Jewel‘s origin is impossible to beat. On her way up, the singer/songwriter lived in a van on the West Coast, struggling to find an entrance to a career as a professional musician.
The more a GEM is polished, the more it shines
Jewel is the granddaughter of Ruth, an aspiring opera singer who left pre-war Germany, got on a ship headed to Alaska to marry Yule Kilcher because she felt her future children must be born somewhere free. Ruth taught all her 8 children to sing and play instruments.
Jewel and her father, Atz Kilcher, became a duo when Jewel was 8. He trained her well and she practiced hours a day to sing in good harmony and learn his songs. He stressed punctuality and being professional. When she was 15, she moved out on her own to a cabin not far from her dad’s. It had one room and no water, no plumbing, and she worked several jobs. She rode a horse 12 miles to town for work and left her horse at her aunt’s place then hitch-hiked the rest of the way.
At 15, she applied to a fine arts school in Michigan and was accepted on a partial scholarship. She raised the rest of the money by doing her first solo show ever at the local high school in the auditorium. Her hometown of Homer raised $11,000 during that concert. After her graduation, Jewel drifted. She kept writing songs, and started singing in a local coffee shop and developed a loyal following. Soon, there was a bidding war between several labels for Jewel, and she went with the label that didn’t want her to change and let her be a simple songwriter.
Her achievements, to name a few
After 12 million records sold, she’s traveled the world to sing at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, tour and sing with Bob Dylan, sing with BB King in England, and again in the White House for President Clinton. Jewel says that her life “has exceeded any expectation I ever held for myself. I never thought a storyteller in today’s day and age would be able to go so far.”
My Father’s Daughter
Jewel’s “My Father’s Daughter” is an ode to her dad that also features vocals from Dolly Parton.
The video begins with a voice that says, “My family didn’t have heirlooms. We had songs.” Directed by Tom Campbell, the video shows Jewel remembering her upbringing fondly with scenes that pay homage to the singer’s childhood.
Jewel considers Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn as her musical heroes. “They were the only other icons I’d heard of that were raised similarly to me. I liked that they had the courage to say, ‘This is exactly who and what the hell I am.’ So I got the courage to ask her to sing on the record, and she agreed.”
“My Father’s Daughter” is off of Jewel’s Picking Up the Pieces album, which was released on Sept. 11, 2015. Watch the video below.