NEW YORK — Don't be fooled by the new Jewel — she says she's still a poet at heart. While she promotes her latest album 0304, she's also plotting her next volume of poetry, which threatens to be even sexier than her recent makeover, as well as a new movie, which she plans to act in as well as produce.
"When I started [this record], a lot of the lyrics came out of poems I've written recently," Jewel said a few weeks ago. "Poems are very different than songs, and my poetry generally has been a lot steamier than my songwriting, for some reason. I never realized that until this record" (see "Jewel Bites Into A Musical Pickle-And-Peanut Butter Sandwich").
Jewel even had a poem-turned-song rejected by Santana because of its sexual angle. "I originally wrote ‘Yes U Can' for Santana," she said of the 0304 song that asks, "Would u like 2 take a ride?/ All u have 2 do is come inside." "It was too coquettish for him."
Unlike her million-selling plus collection of poetry, "A Night Without Armor," which went into 15 printings and landed on the New York Times bestseller list for 16 weeks, Jewel said that her latest volume will be leaner, containing more recent and more adult material.
"I left a lot of poems out of my last book because small children were going to read it, and this book is going to be a lot more [illicit]," she said. "In my first book, I really tried to include a lot of my early writing. Poetry can be really inaccessible to kids. It's kind of a scary thing because you usually read [Edgar Allan] Poe and things that are hard to get into, and I really felt like it was important to make it accessible, readable. I wanted to not alienate kids that were reading it, and I wanted to make them feel like they could write as well."
This time around, Jewel is aiming for a different audience — lovers. "It's just going to be love poems, so I hope it's going to be a gift book, like something everyone gives to their boyfriend or girlfriend," she said, noting that it would be nice to have the volume finished and out in time for Valentine's Day.
In the meantime, the singer/poet is also looking to expand her acting resume beyond her debut in Ang Lee's Civil War drama "Ride With the Devil." Jewel procured a script last year called "Wave," an ensemble piece that centers on the reunion of a mother and her estranged son in a small island town.
"It's a pretty serious film, but it's written well," said Jewel. "It's pretty lighthearted [and] at the same time, it tackles some very serious subjects. It's about a young male character's relationship with his mom. [She] went to jail to protect him from his father, and when she gets out, their relationship unfolds. He realizes that things weren't quite as they seemed, and it's about them working their relationship out."
Jewel plans to play the male character's girlfriend, and she said her production company is currently talking to Goldie Hawn about directing the flick. "We're trying to get the deal made," she said. "It's really a much different kind of business. It takes a lot of time to get things done."
The singer envisions the mother's role being played by a Shirley MacLaine-type. As for the male lead, she said she's pretty torn about the casting. "There's a lot of great mysterious brooding young actors right now."
Don't look for Jewel on the big screen anytime soon, though. What with promoting her album and planning a fall tour, she said that she barely has time to finish the projects she's already started, let alone find new ones.
"I look at scripts all the time," she said. "It's really hard for me to find something really good. You either want over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek action, or you want it to be really good storytelling. And it's hard for me, with the schedule I have, to find the right script I feel really good about moving forward on."