During the 1990’s music was a very eclectic scene. The record charts were filled with pop music, grunge rock and bubblegum boy and girl bands. Jewel Kilcher was different and a welcome change. She came on to the scene when she recorded her first album at just 20 years old. Her style as a songwriter and musician was the perfect blend of contemporary folk music and pop music. She emerged on the pop charts as well as adult contemporary charts. She transitioned her career into country music, co-writing and performing music, acting and publishing books. Jewel has received many award nominations and has won several music awards throughout her career. She’s sold more than 30 million albums. She’s achieved a net worth of $14 million. Jewel continues to contribute to the causes closest to her and believes strongly in giving back. Here’s how Jewel achieved a net worth of $14 million.
Growing Up in Alaska
Jewel Kilcher was born in Payson, Utah on May 23, 1974 to Lenedra and Attila Kuno “Atz” Kilcher. Her dad was studying at Brgham Young University. The couple already had a son Shane. When Jewel was young, the family relocated to Atz’s homestead near Homer, Alaska. Atz’s grandfather emigrated from Switzerland and founded the homestead which comprised of 770 acres. Before Jewel’s parents divorced in 1981 they welcomed a second son Atz. Jewel also has a half brother whom she remains close with.
Growing up in rural Alaska had a big effect on Jewel. She would say that she never felt that she was a feminist but where she grew up women did what they had to do for the family. Documented in the Discovery Channel’s “Alaska: The Last Frontier”, Jewel and her family had no heat and no running water and were miles away from the nearest town. When her parents divorced Jewel stayed with her father and brothers. She and her dad had a close bond with music. Her dad taught her how to yodel and play the guitar. They performed at Alaskan taverns, roadhouses and hotels until Jewel went to college. She received a scholarshiop to Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan where she studied opera and guitar and had classical training. Jewel started writing songs and performed in local coffee houses. After graduating, Jewel moved to San Diego, California. In San Diego, Jewel worked in coffee houses where she would perform her music. She mostly lived out of a van while sometimes working two jobs to make ends meet as she followed her dream of becoming a songwriter and musician. Inga Vainshtein discovered Jewel in 1993 performing at San Diego’s The Inner Change Cafe and Java Joes and was able to get her demo to Atlantic Records.
Music Career and More
Jewel recorded her debut album “Pieces of You” at Neil Young’s ranch using his band as a back up. Part of the first album was recorded at the ranch’s studio while some singles were recorded live at The Inter Change Cafe. The album was an instant success with top 10 hits including “You Were Meant For Me”, “Who Will Save Your Soul” and “Foolish Games”. The album would win many major nominations and awards including the San Diego Music Award, the MTV Video Award, the Grammy Awards and Billboard Music Awards. During the late 1990’s Jewel was one of the most popular artists on the radio. In 1998 she sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXII. She also published a book of poetry “A Night Without Armor” . Soon after Jewel released her second studio album “Spirit” which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Charts and sold 3.7 million copies in the United States. In 1999 Jewel made her acting debut in Ang Lee’s western “Riding With the Devil” co-starring with Tobey McGuire. She released a holiday album that year, “Joy: A Holiday Collection”. The following year Jewel published a collection of diary entries from when she grew up in Alaska, “Chasing Down the Dawn”.
Jewel would continue to record a total of 14 studio albums including “This Way”, “0304”, “Goodbye Alice In Wonderland”, “Perfectly Clear”, “Lullaby” and her self produced “Picking Up the Pieces”. In addition to her solo career, Jewel has had several collaborations and has created music for film soundtracks. In 2007 her music video “Quest For Love” was featured in the movie “Arthur and the Invisibles”. That year she teamed with Jason Michael Carroll in “No Good In Goodbye”, and she performed an acoustic concert at Boston’s South Station. Jewel recorded “Make It Last” with R & B’s Tyrese. She recorded “Stay Here Forever” for the film “Valentine’s Day” soundtrack. In 2012 Jewel played June Carter Cash in the Lifetime Movie Channels’s “Ring of Fire”. When Atlantic Records didn’t renew her contract, Jewel made her first country album, “Perfectly Clear”, with Valory Records. Her single “Stronger Woman” reached #13 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart. Along with writing and performing country music, Jewel continued to act and write. She published her memoir “Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story” in 2015. She also appeared opposite Rob Lowe in “The Lyon’s Den” and helped “roast” Lowe at a Comedy Central event in 2016. Jewel appeared in Hallmark Channel’s 2017 movie “Framed For Murder: A Fixer Upper Mystery” and created and executive produced the 2019 documentary “Lost In America” to raise awareness for the homeless of youths in the United States. She recorded “No More Tears” for the documentary.
Jewel had a challenging yet empowering experience growing up in rural Alaska. She has a great relationship with her father whom she credits for helping her expand and grow her music career. She remains close with her three brothers. Unfortunately, Jewel is estranged from her mother who was once her business manager. As her music career took off fast while she was young, Jewel quickly became popular. She dated actor Sean Penn in 1995. She wrote a song for his film “The Crossing Guard” and Penn followed Jewel on her tour that year. Jewel dated pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray for 10 years before they married in 2008. The couple had a son, Kase, who was born in 2011 but sadly divorced in 2014. Jewel and Ty Murray sold their 1,781 square foot home in Hollywood Hills for $1.9 million in 2009. While married they lived on a 2,000 acre cattle ranch in Stephenville, Texas. More recently Jewel purchased a home in Nashville, Tennessee for $1.3 million.
Throughout her life, Jewel has attached herself to many charitable causes. With her fame and her money, she strongly believes in giving back. For many years she served with her mother and brother, Shane, on the board of Higher Ground for Humanity, even donating part of her income to the charity. The charity focus on education and sustainable improvements to those in need and formed alliances with like minded charities while holding benefits to fund the cause. In 2006 Jewel was a major supporter for Lifetime’s “Stop Breast Cancer For Life” and was the honorary chairperson for Washington DC’s “Help the Homeless Walk”. Along with many other singer/songwriter celebrities, Jewel supported the 2008 “Project Clean Water”. In 2013 Jewel was named Ambassador for the “ReThink: Why Housing Matters” initiative.