Alaska-grown artist Jewel talks music, motherhood ahead of her August performance

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - In an upcoming summer musical festival in Alaska, one of the most renowned musicians to come from Alaska will return for her first show in years.

“It’s been a while, I don’t know. I’m bad at knowing. But before my son was born, and he’s 6 now,” Jewel said.

Jewel Kilcher, better known on stage simply by her first name Jewel, was raised in Homer, Alaska, and grew up with her father on a homestead.

The last time the singer was in the state was in 2016, when she visited and appeared on an episode of the reality TV series “Alaska: The Last Frontier” which features the Kilcher family.

This August, Jewel will again be returning to Alaska, only this time she’ll be headlining the Salmonfest music festival in Ninilchik.

Her most recent album, “Picking Up the Pieces,” was released in 2015, and Jewel said she may play some new music at Salmonfest.

“I’ll probably do new music. I don’t have a band, it’s literally just me and my guitar on stage. I don’t tend to do set lists. I like to talk to the audience, see what kind of mood they’re in,” she said.

In addition to playing at Salmonfest, Jewel said she will be staying in the state for a whole month, primarily to have her son spend time with her father in the place where she grew up.

“I made it a point of coming home for a month this year so that my son can start learning skills that I think Alaska uniquely has to offer, which is self-reliance, learning intrinsic self-esteem […] hard work, learning to be self-motivated, the work ethic […] the values that I learned growing up in Alaska,” Jewel said.

Jewel said her son gets presents just being at a venue or staying at a hotel room. “He thinks he gets presents just for being alive, which I think is horrible,” Jewel laughed.

She says right now she’s working on several entrepreneurial ventures so that she can avoid being a touring mom. One of these ventures, Jewel said, included helping people deal with depression and anxiety through meditative methods which she details on her website.

While she said that she'll always be a musician, Jewel said that she was exploring alternatives due to issues with the music industry. “The music industry is so disrupted. It’s very hard to make money making records unless you’re touring, which as a single mom is not the most exciting prospect,” Jewel said.

Due to this, Jewel said she hopes to explore other avenues that would allow her to work more remotely and be more grounded for her son’s sake.

When I asked if she would be interested in moving back to Alaska some day, she laughed, saying “I’ve got to say, the gloomy winters on the homestead are not, you know, I'm not dying right now to do it. The summers, however, keep calling me.”

During her busy schedule, Jewel said she is often unplugged, however she said Lorde and Macklemore were some artists making her own listening playlists recently.

In addition to some newer artists, Jewel said Bob Dylan was an influence to her personally, as the two formed a friendship after she opened for him while she was a struggling artist living in San Diego.

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