Date of Birth: May 23, 1974
Brought up on a 350 hectare homestead established by her Swiss immigrant grandfather, Jewel learned the meaning of hard work, canning vegetables and weaving willow roots. There was no running water or TV, and her family ate what they raised. Both her parents added to their income by singing in local bars, and at the age of six, Jewel would join them onstage. After her parents divorced, Jewel remained with her father for a number of years, before following her mother to San Diego.
After winning a scholarship to Michigan's prestigious Interlochen Fine Arts Academy, she left San Diego to study voice, drama, and writing. Returning after graduation, Jewel held a number of menial jobs and found herself going broke.
While pursuing her singing dream, she lived in difficult conditions. Having very little money, Jewel lived in a Volkswagen van, washed her hair in public restrooms, subsisted on carrots and peanut butter, fell in with street gangs, dated older men, and even shoplifted.
The hard work and sacrifice paid off when Jewel was discovered by Quincy Jones' Q8 label while singing at San Diego's InnerChange coffeehouse. Her debut album, Pieces of You, released in February 1995, has sold 11 million copies. Her second release, Spirit, sold another four million copies, and she has released several more since then. Her book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, was a New York Times bestseller and she has also released a book entitled Chasing Down the Dawn: Stories from the Road.
She made her film debut in Ride with the Devil, in which she plays Sue Lee Shelley, a hard working 18-year-old widow who becomes the love interest of the two lead characters. After taking time to concentrate on her singing career, she will return to the big screen in Wave (2006).
Jewel gives a large percentage of her earnings to a non-profit organization she founded called Higher Ground for Humanity, which acts as an umbrella group that supports other struggling non-profit organizations. In her spare time she enjoys horseback riding.
Ride with the Devil (1999)