Jewel‘s career spans nearly 30 years, but before she burst into the scene in 1996 with “Who Will Save Your Soul,” the singer lived in a van — out of choice.
“I was homeless,” she told StereoGum, explaining, “I was living in my car because I wouldn’t have sex with my boss. I refused to be leveraged and he wouldn’t give me my paycheck and I couldn’t pay my rent and I started living in my car.”
“And then my car got stolen and I was homeless because of that, because I wouldn’t bang a boss,” she said. “It cost me a lot, but it won me myself. It won me my humanity. I’m so proud of that decision.”
So, when the “Hands” singer was approached with a record deal, Jewel said she hesitated.
“I wasn’t optimistic that fame would be good for me,” she explained. “I was… soberly aware of the fact that I had a lot of emotional baggage. It’s a recipe for what we’ve seen all too often in the music industry. Substance abuse or death, or unhappiness, all of which were unacceptable. ”
That led to Jewel promising herself to commit to being a “happy, whole human” and focus on “art over fame” if she signed the deal — and she did. Jewel also committed to continue standing up for herself, which led to her being “kicked out of the radio station” whenever a jock directed a sexist joke at her.
“I wouldn’t take s***,” she remarked. After a DJ called her “a large-breasted woman from Alaska,” Jewel recalled firing back, “You must be the small p**** man I’ve heard so much about from South Carolina.”
Jewel added she doesn’t regret those choices because she was “fighting for my humanity, for my psychology, for my happiness.”
Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.