Sweet and Wild, out tomorrow, might be Jewel’s latest album released under the country music banner, but don’t expect the 36-year-old singer and songwriter to stylistically pigeonhole herself.
All you need to do is look at her nine-album catalogue to truly appreciate her diversity: there’s the folkish-pop sound of her 1995 12-million selling debut Pieces Of You; the dance-rhythm orientation of 2003’s 0304; and last year’s intimately stark, acoustic Lullaby.
“I see it all as the same,” Kilcher told Metro Saturday from Florence, Ind., where she’s partway through a tour that won’t hit Canada until 2011.
“To me it seems so natural: If you go into your closet, you might own sweatpants and a business suit and golfing clothes — but they all belong to the same person.
“It’s a three-dimensional reflection of me. I’m pissy, acerbic and sarcastic, but I’m also very earnest, sincere and poetic.”
And make no mistake: it’s Jewel who calls the shots, ever since the mind-boggling success of Pieces Of You — propelled by the Top 10 hits Foolish Games, Who Will Save Your Soul and You Were Meant For Me — made her financially comfortable for life.
“My first album really gave me freedom because it made me so much money that I never really had to have a hit again,” she explains. “And so, instead of feeling all this pressure — like how am I going to follow this up and have bigger hits — it took pressure off me.
“I felt like I can just have fun for the rest of my life,” she laughs. “As long as I’m smart with my money.”
So Jewel has a simpler objective these days. “My goals in life are to hopefully have longevity and continue to focus on the craft and get better at writing.”
For Sweet and Wild, Jewel took a different tact: she invited some of Nashville’s top songwriters to write at the Texas ranch she shares with her rodeo champion husband, Ty Murray.
“Stay Here Forever (her current single) and What You Are are two songs I got from those sessions,” she says.
Jewel says the 11 songs on Sweet and Wild “showcase both sides of my personality.”
“I like to read poetry and sit under trees, but I also ride my motorcycle, shoot guns and smoke a cigar if there’s a good one around.”