You Say It's Your Birthday: Jewel

Today is the birthday of singer Jewel (last name:

Kilcher), who was born in 1975 in Homer, Alaska. Known for her rich folky voice

and youthful spirit, Jewel has made waves in the past two years as the singer

responsible for "Who Will Save Your Soul?" and "You Were Meant For Me."

Jewel was raised on a homestead outside of rural Homer without electricity

or running water; she and her siblings were schooled at home in everything from

reading and math to art and music. At the age of six Jewel began performing

on-stage with her parents, and her yodeling routine became a highlight of the

show. When her parents divorced she continued to perform with her dad in bars

and restaurants.

Jewel studied at Michigan's Interlochen Fine Arts Academy

on a vocal scholarship, then moved to San Diego at 18 to figure out what she

wanted to do with her life. After several failed jobs, she began living in her

van and writing songs which she would come to perform in local coffeehouses.

Innerchange CafŽ featured her as a regular musician, and soon the crowds began

growing exponentially. She caught the eye of record execs at Atlantic,

recording much of her debut album, Pieces of You, live at Innerchange.

Despite being produced by Ben Keith (who's worked with Patsy Cline and

Neil Young), Pieces nearly flopped its first time around; VH-1

halfheartedly pushed "Who Will Save Your Soul," but no one was biting. Just

when most record companies would have dropped the album, however, Atlantic

promoted it a second time, and found a niche with Jewel's sweet vocals and

acoustic guitar. Since then her first single has made its mark on the Top 40,

and "You Were Meant For Me" has had a steady stint at Billboard's #1

spot. Jewel continues to tour her record, and plans to make a second album --

perhaps before the end of the year.

Other birthdays: Robert A. Moog,

Daniel Klein (J. Geils Band), Bill Hunt (ELO), Rick Fenn (10cc), "General"

Norman Johnson (Chairmen Of The Board), Jimmy McShane (Baltimora), Junior Waite

(Musical Youth), Simon Gilbert (Suede), Phil Selway (Radiohead), Bigga Don

(R.A.S. Posse), Tim Burgess (Charlatans UK), Jim Mankey (Concrete Blonde), Lars

Frederickson (Rancid) and actress Joan Collins. -- Beth Winegarner