Steve Poltz and Jewel Kilcher wrote the hit song ‘You Were Meant for Me.’ Poltz revealed that the song came about after he and Jewel jumped on a boat in Mexico with some local police officers and found themselves in the middle of a drug bust. When Steve woke the following morning, the riff poured out of him and the song was born.
This was Jewel’s second single, providing a follow up to her debut hit “Who Will Save Your Soul?” and quickly taking her out of one-hit-wonder consideration.
Two music videos were made. The original was directed by Sean Penn in 1996 and featured the less popular “Juan Patino Radio Mix.”
Lawrence Carroll directed a second video for the hit “radio version.” This time, it features Jewel and Steve Poltz as lovers struggling to be together. Jewel has said the “shedding” of her clothes in the video symbolizes “being free with a lover or friend. Being stripped and surrender yourself to them.”
The Lawrence Carroll-directed video won the award for Best Female Video at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards. Also, this was the most played song on US radio in 1996.
Jewel’s persistence and determination
Jewel recorded this song three times before she found a version that made her and her record label happy. She told Billboard of the original version:
“When I got my album in my hands for the first time, I sat down crying. I hated the way I sang the song so much. The choruses really bothered me. To hear that it was going to be the single, it was like, no, that’s my worst nightmare come true I was appalled.”
After a lukewarm remix that spawned the Sean Penn-directed video, Jewel still wasn’t satisfied and insisted on recording the third and final version, which became a hit.
Jewel wrote the song during the time she was homeless and living in her car. During that period she started having panic attacks and anxiety and came up with her own way of coping, using mindfulness exercises to retrain her brain. In an interview with ABC radio, she said the line,
“Dreams last for so long even after you’re gone” is about “the love of fantasy versus the actual reality.”
At the time, this was the biggest-selling single in the history of Atlantic Records, and Jewel became the label’s first artist to grace the cover of TIME magazine (July 21, 1997).
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Jewel, You Were Meant for Me