Jewel is a singer-songwriter, producer, actress, author and poet. She was raised in Homer, Alaska, and grew up singing and yodeling with her father, a local musician. At age fifteen, she received a partial scholarship at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she studied operatic voice.
After graduating, she began writing and performing at clubs and coffeehouses in San Diego, California. Based on local media attention, she was offered a recording contract with Atlantic Records, who released her debut album, Pieces of You, in 1995; it went on to become one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, going 12-times platinum.
The debut single from the album, "Who Will Save Your Soul", peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100; two others, "You Were Meant for Me" and "Foolish Games", reached number two on the Hot 100, and were listed on Billboard's 1997 year-end singles chart, as well as Billboard's 1998 year-end singles chart.
Her subsequent album, Spirit, was released in 1998, followed by This Way (2001). In 2003, she released 0304, which marked a departure from her previous folk-oriented records, featuring electronic arrangements and elements of dance-pop.
In 2008, she released Perfectly Clear, her first country album; it debuted atop Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and featured three singles, "Stronger Woman", "I Do", and "'Til It Feels Like Cheating".
Jewel released her first independent album, Lullaby, in 2009. Jewel has also had endeavors in writing and acting; in 1998 she released a collection of poetry, and the following year appeared in a supporting role in Ang Lee's Western film Ride with the Devil (1999) which earned her critical acclaim.
Jewel has been nominated for Grammy Awards in several categories including Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Jewel is also a philanthropist with her own charitable initiative, Project Cleanwater, which she continues to support unwaveringly.
Jewel founded Project Clean Water in 1997. Having experienced homelessness as a teenager, Jewel became ill and couldn't afford to buy the bottled water she needed for her sick kidneys. She then realized it was difficult to obtain clean water in the United States, and discovered it was a huge problem globally.
She has been relentless in her efforts to bring safe water to those in need and create awareness of clean water shortages around the world. As a result of having been homeless as a teenager, Jewel has made it her mission to help those experiencing homelessness.
Jewel served as the honorary chairperson of the 2006 Help the Homeless Walk in Washington, D.C. In May 2013, Jewel served as ambassador for the ReThink: Why Housing Matters initiative. She was included in the initiative's public service announcement (PSA) which asked Americans to rethink their views on public housing and consider how it benefits people in their own communities.
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