Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A life uncommon...

Photos courtesy of jeweljk.com

On my French 12 provincial exam, we were asked to write an essay about one living person we had never met, who has impacted our life, and with whom we would want to go to dinner. At that time, I chose to write about Jewel Kilcher. I could think of no one better for an evening of chitchat than somebody whose political, creative and artistic views I respect so much. Jewel has been inspiring me since I first saw her play out at The Massey Theatre in New Westminster when I was about 14 years old. It was a teeny, tiny, and non glamourous venue. There was this blonde girl on stage with an acoustic guitar, being honest and telling stories, making us laugh and cry. I felt like I could relate to everything she was saying. I can remember being blown away by her voice and I was instantly captivated by her stage presence and charisma. Over the years, I have enjoyed Jewel's work and have been influenced to a large degree by her albums, books and projects. As a writer, she has grown enormously with each new project that she has taken on. A few years ago, I took my dad to see her play an acoustic show at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre. It was an intensely personal and intimate performance. My dad became an instant fan. The woman knows how to entertain a crowd and she was at once provocative and down to earth.
Perhaps what attracts me to Jewel as an artist is that I could always see a bit of myself in her. She sang about many of the same insecurities, ideals and ideas that I spent hours writing about and contemplating. It's comforting to feel like somebody else is experiencing the same kinds of thoughts and emotions and asking the same questions that you are. I certainly found comfort in this music, and I continue to. She was inspired herself by many of the same writers who I have looked up to; Nin, Bukowski, Plato. And songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. She's not afraid to admit to her struggles and the ups and downs that are inevitable in this life. I have a great respect for that. And for staying committed to this journey on the road of life.
Not content to relegate herself to a traditional music arena, or to be typecast, Jewel has established herself as a culturally significant and relevant brand. Author, songwriter, actress, poet-there are no limits to how Jewel can and will deliver her message. The underlining truth that ties it all together is the integrity of that message. Jewel's lyrics speak to me on a level that few other artists are capable of reaching. She allows herself to be vulnerable, she is a human being, no doubt. She's learning and growing and figuring things out...just like the rest of us.
Jewel got her first record deal when she was 20 years old and living in a blue Volkswagon bus, now here she is multiplatinum and multifaceted. She excels at weaving her introspective lyrics with fresh and exciting songwriting.

As a public figure, she has also raised awareness for some important issues. I applaud her willingness to step out and support these causes. Check out these links to the projects that Jewel is involved with:

Clear Water Project
Doctors Without Borders

And her most recent project:
Virgin Unite: Homeless Youth Among Us


“Reading made me feel connected to the world,” she explains. “The writers I returned to again and again were the ones that were brutally honest, willing to show themselves as heroic at times, grotesque at others. Anais Nin, Charles Bukowski, these were heroes to me.” Heartfelt songwriting became not only an emotional outlet, but a means of survival. During Spring Break one year she took a train and hitchhiked in Mexico, earning money as a street-corner minstrel. “I made up lyrics everywhere I went and eventually it turned into a very long song about what I saw around me,” she recalls. “I made it back to school two weeks later with an unformed song called Who Will Save Your Soul." She was sixteen at the time and had no idea that that song would, a mere three years later, become the first single from her first album, offering not just a day’s meal ticket, but meteoric success.

You can check out some of Jewel's new music as well as some older masterpieces on her Myspace page here.
Jewel's Christmas album called Joy: A Holiday Collection is also one of my favourites. I pulled it out on the weekend and it has been spinning in my cd player ever since.


Anonymous said...

I love her Christmas album too.

Ciavarro said...

And she's got a nice rack.

Jennifer Stoddart said...

also very true, Chad. :)

Anonymous said...

Ooh I LOVE Jewel! I hated her "comeback" when she reminded me of Leann Rimes though.

I will definitely look into her Christmas music.

Anonymous said...

plus Jewel makes me feel funny in the pants

Anonymous said...

she is beaut; sexy as hell
i love the crooked teeth, too -- lovely

Anonymous said...

Jewel was the first concert i went to when i moved out here in 96 it was awesome and you've been reading just long enough to know of my headaches and how picky i am with shows i see.