In the small town of Payton, Utah on May 23rd 1974, Atz Kilcher and his wife welcomed their daughter, Jewel into the world. They didn’t have much but they loved music and from this poor background Jewel was able to transform herself into a pop icon. Her net worth is currently estimated at $30 Million.
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Jewel’s grandfather, Yule, was a first generation immigrant from Switzerland to America who settled in Alaska and built a homestead there. When she was still an infant, her family moved to that farm in Alaska where she would spend most of her childhood. This home lacked most of the modern conveniences that we often take for granted such as indoor plumbing and electricity. The family subsisted mostly on food they could hunt or harvest themselves. Her paternal grandmother had been trained in music and passed this on to her father who in turn taught her the art of yodeling.
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Jewel’s mother and father separated when she was just eight years old and this marked the unofficial start of her career. Her father focused more heavily on her musical training at this point especially in the making of harmonies to make sure that their duo was prepared for live shows. Together they would perform in taverns and veterans clubs statewide and this gave Jewel her first taste of the life of an entertainer.
In her mid teens Jewel made the decision to move into her own cabin on the family land and start performing on her own. With the help of her community and through the savings she put together by working several jobs, she was able to scrape together enough money to get herself to Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy. This supplemented the partial scholarship she had been awarded by the school. She learned guitar at the academy as well as art and singing. Jewel continued to perform at a few small venues while still in school.
At age 18 after graduating, she lived with her mother briefly in San Diego before becoming homeless. During this time she would spend her nights sleeping in her car and her days traveling from gig to gig.
Very few people knew her living situation and she supplemented her income by working in a coffee shop as a barista and singing there when she got the chance. All the while, she continued to write her own music. In 1994 Jewel was discovered after word about her coffee house performances spread to Atlantic executives.
They were impressed by what they heard when she met with them and after a bidding war with a few other labels they went on to sign her. At age 21 her debut album “Pieces of You” was released and within a year it skyrocketed to the top of the charts. It won several awards and she followed it up with the album “Spirit” two years later and a poetry book that landed on the best seller’s list. Her later albums made forays into different musical territory as well. These include the pop infused “0304” in 2003 and the country inspired “Perfectly Clear” in 2008.
Jewel has expanded her repertoire as a performer to include acting and has made television appearances as herself in “The Young and The Restless”, “7Th Heaven” and “CSI” to name a few. She also played the role of Sue Lee Shelley in Ang Lee’s “Ride With the Devil”. Her more recent 2013 performance as June Carter Cash in “The Ring of Fire” was favorably received by audiences and critics alike. Jewel has been consistently active in charities having started Project Clean Water back in 1997. In addition to this, she has devoted time to the Mary Kay Ash Foundation in her capacity as spokesperson.