Big Stars 2016 Concerts close with a Jewel | ParkRecord.com

Big Stars 2016 Concerts close with a Jewel

Park City Institute's 2016 St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights concert series is ready to call it a summer, but has one last gleaming gem up its sleeve — Jewel.

The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter will perform Saturday, Sept. 3, at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater.

Jewel, who has performed in Park City numerous times, is looking forward to her return.

"I love the town," she said during an interview with The Park Record. "I've done indoor and outdoor venues there. The people are lovely. They are warm and make up a great audience for a singer and songwriter."

Jewel promised to play an exciting and mixed set.

"I have an album out called 'Picking Up the Pieces,' so there will be some songs off of there, but I don't ever do a set list," she said. "I like to show up and see what mood the audience is in. I like them to shout out songs."

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That not only keeps the concert exciting for her, but for the audience as well.

"I hate doing the same thing every night," she said. "I find it's great for the audience as well because they get a fresh, live, actual experience instead of a contrived and canned experience."

Jewel is not only known for her award winning music, but also her acting and poetry.

She compiled her diary entries for her autobiography called "Chasing Down the Dawn" in 2000, and recently penned a memoir called "Never Broken" that was published last year.

"I've always been multi-disciplinary," she said. "I studied visual art in school before I started writing songs, but I started writing poetry first, when I was quite young, and then short stories. I started writing songs when I was 16.

"I never have published short stories, but I would love to," she said. "I was pleased about the poetry book ["A Night Without Armor"] and have another one ready to come out."

"Never Broken" was Jewel's first attempt at longform writing.

"It was really scary because I never thought I had the talent," she said. "Even though it was autobiographical, it was still learning how to carry multiple scenes in a longer arc that was more than 350 pages."

She kept calling her editor about those concerns.

"I kept telling my editor that I was no hero and that I was sucking at it or have someone help me," Jewel said. "Then she would tell me every day that I wasn't sucking and I should keep going."

Revealing more of her life wasn't difficult for the songwriter, because she prides herself in being a transparent writer, who was inspired by Charles Bukowski and Anais Nin.

"My mom left when I was 8, and my dad raised us, but he became an alcoholic and was abusive," she said. "It was a really scary and isolating time, and when I looked at pop culture, nothing looked like my life.

"[They all] looked like perfect, happy, beautiful people and I didn't feel perfect, beautiful or happy," she said.

That's when she discovered Bukowski and Nin.

"I know they were odd reading choices for a young girl, but they told the truth and didn't use their art as propaganda to make themselves seem perfect," Jewel said. "I loved that. It wasn't like I wanted to become an alcoholic like Bukowski, it's that I really valued somebody showing their warts and their shortcomings, which were also their beauty."

That's when the singer committed to being truthful in her writing.

"If we don't share what it's like to actually be human and the ways that we're coping, learning and overcoming, then other people who are struggling don't have the ability or opportunity to benefit and will still feel alone in the dark," she said. "So, I think we have a responsibility to be honest, especially in our art.

"For me, everything I write — books, poetry and songs — is an extension of who and what I am and how I see the world," Jewel said. "I think that's what being a singer-songwriter is. It's more than being somebody who writes songs. I think a singer-songwriter is somebody who has an obligation to look at society and talk about what they see and help lift society to some capacity, or at least speak up."

That idea was handed down to Jewel from her mentors.

"I've always loved people who had a strong perspective and an unapologetic willingness to express their opinion," she said. "I love Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Jackson Brown, Merle Haggard, people who wrote unabashedly from their viewpoint. So to be mentored by many of those people was beyond a dream come true."

One more step forward from being truthful is to take action and Jewel has been active in helping the world have access to clean water with her nonprofit Project Clean Water, which has helped install wells in 15 different countries.

"When I was homeless, I had bad kidneys and couldn't afford bottled water," she said. "I thought if we had a hard time with water in America, I can't even imagine what it's like in other countries. So, I promised if I was ever in the position to do something when I wasn't homeless, I would do it."

As far as personal highlights go, Jewel said that's what she wrote the memoir about.

"I kept notes on when I was homeless and my life's mission was not to become a statistic," she said. "It was nature versus nurture and I had received bad nurturing. So, could I renurture myself to get back to my real nature? My life's goal was to find happiness."

Park City Institute's St. Regis Big Stars, Bright Nights Summer Concert Series will wrap up its 2016 season with the award-winning singer and songwriter Jewel at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater on Saturday, Sept. 3. The music will begin at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $45 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.bigstarsbrightnightsconcerts.org.