The singer simply known as Jewel went from living in her car to selling more than 27 million albums worldwide.
She has received four Grammy Awards and Pieces of You became one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, going platinum 15 times.
She recently released a greatest-hits album that includes a new rendition of "Foolish Games," duetting with Kelly Clarkson.
Jewel was cast as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime movie Ring of Fire that debuted while she was out on this current tour.
Jewel talked to Windy City shortly after her concert at Ravinia in Highland Park.
Windy City Times: Hi, Jewel. It was great seeing you at the show on Sunday.
Jewel: Oh, right on, good. I had fun there.
WCT: It is nice venue and you got to be outside.
Jewel: It was a beautiful evening.
WCT: I liked your hair.
Jewel: Thank you. I do my own hair and makeup so I always appreciate the compliment.
WCT: You are still out on tour right now?
Jewel: Yes, I am playing Milwaukee tonight.
WCT: What are your plans after the tour?
Jewel: I am going to pretty much take the summer off. I might sign on a TV show and that will be determined and announced later. [Note: After the interview it was announced that she would be a judge on the fourth season of a capella competition show The Sing-Off.]
WCT: I grew up in Tennessee and went to church with the Cash family. You did just a great job in the movie Ring of Fire.
Jewel: Well, thanks. I think it is going to re-air around the 4th of July so people can see it again.
WCT: Will it be on DVD?
Jewel: It is for sale right now. I have signed a few copies at meet-and-greets. I know it is up for an Emmy nomination. I am a total underdog for the Emmys because it is in the same category as miniseries so it will be against all the cool HBO shows so we will see.
WCT: How much studying did you do for the role?
Jewel: I did a ton of studying. I enjoy studying so it was a great professional excuse to study. I watched a video clip of her talking to a lot of her friends like Jessi Colter. So it was fun to talk, move, and laugh like her.
WCT: Was John Carter involved a lot?
Jewel: He was. This was based on his book and he was my first call when I signed onto the project and my first call when I wrapped.
WCT: Let's talk about your music. With the greatest-hits CD that came out, what is it like revisiting some of these classic songs?
Jewel: It is interesting when I tried to sequence the album I wound up just going chronologically and it was really fun to watch the progression. I started with the first song that I released; that wound up being the first song "Who Will Save Your Soul." I then went forward and added a brand new song so that I would encompass my whole career including where I am at now. I redid a couple of songs: "Foolish Games" with Kelly Clarkson and we cut "You Were Meant For Me" with the Pistol Annies.
WCT: You wanted to do some dance remixes, too, I heard.
Jewel: I did a whole album of remixes that you can get online. It is on iTunes and you can get physical copies through Amazon.
WCT: My personal favorite, "Near You Always," was not on the Greatest Hits.
Jewel: That is one of my favorites, too. I was torn. I wanted to my favorites but I will have to do that later.
WCT: With songs like "Intuition," do your fans not want more dance songs from you?
Jewel: I don't think so. It seems like my hardcore fans have enjoyed the whole process. My dance album didn't come as a surprise to my fans because they saw me experimenting. Like with the song "Jupiter," I made this really pop video with my friend Matthew Rolston then I got into remixing with my This Way album. I was experimenting with beats and talking a lot about it to my fans. They were watching me lean toward this so the dance record came as no surprise to them. I think it came as a surprise to casual fans or to media who are not generally fans at all. They just review records so not keep up with what is going on with an artist personally.
It is funny when I went through iTunes when I was looking at what hits to include on the record I was surprised that "Intuition" was my most downloaded song. I thought it would be "You Were Meant For Me" but it wasn't. It was interesting. You never know. A lot of my fans came to me on Twitter, they call themselves E.D.A.s through "Intuition" and I just forwarded my catalogue. Now they like Pieces of You or some of my back catalogue, even the country songs but they discovered me through "Intuition."
You never know what someone's favorite record will be. For me it has been about developing an audience that will be with me throughout a career. That means growing, changing, and learning. That is something Bob Dylan and Neil Young really taught me.
WCT: Your gay fans have really followed you throughout your career as well.
Jewel: I have always had gay friends and even had a crush on one gay boy in the eighth grade.
WCT: Is your family really having a reality show?
Jewel: Yes, set in Alaska. It is called The Last Frontier. It has been really fun and neat to have my home shown on film. It is a beautiful country. How I was raised was so unique. I am proud of my family and how they still live.
WCT: Would you want to do more reality shows? I know you did Dancing With the Stars and Platinum Hit.
Jewel: Yeah, I totally would consider judging for shows and things like that. I think they are fun and bring credibility to the music industry. For a while there were many people that couldn't sing were getting signed. Now that record labels are involved there are many talented singers out there.
It also shows that if all it took was to be a good singer then there would be a lot more celebrities. It is a difficult job. It takes a lot of different talent.
WCT: They keep asking you to return on The View.
Jewel: I love co-hosting The View. They are really great people. I love hanging out with Barbara Walters! [Laughs]
WCT: Not a bad gig. Usually when an artist releases a greatest-hits package, it is a clean break from the label. What is the future for you?
Jewel: I am not sure. I haven't signed onto a record label yet. I am a completely free agent right now. I haven't decided if I will go with another country album as my next project or if I will do a folk album or children's album.
I know I will never tour or promote a record like I used to before I had a child. That really limits what I am able to offer a label as far as my own resources and promoting. It will be interesting. I just don't want to work like I used to. It is such a tremendous commitment. It is six months of traveling and being on the road. I just don't want to do that with my son right now.
I am not sure if I will be an independent act or not, but I will definitely be making music!
Follow Jewel on the next chapter of her career at www.jeweljk.com .