Jewel Kilcher is a leaf that’s fallen too far from the tree. Even though her family is the center of the reality TV show Alaska: The Last Frontier, Jewel did not need a single appearance to gain recognition. In fact, she was already a star when she set foot in the reality television world. Jewel is third generation homesteader, the very lifestyle her grandparents Yule Kilcher and Ruth Weber pioneered after immigrating to Alaska during the tension of the second world war. On her own, Jewel is a singer-songwriter, musician, producer, actress, author, and poet. A decorated singer Jewel has received four Grammy Award nominations and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In this biography, we take a closer look at the life of Jewel Kilcher.
Jewel Kilcher is a multi-talented artist who has had a successful career as a singer-songwriter, musician, actress and author. She has sold over 30 million albums worldwide and received four Grammy Award nominations. Some of her most popular songs include “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me”, “Foolish Games”, “Hands” and “Standing Still”. She also won the sixth season of The Masked Singer as the Queen of Hearts in 2021.
Jewel Kilcher was born on May 23, 1974, in Payson, Utah, U.S. The second child of Attila Kuno “Atz” Kilcher and Lenedra Kilcher, Jewel spent much of her childhood with her brother Shane Kilcher & Atz Lee Kilcher in their family homestead in Alaska. Kilcher had based their life on living close to nature for two generations and Jewel became the third in the line. In those early years, she learned how to hunt, fish, grow crops, and get water from the river. On her early experience, Jewel has gone on to say:
‘We lived far from town. We had to walk 2 miles (3.2 km) just to get to the saddle barn I was raised in… No running water, no heat—we had a coal stove and an outhouse and we mainly lived off of what we could kill or can. We picked berries and made jam. We caught fish to freeze and had gardens and cattle to live on. I rode horses every day in the summer beneath the Alaskan midnight sun. I loved it there.’
A childhood filled with nature was also marked by poverty and abuse. Jewel was only eight years old when her parents divorced. She lived with her father, Atz Kilcher, who was an alcoholic and a Vietnam veteran with PTSD. He would hit her while her mother, Nedra seemed the opposite type who was calm and soft, and never yelled or hit her. Even though Jewel felt loved by her mother at that time, she later realized that her mother was neglectful and manipulative in her own way. Jewel ran away from home at 15 and lived in a cabin by herself, working multiple jobs and hitchhiking to town.
Education & early singing:
Jewel Kilcher’s childhood shaped her singing career in many ways. She started singing and yodeling with her father at a young age, performing at local venues in Alaska to earn money. Jewel attended the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan on a vocal scholarship and studied operatic voice. At the age of 18, she became homeless and lived in a van for a while despite the hardship she pursued her musical passion and moved to San Diego, California, where she performed at coffeehouses.
In 1994, she signed a deal with Atlantic Records, which gave her creative control over her music. Her debut album, Pieces of You, was released in 1995 and initially received little attention. However, after extensive touring and radio airplay, the album became a huge hit and one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, going 12-times platinum. The album featured three hit singles: “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games”, which showcased Jewel’s folk and pop sensibility and emotional depth.
Jewel followed up with her second album, Spirit, in 1998, which was also a commercial and critical success. The album included the songs “Hands” and “Standing Still”, which reflected Jewel’s social consciousness and personal growth. In 1999, she released a holiday album, Joy: A Holiday Collection, which featured traditional and original songs. She also made her acting debut in Ang Lee’s film Ride with the Devil, earning praise for her performance as a Civil War widow.
In 2001, Jewel released her fourth album, This Way, which explored different musical styles and genres. The album featured the singles “Break Me” and “This Way”, which demonstrated Jewel’s versatility and maturity as a songwriter. In 2003, she surprised her fans with a radical change of direction with her fifth album, 0304, which incorporated elements of dance-pop and electronic music. The album was inspired by Jewel’s desire to create a positive and upbeat record in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The album spawned the hit single “Intuition”, which became Jewel’s highest-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2006, Jewel released her first live album, Goodbye Alice in Wonderland, which featured songs from her previous albums as well as new material. The album was intended to be a farewell to her musical persona of Alice, who represented her innocence and naivety. In 2008, Jewel ventured into country music with her sixth studio album, Perfectly Clear, which debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album included the singles “Stronger Woman”, “I Do” and “‘Til It Feels Like Cheating”.
