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Interview:
Jewel taking stock with new material
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

At 32, Jewel seems a little young to be taking stock of her life.

But that didn't keep the singer-songwriter from approaching her new album, "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland," as a particularly personal and reflective affair.

"Those decade birthdays always kind of cause me to reflect, look back and then look forward," explains Jewel (ne Kilcher), who was born in Utah and lived in Alaska and California -- as well as attending the Interlochen Fine Arts Academy as a teenager.

"I really see this record as a bookend to my first record, 'Pieces of Me' (in 1995), because it was a really similar time in my life -- in a completely different way. I was turning 20 during my first record. I was just closing this period of my life where I was living in a car and scrambling my whole life to now signing a six-record deal and looking forward to this crazy road that I was going to embark on.

"And on this record I was turning 30. I'm now at the end of that six-record deal. My life has changed so utterly, completely and thoroughly, but the thought process and emotional process I was in was really similar. I was trying to really see where I wanted my life to go and if I was happy with where it all was."

Jewel has every reason to be satisfied, of course. She's sold 25 million copies of her albums, launching hits such as "Who Will Save Your Soul," You Were Meant For Me," "Hands" and "Standing Still." She's published two books, including the 1998 poetry collection "A Night Without Armor," which hit the New York Times bestseller list and sold more than a million copies.

She made her acting debut in the 1999 Civil War drama "Ride With the Devil" and has been the subject of occasional fashion photo spreads.

"I can look at everything as an extension of my creativity," Jewel says. "I'm even quite comfortable with making a mistake if I make one. It's sort of a learning process, and I find the fans and people don't really care. They want to see a dynamic, living person. I don't think anyone wants to see a fabricated, politician for a musician."

In fact, Jewel is more of a cowgirl than anything these days -- at least when she's not doing music. She lives with her boyfriend, champion bull-rider Ty Murray, on his ranch in Stephenville, Texas. Murray, she says, "is a pretty good radar" for her music; "He can tell if a song is ringing true or not, which is pretty useful," Jewel says.

And, she adds, the quiet life in Texas provides a welcome balance to the high pressures of the music biz.

"I make records, I go out and promote them, and then I go back to my really simple, normal life," she says. "I just always try and live my life as honestly as I can, and it seems to have worked out quite well."



Jewel, Rob Thomas and Toby Lightman perform at 7 p.m. Thursday (June 15th) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $49.50 pavilion, $27.50 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit

Web Site: www. palacenet.com.

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