Friday, August 6, 2010

Worth Another Listen - Jewel

jewel,1995,pieces of you
jewel,1995,pieces of you
Jewel, and the singer with husband Ty Murray.

It amazes me that it has been 15 years since a young singer born in Utah and raised in Alaska released her first album. In February of 1995, Jewel Kilcher's debut, Pieces of Me, was not really noticed at first, simmering on the burners for a while. The singer/songwriter, known by just her first name, had been touring around the country in her van, actually living out of that van. She was discovered while playing some bars in San Diego in 1993, and spent the next two years working on her debut album, while continuing to play shows. She had attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, the same school that helped feed the muse of another blog favorite, Casey Stratton.

Pieces of You
was released by Atlantic Records, but was not making a real mark on the Billboard chart, in a year that saw Coolio, TLC, Seal and Boyz II Men owned the top 5 positions on the year-end chart. The following year, her first single and video were finally released, and suddenly, Jewel was everywhere. I remember the first time I heard Who Will Save Your Soul, and was just amazed by it, with it's coffeehouse feel and folk roots.

In November of 1996, the second single hit the airwaves. The song was the amazing love song, You Were Meant For Me. The smart and thoughtful song seemed to be the antithesis of what was playing on the radio, yet still managed to rise up the charts, and plateau at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The following year, the video was named Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The third single from the album was the outrageously amazing Foolish Games. To me, the song was some beautiful classical composition with lyrics by Jacques Brel, interpreted by a gifted singer giving a performance that might have been a bit ahead of it's time. But it was written and performed to perfection by Jewel, and the video is stunning. The song was also part of the Batman & Robin soundtrack, and was released as a special single backed with You Were Meant For Me, and lasted an astounding 65 weeks on the Billboard charts.

Yes, I did mention that the sales figures for the album were not that great at first. However, that was changing the minute the first single hit the ground. Pieces of You went on to be registered as a 12 x Platinum album, truly leaving a legacy for an amazing female singer/songwriter. For more information about Jewel, you can check out her official website here.


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