Best-selling singer-songwriter Jewel's career as a versatile pop, adult contemporary, and country music recording artist led to a second outlet as a television personality and outspoken activist. She was born Jewel Kilcher, and raised in rural Homer, AK, where she showed an early talent for singing and regularly accompanied her folk musician/music teacher father onstage at venues. Her musicianship was further nurtured with opera training at the famed Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, after which Jewel joined her mother in San Diego and quickly built up a local following with regular coffeehouse performances of her original material. When the bohemian young folkie became the object of a record label bidding war, she ultimately signed with Atlantic and released her 1995 debut Pieces of You which spawned mega hits "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and "You Were Meant for Me." The album spent nearly two years on the Billboard charts and sold over 12 million copies, making Jewel one of the most popular of the era's flood of guitar-wielding female singers. Despite the success of her folksy pop debut, the barely 20-year-old artist was anxious to explore wider musical territory and followed up with such diverse titles as the dance-oriented 0304, the Christmas album Joy: A Holiday Collection, and spoken word album of original poetry Night Without Armor. Jewel maintained a steady fan following into the new millennium, leveraging her celebrity to boost children's and homeless-related charities and co-founding Higher Ground for Humanity, a non-profit dedicated to making safe drinking water available in developing countries. The respected artist was also tapped to rate up-and-coming singers as a guest judge on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) and served as host-turned-judge on its country music counterpart, "Nashville Star" (USA, 2003-07; NBC, 2008). Jewel joined in the reality TV adventures herself as a fearless participant in "Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race" (ABC, 2007) and "Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge" (CMT, 2007), alongside her rodeo champ husband Murray. In another successful artistic shift, Jewel made her way to number one in the Billboard Country charts with "Perfectly Clear" (2008) and followed up with a high profile presence as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars" (ABC, 2005-) the following year, alongside fellow competitor Murray. Jewel continued her acting career in a TV movie directed by indie cult favorite Allison Anders, the musical biopic "Ring of Fire" (2013). Jewel played June Carter Cash opposite Matt Ross as Johnny Cash and X bandleader John Doe as A.P. Carter. In July 2014, Jewel and Ty Murray announced their separation. The following year, Jewel released the album Picking Up the Pieces, a return to the folk-pop sound of her debut on the 20th anniversary of its release, and published her second memoir, Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story
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