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Jewel ventures into self-help territory with new autobiography

With the release of Jewel’s new song “Home to Me,” our anticipation over her next album is at an all-time high. Then she told us she’s knee-deep in an autobiography to be released with the album and, well, that just about did us in.

Although Jewel has released 11 albums since her debut effort in 1995, Pieces of Me will always hold a special place in our hearts. We know every single word to ’90s standards “Who Will Save Your Soul,” “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games,” and will gladly belt them out upon request.

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As such, we’ve been dying of impatience since Jewel gave us the scoop earlier this year on her role with the ReThink: Why Housing Matters campaign and hinted that the independent album she was hard at work on would be a bookend to Pieces of Me.

So when we had the chance to catch up with the ReThink ambassador this week about her heartwarming new song “Home to Me,” we couldn’t resist asking about the album’s progress.

And then this.

“I have 30 songs recorded. I need to either whittle it down or do a double record, which I haven’t yet decided. I’m looking at maybe fall of next year,” she said, “and I’m also writing a book I want to launch at the exact same time, which I’m working on now.”

A potential double record and an autobiography? Doth our ears deceive us? Fortunately, they don’t (doth’nt?).

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The autobiography will be what Jewel describes as a “memoir-slash-self-help book,” focusing on the practical things she did while living on her owns and, at times, in the streets.

“When you move out at 15, you should be in a ditch somewhere pregnant or dead, and I knew that when I moved out. So I did some very conscious things to try and beat the odds and take control of my life and beat the circumstances I was born into.”

But the book doesn’t speak only to people who’ve shared experiences similar to Jewel’s — she insists the advice in her book is applicable to anyone.

“I don’t think you need to be rich or have a lot of therapy or have all these things at your disposal. I really believe we have our own healing in us, and I really think that people can go a long way in that in gaining control and power over their lives,” she said.

Although Jewel has always been an open book when it comes to her often tumultuous journey before finding fame, actually putting her life down on paper proved tricky.

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“It is harder! You know, I’m more of a short-story essayist, so writing with longer arcs as well as just getting bogged down in so much timeline and those types of things has been difficult.”

Besides, she mused with a laugh, it’s not as though her life has exactly been linear.

“My life has been so varied and strange. I mean, depending on which phase [of my life] you drop into… it looks like several different people’s lives,” she said. “It’s hard to kind of make sense of it and get it into so few pages. But it’s been a great experience… I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Given Jewel’s previous track record with publishing — 1998’s A Night Without Armor and 2000’s Chasing Down the Dawn both landed on the New York Times Best Sellers list — we predict this as-yet-untitled work in progress will likewise be a success.

We’re certainly looking forward to it.

As well as to the album, naturally, which Jewel teases “covers the gamut from stream of consciousness to very lyrical and poetic — primarily folksy, the way my first record did as well, but kind of covers genres.” Genres such as country and pop rock, she explains.

Most importantly, both the album and the book will reflect who Jewel is at this phase in her life. “It’s just me. You know, sometimes I’m socially poignant, sometimes I’m poetic, sometimes I’m silly.”

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