In 2009, Jewel released her first independent album, Lullaby, which consisted of lullabies and children’s songs that she wrote for her son Kase. The album was well-received by critics and fans alike for its soothing and tender quality. In 2010, she released another country album, Sweet and Wild, which featured the singles “Stay Here Forever” and “Satisfied”. In 2013, she released her first greatest hits album, which included duets with Kelly Clarkson and Pistol Annies on some of her classic songs.
In 2015, Jewel released her twelfth studio album, Picking Up the Pieces, which marked a return to her folk roots. The album was a bookend to her 1995 debut album, Pieces of You. The album was inspired by her memoir Never Broken and featured songs that she had written throughout her career but never recorded, as well as new material.
Poetry & Authorship
Jewel is also a published writer, with several books of poetry and memoirs to her name. Her first book of poetry, A Night Without Armor, was released in 1998 and became a bestseller. The book contains more than 100 poems that reflect Jewel’s personal experiences, emotions and observations.
In 2000, she published her first memoir Chasing Down the Dawn, which is a collection of stories and reflections that Jewel wrote while traveling around the world as a musician. The book captures her experiences in different places and cultures, from the Alaskan wilderness to the streets of Paris, from the backstage of a concert to the solitude of a hotel room.
Her second memoir Never Broken, published in 2015, is a New York Times bestseller that covers Jewel’s childhood in Alaska, her rise to fame, her marriage and divorce with rodeo star Ty Murray, and her journey as a mother to her son Kase. The book also shares Jewel’s philosophy of mindfulness and resilience, and how she overcame challenges such as homelessness, anxiety and betrayal.
Jewel Kilcher has also appeared in several television shows and movies, both as herself and as an actress. Some of her television credits include:
I Can See Your Voice (2022): A musical game show where Jewel was a guest panelist.
The Masked Singer (2021): A reality show which features celebrities who perform anonymously in elaborate head-to-toe costumes and are unmasked if they receive the fewest votes.
Alaska: The Last Frontier (2016-2017): A reality show about Jewel’s family and their homestead in Alaska, where Jewel made several appearances.
Fixer Upper Mysteries (2017-2018): A series of mystery movies based on the novels by Kate Carlisle, where Jewel played the lead role of Shannon Hughes, a contractor and amateur sleuth.
Ring of Fire (2013): A biopic about the life of country music legend June Carter Cash, where Jewel played the title role and earned an Emmy nomination for her performance.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2008): A crime drama where Jewel played a singer who was murdered by her husband.
Ride with the Devil (1999): A Civil War drama directed by Ang Lee, where Jewel played Sue Lee Shelley, a young widow who falls in love with a Confederate soldier.
Jewel Kilcher has an estimated net worth of over $30 M. The wealth comes from her spectacular career as a singer-songwriter, author and actor.
Jewel Kilcher is a single mother who has had her fair share of romances. She was in a relationship with actor Sean Penn in 1995 after he spotted her performing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. However, the relationship did not work. On the 7th of August 2008, Jewel married pro rodeo cowboy Ty Murray. The pair remained together for 6 years before getting a divorce on the 2nd of July 2014. During their time of marriage, the pair had a son, Kase Townes Murray who was born on July 11, 2011.
Following the divorce, Jewel returned to her roots in Alaska and has remained unmarried. She has the custody of her son Kasey. And while Jewel is in touch with her father and brother, she is estranged from her mother whom she accused of embezzling over $100 million dollars during her time as her business manager.
Moving on and boyfriend:
Jewel began dating Charlie Whitehurst an American football quarterback in 2015. The pair met through a mutual friend in Nashville. The couple has kept their relationship low-key and private, but they have occasionally shared glimpses of their romance on social media and in interviews. Jewel and Charlie made their relationship Instagram official in January 2016, when Jewel posted a photo of herself with Charlie and actor Robert Patrick at the Leonard Cohen Experience. Since then, they have posted several photos of themselves enjoying various activities together. Jewel has also gushed about Charlie in interviews, calling him a “smart and talented” man who is “very kind”.
Jewel has a stature of 5 feet 5 inches keeping her in the weight range of 51.2 kg to 62.6 kg. Her other measurement such as her waist, bust & hip is not available for now. Jewel Kilcher has a unique dressing style that reflects her personality and music. She often wears dresses that are feminine, colorful, and embellished with beads, sequins, or embroidery. She also likes to accessorize with jewelry, scarves, hats, or boots. She has natural hazel eyes but experimented with different hairstyles and colors over the years, from long blonde waves to short brunette bobs. She has a natural beauty that shines through her outfits and makeup.