Born as Jewel Kilcher out of Payson, Utah, on May 23, 1974, is an American singer and songwriter simply referred to as Jewel. However, still, as an infant, Jewel and her family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska where she grew up on the Kilcher 770-acre homestead until her parents divorced in 1981. Jewel moved with her Mormon father near Homer, Alaska, and was raised in a saddle barn. When interviewed about her childhood, she mentions a lifestyle that had no indoor plumbing, nor any other connection to the modern amenities of today’s world. As a youth, Jewel’s father would have her accompany him to concerts they’d play together at roadhouses, taverns, and hotels. At a young age, Jewel learned how to yodel. When Jewel was fifteen years old, dancing at a studio in Anchorage, the site’s instructor referred her to the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan where she’d receive a partial scholarship to study operatic voice. Members of the Homer community helped Jewel collect enough funds so she could attend. This would serve as the official starting point from the simple life of a somewhat isolated Jewel Kilcher to the quicker pace of the modern world. Before getting there, however, Jewel at one point lived in her own car, touring the country doing street performances and other gigs. When she was discovered by Inga Vainshtein in 1993 and brought to Atlantic Records, the young musical artist’s life would change even more. Since her start in music in the 90s, she has recorded 12 studio albums, 4 live albums, 5 compilation albums, 4 EPs, 8 soundtrack albums, 2 tribute albums, 5 audiobooks, and 35 singles.
10. Serve the Ego
Released on September 24, 2002, the single (Serve the Ego) was new musical territory for Jewel. While some fans of her mix of pop and folk may not appreciate her entry into something more commonly found in dance clubs, the gamble still paid off for her. Serve the Ego reached #1 with the US Billboard Dance Songs Chart, as well as perform very well among radio stations that played dance music. This song was the first of three consecutive number one hits in the dance music genre for Jewel.
9. Again and Again
The lead single (Again and Again) is from Jewel’s 2006 album (Goodbye Alice in Wonderland). Allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes the single as one of Jewel’s best, despite the fact it didn’t chart nearly as well as some of her other leading tracks from previous albums. Eventually, Again and Again became one of the most added songs among North American radio stations that catered to the adult contemporary genre.
8. Standing Still
Released on November 13, 2001, is Jewel’s third studio album (This Way) and earns Platinum Certification with the Australian Recording Industry Association, Music Canada, and Recording Industry Association of America. The leading single (Standing Still) from the album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee on September 24, 2001. Both the single and the album received solid commercial success, as well as receiving positive reviews from the critics. With the US Billboard Hot 100, the Standing Still peaked at #25, and even higher at #10 with the US Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. And, higher still with a #3 ranking with the US Billboard Adult Top 40 Airplay.
The album (0304), which was released June 3, 2003, was Jewel’s departure from her folk-pop style as she ventured into music that had more of a dance feel to it. The single (Stand) was released as a single on September 2, 2003, and was the third consecutive song from the artist that would reach #1 with the US Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.
6. Down So Long
Coming from Jewel’s second album (Spirit) is the single (Down So Long), which was released on March 16, 1999. Written and performed as a folk-pop song by an 18-year-old Jewel in 1992, Although the song wasn’t officially released as a single within the US, it still managed to find its way on the music charts. In Canada, Down So Long peaked at #7 while with US Billboard Adult Top 40 Airplay at #11. The US Billboard Hot 100 charted the song at #59. With the UK Singles Chart, it reached #38 but fared even better in New Zealand at #16.
5. Who Will Save Your Soul
The song (Who Will Save Your Soul) isn’t only the first single released from Jewel’s debut album (Pieces of You) but is the first song she ever wrote. She got the inspiration to write the song while traveling by train from Michigan to San Diego, then into Tijuana where she then hitchhiked her way around Mexico. She made the observation that somebody was always looking to be saved by somebody, so it triggered her to write the song with zero intent at the time to ever release it as a single. When it was released in 1995, it charted as high as #5 with US Billboard Adult Top 40 Airplay, #7 in Canada, and #11 with the US Billboard Hot 100. The single was also enough to earn her a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1997 but lost out to Sarah McLachlan and her hit (Building A Mystery).
Jewel’s fourth album (0304) is released on June 3, 2003, and produces the lead single (Intuition). The song reaches #1 with the US Billboard Dance Songs chart, as well as #5 with US Billboard Adult Top 40 Airplay, and #20 on the US Billboard Hot 100. In Australia, the single also achieved Gold Certification with Australia’s Recording Industry Association. The song’s moderate success received mixed reviews for the songstress as longtime fans criticized her for abandoning the traditional folk style music that earned her the level of recognition she did. However, the option to perform this song with a French accordion and an acoustic guitar won Jewel a new breed of fans she never had before, namely among those who prefer the dance music genre.
The second of Jewel’s albums (Spirit) was released on November 17, 1998, and from its first single (Hands). Among Canadians, it charted at #1 while with US Billboard Adult Top 40 Airplay at #2. On the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, Hands reached #6 and with US Billboard Hot 100 and at #7 with US Billboard Adult Contemporary. In an interview, Jewel states the writing of the song came after an incident where she considered stealing a sundress after being fired from jobs she previously held due to a medical issue involving her kidneys. Instead of stealing dresses, Jewel figured writing songs is a better alternative for her hands to do. And, sure enough, she is right.
2. Foolish Games
From her debut album (Pieces of You) comes the hit single (Foolish Games) and it charts very well around the world. It reached #1 with US Adult Top 40 Airplay and Canada’s Adult Contemporary, while at #2 with US Billboard Hot 100 and with the Canadian Singles Chart. With the US Billboard Adult Contemporary, it charts at #4. In Australia, Foolish Games earns Gold Certification. This single, when combined with You Were Meant for Me, was instrumental in the album Piece of You achieving 12x Platinum Certification with the Recording Industry Association of America, 8x Platinum Certification with Music Canada, and 6x Platinum Certification with the Australian Recording Industry Association.
1. You Were Meant for Me
Written by Steve Poltz and performed by Jewel is her signature hit (You Were Meant for Me), which was part of her 1995 album (Pieces of You) The tale of a woman’s inability to move on from a failed relationship wound up being recorded twice as the original version lacked the radio appeal Atlantic Records felt it deserved. And, it seems the second time really is the charm as this became the most successful single from Jewel’s discographic portfolio. The single earned RIAA’s Platinum Certification well as with the Australian Recording Industry Association. On the US Billboard charts, it peaked at #1 with US Mainstream Top 40, US Adult Top 40 Airplay, and US Adult Top 40. You Were Meant for Me ranked second with Canada and the US Billboard Hot 100, and third with Australia’s ARIA Chart. With Foolish Games and You Were Meant for Me paired up as one, which was done this way in 1997, it was the second most performant song of that year, falling just behind Elton John’s single (Candle In the Wind), which was a rewrite dedicated to the untimely death of Lady Diana, the former Princess of Wales. Adding yet another feather to the cap of this song combo is a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest chart run for a single.