moved back to Anchorage, Alaska, to live with her mother. Soon, Jewel was off to Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy. While there, she taught herself guitar and practiced hard. At Interlochen, she even studied opera. She even contemplated a career in opera. Jewel even got Interlochen to drop their rule that music majors couldn't attend drama classes. She went on to land roles in plays. Jewel spent two years at Interlochen.
After graduating from Interlochen and not attending college, Jewel took off to join her mother in San Diego, California. There, she rented a house with her mother and brother Atz. Money was very tight, "I scraped food off people's plates where I waitressed." She worked as a waitress and as a salesperson. She would date men, including her bosses, just for dinner. She was quite depressed, "I was living entirely without passion and that, to me, is death. I was a terrible waitress, and I was a terrible retail salesperson."
Jewel and her mother then decided to move into their vehicles and pursue their dreams (Atz returned back to Homer). Jewel lived in her blue, 1979 Volkswagen van. She worked at a coffee joint called Java Joe's. Here, she met Steve Poltz, a local singer. Steve played a big part in getting Jewel gigs.
Her first gig, which was at the Interchange, wasn't very successful: "I showed up to my gig hoping some people would be there and there was probably about six and it broke my heart." However, that one gig didn't stop Jewel from playing on. She continued played her regular Thursday night gigs at the Interchange. She was discovered by record companies in early 1994 and signed with Atlantic records in March of 1994.
Much of the tracks on Pieces of You were recorded at the Interchange from July 28 and July 29, 1994. The songs not recorded live were recorded at Neil Young's Redwood Digital Facility at Broken Arrow Ranch in Woodside, California from August 21 to August 26, 1994. Jewel played her last show at the Interchange on January 21, 1995.
Pieces of You was then released on February 28, 1995. However, the album didn't take off right away. However, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, Jewel rose to the top. It wasn't until May of 1996 that Pieces of You was certified Gold (500 000 copies sold). Jewel's popularity was gaining, and Pieces of You was certified Platinum (1 000 000 copies sold) in August of 1995.
In 1996, Jewel won Favorite New Artist at the American Music Awards. At the 1996 MTV Music Awards, she was nominated for Best Female Video and Best New Artist (she lost both to Alanis Morissette). At the 1997 MTV Music Awards, Jewel was nominated for Best Video of the Year, Best Female Video, and Viewer's Choice. She took home the award for Best Female Video (she lost Best Video of the Year to Jamiroquai and Viewer's Choice to Prodigy).
Jewel has gone on to do great things, even at such a young age. She has toured with Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair and has even sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXXIII in San Diego (the Super Bowl is the most watched television event).
Jewel has also released a book of her own poetry, A Night without Armor.
Jewel's sophomore album, Spirit, was released in November of 1998. It became a quick hit with "Hands." Jewel is also going to play the lead female role in a moved called Ride with the Devil. Her co-stars will be Skeet Ulrich and Toby Maguire.
There are no words to describe Jewel. She is absolutely amazing. Not only is she one of the most gorgeous women in the world (she will never be more gorgeous than my love, Amber), but she has an equally gorgeous voice. She is utterly talented, and I am sure that her talent has no end…
Back to first page