Telluride Integrative Wellness Summit: Jewel

Telluride Integrative Wellness Summit: Jewel

Singer-songwriter-philanthropist Jewel is Friday night’s keynote at Telluride First Foundation’s 2nd annual Summit on Integrative Wellness. The event takes place September 9 – 11 at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. Other renowned presenters in the field of health and wellness are Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Agus, Dr. George Pratt, Chris Crowley and Bill Fabrocini, all looking in their different ways at the subject of “Looking Forward, Aging Backward: Frontiers in Health, Wellness & Brain Science.” Jewel will focus on theme through the lens of her own rags to riches story. Please scroll down to listen to her podcast.

Jewel, image, Matthew Rolston.

Jewel, image, Matthew Rolston.

Jewel’s first concert at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House in 2012 sold out online in seven minutes. She gave another SRO performance in 2013, which sold out in 15 minutes. Subsequent concerts at the historic venue also packed the house.

In 2015, Jewel opened the Ah Haa School for the Arts’ annual auction by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” A capella. The audience was over the moon.

And this year, for her much anticipated encore, Jewel once again electrified the Ah Haa crowd, rocking out on an Eddie Vedder Fender Classic Series 50s Stratocaster. (Which then sold, thanks to her efforts, for a whopping $22,000.)

Ask anyone in the greater Telluride community, Jewel is a gem – also now a part-time local.

And Jewel is more than living up to her given name, which always held the promise of a glittering career.

Jewel once again opens the show, this time for the Telluride First Foundation’s upcoming 2nd annual Integrative Wellness Summit. The event takes place Friday, September 9 and runs through Sunday, September 11. The 2016 theme is “Looking Forward, Aging Backward.” Jewel’s personal journey from darkness to light is a case in point, summed up in the tracks of her latest release  “Picking Up the Pieces.”

Over the course of the album, Jewel conveys the emotional turmoil of life during its most difficult and challenging moments, reaching a new intensity level with her music in the process. A singer cannot transmit feelings into listeners without taking a long hard look under rocks and rugs; Jewel’s new release gave her an opportunity to delve deep into her past, to revisit the good and not so good.

In addition to her music, Jewel written children’s books; founded the non-profit Project Clean Water; and she is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “A Night Without Armor” (first published in 1998, but now out of print). Jewel’s latest book, “Never Broken” (New Rider Press, New York, 2015) chronicles her rise from homeless teenager to international music sensation.

On Friday night at the Wellness Summit, Jewel will tell her story through words and music. It is a journey of evolution, maturation, and self-acceptance, with life lessons for us all.


If returning to several songs she had written at a much younger age – not to mention countless moments of introspection – has taught Jewel anything, it is that no matter her place in life now, at her core she is a singer-songwriter with a universal message to share:

“It isn’t just thinking about you,” she explains of her natural-born craft. “It’s thinking about the world and wanting to rise with people. You have a social obligation. You’re aware that there’s more than just you.”

Success as a singer-songwriter was in Jewel’s genetic stew – but the broth simmered for years before coming to a rolling boil.

Grandmother Ruth was an aspiring opera singer who sacrificed her dreams, leaving pre-war Germany to marry a man named Yule she hardly knew so her future offspring would be born free. The couple were among the original pioneers of what was then the Alaska Territory.

Mom and dad enjoyed making records and performing locally; Jewel and her brothers accompanied their parents on tours through native villages. When her parents divorced, she spent more than a half-dozen years touring with her father, starting at age eight.

At 15, Jewel went her own way, performing solo for the first time and earning a vocal scholarship to Interlochen, a private arts school in Michigan where she majored in visual art.

At 16, she wrote “Who Will Save Your Soul.”

Just shy of her 19th birthday, fate kicked into to high gear and Jewel hit pay dirt.

Hard work and heartfelt songwriting, not to mention an exquisitely expressive voice, finally paid off. After a year on the road, “Who Will Save Your Soul” became a major hit. And, with the release of two other hit singles, “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games,” album sales went through the roof.

“With considerably less fuss, [Pieces of You] went on to exceed the sales of Nirvana’s Nevermind, moving a phenomenal 11 million units,” said Blender magazine.

Pieces of You became the best-selling debut release of all time.

Jewel counts among her influences Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Rickie Lee Jones. Bob Dylan and Neil Young – she has opened for them – became mentors, listening to her songs and discussing lyrics with the burgeoning super nova.

The London Times hailed Jewel “the most sparkling female singer-songwriter since Joni Mitchell.”

Blender described her as “rock’s sexiest poet.”

Jewel went on to  earn major music industry awards. She sang at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II. She toured and sang with Merle Haggard and with BB King in England (plus, as mentioned, Dylan and Young). She performed at the White House for President Clinton. To date, Jewel has sold over 30 million albums.

Today Jewel is easily one of the most successful musicians of her generation: a four-time Grammy nominated songwriter, actress, poet, painter, and philanthropist, who has penned hundreds of poignant songs. In fact, with her vast and wide-ranging catalogue rapidly approaching 1000 tunes, all written over the last quarter century, Jewel has become one of the premiere singer-songwriters of our time.

From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, Jewel was hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents,” now enjoying career longevity rare among her peers.

And grandmother Ruth was alive to see her Jewel triumph.

To learn more, listen to Jewel’s podcast.

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