of her young
up in Homer,
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in many of
Jewel learned to play the guitar while on scholarship at the prestigious Interlochen Music Academy in Michigan, where she majored in operatic voice. She started writing songs at the age of seventeen.
For a time, Jewel was poverty-stricken and lived in her van while traveling about the country. She gained a reputation by singing at the Interchange Coffeehouse in San Diego, California. It was at these appearances she met the band The Rug Burns, who she often appeared with. For a time she dated Steve Poltz, one of the band's members. Poltz has collaborated with her on several of her songs.
It was at these coffeehouse appearances she was discovered by Atlantic Records. Jewel cut her debut album, Pieces of You, when she was nineteen and it was released in 1995. Some of the songs on the album are were recorded at the coffeehouse. The album stayed on the Billboard Top 200 for an impressive two years, reaching number four at its peak popularity.
Jewel is noted for her song's qualities of stark honesty and soulful introspection. Her songs resist categorization, but, because of their mostly guitar accompaniment, have sometimes been categorized as folk music or the hybrid class folk-pop. However, her music is mostly recognized as popular music and enjoys wide exposure on a variety of music radio stations.
Besides singing, Jewel has also tried her hand at acting and writing. The first movie she appeared in was in 1999 in Ride with the Devil, for which she received critical acclaim.
Writing is nothing new for Jewel since she has been writing poetry most of her life. She has at least two published works. A Night Without Armor is a collection of some of her poems. Chasing Down the Dawn is a collection of diary entries and musings detailing her life growing up in Alaska, her struggle to learn her craft and life on the road.
In 2003 Jewel underwent a drastic image change with the release of her album 0304. Her video for the debut single Intuition had her cavorting in full dance numbers, often scantily clad in bras and bikinis. The song and video seemed to be intended as social commentary on the state of pop music but it left fans wondering if Jewel had in fact become what she was satirizing.
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