30 Days of Truth: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Dear Jewel,
You and your music have gotten me through some tough ass days.  When I think about a band or artist who has helped me get through tough times, I think about when my toughest times were. I hit rock bottom when my first husband and I separated, and subesquently, I lived as a single mom for four years in my mom’s house (1994-1998).  I had a baby girl (same birthday as you!), and I lived in my mom’s basement in Springfield, Virginia (a DC suburb) while I put my life back together..  A long time fan of the DC music scene, I remember when you first played at the 9:30 ClubPieces of You was released in 1995, and Who Will Save Your Soul was always on the radio. People told me I looked like you in that video with the girl with a guitar singing in the bathroom.

Jewel in the video for Who Will Save Your Soul
me in 1997

Your voice caught my attention, and your story intrigued me.  Like you, I had lived in my car before. I knew what it was like to be broke.  I knew what it was like to struggle.  I listened to your first album over and over and sang along to every track. I knew all the words by heart.  Who Will Save Your Soul made me think about how we choose to live our daily lives.  Pieces of You pointed out interesting parts of human nature.  You Were Meant For Me was simple yet expressed the pain of heartbreak.

Previously a granola-type person who didn’t shave or wear makeup, I started getting my hair highlighted, wearing makeup, and shopping for a professional wardrobe as I struggled to make ends meet as a single mother.  As I learned to enhance my natural beauty, people kept telling me I looked so much like you.  Being compared to you is a high compliment!  I remember crashing the 1996 MTV Pre-Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC with a girlfriend, and reporters kept asking me if I was Jewel.

Spirit came out on CD, and I moved to Reno, NV in 1998.  Down So Long, What’s Simple is True, Deep Water, and Hands were instant favorites. Again, I loved to sing along with every song.  I’d moved to Reno with a guy, and a few months later, it fell apart (long story).  I met my husband there in 1998 and worked as a teacher for three years supporting my daughter.  We were best friends, and then he stepped up to the plate and asked me to marry him. Shortly thereafter, we got married and had a little girl together in 2000.  Your music inspired me to listen to my heart.  What’s simple is true – those words are very true.

In 2001, we moved back to VA so my husband could attend law school.  9/11 happened, and your song, Hands, became one of the songs being played to inspire people.  This Way was released.  Jesus Loves Me, Break Me, This Way, and Standing Still  were my favorites.

From that point on, things in my life have been on an upward trajectory.  As you and your music continued to evolve, I’ve always been inspired to be “the kind of woman I’d want my daughters to be.”  In 2010, I wrote this blog entry and ended it with lyrics from your song, You Are What You Are. 

I play guitar, and I love playing your songs.  I’ve seen you performing live many times including at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, S.Lake Tahoe,CA, and Bass Performance Hall in Ft Worth, TX. Your poetry and song lyrics continue to enrich my life and inspire me to be gentle with myself, to find beauty in the world all around me, and to follow my intuition for it will surely lead me in the right direction.  My deepest gratitude for you and your music.  Thank you Jewel!

Susanne Nelson


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