From Alaska to Fame

Singer, Songwriter, Poet, Actress
Tuesday, July 25, 2006; 1:00 PM

Singer/songwriter/poet/actress Jewel (Jewel Kilcher) was online Tuesday, July 25, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss her recent tour, her latest single and video release ( Good Day ) from her first album in three years, "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland," an autobiographical work tracing her path from solitude in Alaska to the joys and pitfalls of fame, her recent tour (with Rob Thomas), her work in movies and television and more.

Official Web Site

A transcript follows.

____________________ Jewel will be with us momentarily. Please stand by.


Groningen, Netherlands: I've seen people label you as 'pop queen,' 'country chick' and some people would class your music as 'jazz.' Which musical genre do you think suits you best? Or do you think it has changed over time?

Jewel: Hmmm. I grew up to a lot of different artists, from Nina Simone to Joni Mitchell to Loretta Lynn so I guess it makes sense that you can hear a lot of influences in my music. I guess the one thing that ties it all together for me is the storytelling aspect, that would be it.


Annapolis, Md.: On Your official Web site you had a version of Good By Alice that is a more acoustic version. Are you going to release that version? Download?

Jewel: I'm pretty sure you can find a bootleg already online but at some point, yeah, I'll probably an acoustic version of it on something.


Jacksonville, Tex.: I, too, live on a ranch and I enjoy it very much. I was wondering what types of work you engage in at the ranch. Also, do you garden flowers or vegetables?

Jewel: No gardening. We have about 300 acres in Coastal and Kleim grass. We run about 200 mother cows, so the ranch work includes everything from fixing fences to doctoring cows to picking rocks out of fields.


Boston, Mass.: Do you plan on doing anymore shows by yourself on the east coast anytime soon?

Jewel: I'll be touring the east coast in November through December.


Fairfax, Va.: What do you think of American Idol, the TV show? What did you think of Katharine McPhee's version of Over the Rainbow?

Jewel: Didn't hear Katharine McPhee's version but I love that song. As for American Idol, I think the show at least encourages a higher standard of singers in an industry that has certainly strayed from singing being a prerequisite for the job. That said, I don't think it necessarily encourages artistic freedom or songwriting.


Washington, D.C.: How can someone learn to yodel?

Jewel: Lots of practice and a soundproof room.


Washington, D.C.: What's your take on Hollywood -- like it, hate it, want to be part of it? Does the culture appeal to you?

Jewel: I guess it's never really appealed to me although as a voyeur who can come and go it can be quite an entertaining culture but nothing that should be taken too seriously.


Leesburg, Va.: Can you speak to (1) "artistic freedom" versus the Indie Label format, and how this industry measure impacts what you release either written word or voice? Thanks!

Jewel: I think that artistic freedom begins and ends with the artist's resolve. I believe any artist in any format should be able to maintain artistic integrity in whatever field they choose, indie or major label. It's a hard fight no matter where you are.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Do you miss Alaska, if so what aspect do you miss the most and which do you miss the least?

Jewel: I still get homesick for Alaska quite often. It's mainly the landscape, the mountains and the ocean that I miss. I I don't necessarily miss the long, dark winters.


Dayton, Ohio: First I would like to say that I am so pleased you returned to your musical roots. Question: Have you ever thought one day you might do collaborations with any other artist?

Jewel: I've never seen any of my music as a separation from my roots. It's all been storytelling from my life but I'm glad you like this most recent record. It's one of my favorites too.

As for a duet, I got to sing with Bob Dylan, also B.B. King, so my wish list is pretty much taken care of with the exception of my regret for not having sung with Nina Simone.


Tucson, Ariz.: What was it like touring with Rob Thomas?

Jewel: Touring with Rob Thomas was great fun. It was a blast to have another band on the road and to get up on stage and sing with him.


Grover Beach,Santa Barbara, Calif.: What happened to the Clear Water Foundation (I think that is what it was called)? Is it still around? If so, how can we get involved?

Jewel: Yes, I still run the Clearwater Foundation. If you want to get involved you can find a link on Jewel Web Site

It has been run by me and my brother since I was 21 and we solve water problems on the village level. So far we have put in 15 filtration systems in 12 different countries.


New York, N.Y.: Hi Jewel,

During this era in which the industry is so driven by artificial, oversexed and undeniably talentless fluff, how would you encourage up-and-coming songwriters/performers to be heard and recognized in an environment that seems so set on ignoring true talent? How did you remain focused and driven in the beginning?

Jewel: I never got into music to become liked or famous. I started writing music because I needed it and it moved me and it helped me. I don't think real artists need to be encouraged to create real art. They just need a forum to perform their real art in, which means fans and consumers need to let radio stations and record labels and promoters know that they are still interested in real artists so that they will continue to give real artists a forum.


Gaithersburg, Md.: I'm 50 years old and, I admit, I bought your latest CD. Your voice is just too strong and interesting to ignore. So, my question: Is it OK for an old guy like me to buy your music? (Honest question!)

Jewel: LAUGHS. I'll take any fan I can get. I find that "older" fans that grew up listening to a lot of the great acts tend to be more loyal fans.


Wixom, Mich.: How long does it take you from start to finish to write a song?

Jewel: Um, well, every song is different but in general they come to me quite fast -- in a couple hours. Writing is an odd experience. It's sort of like reading a book out of my head. You can't see the words; you can only feel them. It feels like it's already written. You just need to discover it properly.


Brownsville, Tex.: As an actress, you have only made one feature film and been in several TV shows. As far as you future is concerned, what kind of film project(s) are you looking for in doing? Do you want to go any further and chose parts than are different than who you are? By the way, I love your entire body of work! I wish you all the best!

Jewel: I made a decision several years ago to kind of let acting go because I was beginning to spend all my free time working on acting and as I look around at many in my profession I see that often they grow old to be famous and affluent but not necessarily happy. Because so much time is spent on maintaining the career -- not developing a life outside of the career.

I enjoy acting immensely and take parts when they come but no longer actively pursue movies. This is really just a fancy was of saying I'm lazy ... and I enjoy the ranch and being with my boyfriend.


Clarksburg, W.Va.: I loved you on the "Iron Chef" program, that must have been a lot of fun? Do you get time enough to enjoy the food?

Jewel: I'm a big fan of Iron Chef and the Food Network. Though we shot at 8 a.m. and I was eating raw lamb by 8:30 a.m. which was a first to say the least, I did thoroughly enjoy Bobby Flay's cooking and a lot of it.


Jefferson, Wisc.: How do you feel the general public has responded to the evolving of your styles?

Jewel: Everything considered, I think my fans have been resilient and open-minded, which is heartening because music really should be a liberal and accepting community. I really enjoy diverse styles of music and it has given me great joy to continue to experiment and push myself musically.


Jewel: Thanks so much for bringing in your questions and I hope to do this again soon. It's nice to talk directly with the fans.

_______________________ This concludes our discussion with Jewel. She had another interview to do. Hopefully, as she indicated, we may have her back with us.


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company