It is a public awareness initiative which asks Americans everywhere to reconsider their perceptions of the millions of people who call public housing home. At one point in her life, Jewel was once homeless so she knows firsthand how important it is to have a stable roof over her head.
She filmed a national public service announcement for “ReThink” right in her home and this will introduce Americans to the people who really live in public housing, which includes children, veterans, classmates, civil workers and the elderly. Being a mother to her son Kase, Jewel has a whole new outlook on the significance of having a safe domicile and a supportive family. “I am really excited to be a part of this “ReThink” campaign. I grew up with a lot of insecurity about where I would be living until ultimately I wound up homeless. As a child and now that I am a parent and I see things from this side, even though I am not in this position anymore, it makes me really relate to this cause,” she said.
Jewel continued, “People have the assumption that if somebody has a regular job, they can pay rent, but that is not always necessarily the case. There are plenty of families with single parents that have jobs, but they just do not make enough to make ends meet and that’s where public housing can really come in and give them an opportunity to finish school, get an education and assist them to get a better job, as well as to help them get back on their feet.”
Jewel noted that people can find out more information on the official “ReThink” housing website
. “It’s really great and by getting to know people, our goal is to reduce those stereotypes. 40% of the people that live there are children and based on research living in public housing doesn’t correlate to higher crime rates. There is so much misinformation out there and I want to encourage people to get to know public housing better,” she said.
Throughout her career, Jewel has been a singer, songwriter, actress, painter, poetess and philanthropist. She is also the daughter of an Alaskan cowboy singer-songwriter.
On February 5, 2013, Jewel released her “Greatest Hits” CD and she opened up about her record’s song selection process. “I went in chronological order and I went by most popular, so quite a few songs aren’t on there. I needed to do a double-CD, but since I waited too long, I only did one,” she said.
Towards the end of her “Greatest Hits” collection, it includes “Foolish Games” and “You Were Meant for Me” as duets with with Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies respectively. “I did ‘Foolish Games’ with Kelly and ‘You Were Meant For Me’ with Pistol Annies and both were a lot of fun. I have been a big fan of Kelly’s and she was a great, down-to-earth and talented girl to be around in the studio. I have known Miranda Lambert since the ‘Nashville Star’ days and I love Pistol Annie’s singing.”
Although she enjoys all of the songs on her “Greatest Hits” album and considers them all to be her “children” for different reasons, since they represent various times in her life, Jewel noted that she has a sentimental attachment to “Who Will Save Your Soul” because it was the first song that she ever wrote and it subsequently changed her life.
In addition to being involved in “ReThink” and in the entertainment industry, Jewel has a new children’s book, “Sweet Dreams for You” that is coming out on September 17. “I had songs that I wrote for my son when I was pregnant with him and wanted to turn it into a book. The book has beautiful illustrations and it’s really an amazing keepsake for my son,” she said.
Earlier this month, in July of 2013, it was announced that Jewel would be a judge on the fourth season of the a-capella singing competition “The Sing Off,” which returns to NBC in December. “I am excited to be a new judge on ‘The Sing Off.’ It’s an all a-capella singing show and I am looking forward to working with young talent. I love seeing kids trying to reach for excellence within themselves and I like to be a part of that,” she said.
On her plans for the future, Jewel revealed, “I have hundreds of songs written and records just waiting to come out but I am not sure if I am going to go back on major labels or record them on independent labels. I want to spend the majority of my time with my son so I am looking for projects I can do from home more and more.”
Although she has had many stand-out moments in her career and has earned many accolades along the way, Jewel is extremely proud of the fact that “folk music has made it.” “I probably am the type of the musician that shouldn’t have been as popular as I was, but to hit it as big as I did was pretty extraordinary. Also, I am fortunate to have fans twenty years later and to still be a songwriter and to be able to take risks. The fact that my fans still care about the songs that I am writing and they come with me everywhere I go is really an accomplishment. I am really thankful that the fans have allowed me to go this long,” she remarked.
This past March of 2013, Jewel performed at The Paramount in Huntington, New York, where she shared the stage with Holly Williams. “That venue was fun and I will always come back to New York, since there are so many great theaters there. I love touring and doing shows,” she said. “I love Holly Williams. She is so great.”
Jewel shared that the key to longevity in the music industry is “authenticity.” “Everybody has a different road that they take, but for me it’s about being true to myself and trying to make music that is real and honest,” she explained.
For Jewel, her definition of “success,” is “being able to define happiness for yourself.”
For more information on Jewel and her newest projects, visit her official website