If you are a fan of the Discovery Channel’s reality show Alaska: The Last Frontier, you might have wondered if the singer Jewel is related to the Kilcher family that lives on the homestead. The answer is yes, Jewel is a Kilcher by birth and a descendant of Swiss immigrants who settled in Alaska in the 1940s. Here is everything you need to know about Jewel’s connection to the Kilchers and how it has influenced her life and career.
Jewel’s Parents: Atz and Lenedra Kilcher
Jewel was born on May 23, 1974, in Payson, Utah, as Jewel Kilcher. Her parents are Atz Kilcher and Lenedra Kilcher (née Carroll), who were both musicians and singers. Atz is the oldest son of Yule and Ruth Kilcher, the patriarch and matriarch of the Kilcher clan. Yule and Ruth were Swiss immigrants who came to Alaska in 1936 and 1941, respectively, seeking a better life. They bought a 600-acre homestead near Homer, Alaska, where they raised eight children, including Atz.
Atz followed his parents’ footsteps and became a homesteader, living off the land and raising cattle, horses, and chickens. He also inherited their musical talent and performed with his wife Lenedra in local venues. They had three children: Shane, Jewel, and Atz Lee. Jewel grew up on the homestead, learning how to hunt, fish, farm, and yodel. She also developed a passion for singing and writing songs at an early age.
Jewel’s Childhood: Hardship and Abuse
Jewel’s childhood was not easy, as she faced many challenges and hardships. Her family lived in a one-room cabin with no running water, electricity, or indoor plumbing. They relied on wood stoves for heating and cooking, and used an outhouse for sanitation. They also had to deal with harsh winters, wild animals, and isolation.
Jewel also suffered from abuse at the hands of her father, who was traumatized by his experiences in the Vietnam War and his own abusive upbringing. In her book “The Architecture of All Abundance: Seven Foundations to Prosperity”, Jewel described how her father would beat her and her brothers with a belt, or lock them in a dark closet for hours. She also revealed that he was emotionally abusive, calling her names and making her feel worthless.
Jewel’s mother left the family when Jewel was only eight years old, leaving her father as the sole caretaker of the children. Jewel felt abandoned and betrayed by her mother, who moved to San Diego and pursued a career as a singer and manager. Jewel later accused her mother of stealing millions of dollars from her when she became famous.
Jewel’s Escape: Music and Education
Jewel found solace in music and education, which became her outlets for expression and escape. She started playing guitar when she was 16 years old, after receiving one as a gift from her mother. She also sang at local bars and coffeehouses, earning tips from the customers. She wrote songs about her life experiences, emotions, and dreams.
Jewel also excelled academically, earning a partial scholarship to attend the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, where she studied operatic voice. She graduated in 1992 as one of the top students in her class. She then moved to San Diego to live with her mother and pursue a career in music.
Jewel’s Breakthrough: Pieces of You
Jewel’s big break came in 1994, when she was discovered by a music executive from Atlantic Records while performing at a coffeehouse in San Diego. She signed a recording contract with the label and released her debut album Pieces of You in 1995. The album was a huge success, selling over 12 million copies in the US alone. It featured three hit singles: “Who Will Save Your Soul”, “You Were Meant for Me”, and “Foolish Games”. The album showcased Jewel’s unique voice, poetic lyrics, and folk-pop style.
Jewel became an overnight sensation, earning four Grammy Award nominations and rave reviews from critics and fans alike. She also became a role model for young women who admired her authenticity, independence, and courage. She was hailed as one of the most talented singer-songwriters of her generation.
Jewel’s Career: Diversification and Evolution
Since then, Jewel has released several more albums that have explored different genres such as pop-rock (Spirit), dance-pop (0304), country (Perfectly Clear), children’s music (Lullaby), blues (Picking Up the Pieces), and holiday music (Let It Snow). She has also collaborated with other artists such as Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Kelly Clarkson, Jason Mraz, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, and more.
Jewel has also ventured into other fields such as acting, writing, and philanthropy. She has appeared in several films and TV shows, such as Ride with the Devil, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Masked Singer, and Alaska: The Last Frontier. She has also written several books, including a memoir (Never Broken), a poetry collection (A Night Without Armor), and a children’s book (That’s What I’d Do). She has also founded a non-profit organization called Project Clean Water, which aims to provide access to safe and clean water for people around the world.
Jewel’s Relationship: The Kilchers
Jewel has maintained a close relationship with her father and her extended family in Alaska. She has appeared on several episodes of Alaska: The Last Frontier, where she has helped out with the homestead chores, shared stories and songs, and bonded with her relatives. She has also performed at the annual Kilcher Family Homestead Games, a festival that celebrates the family’s heritage and culture.
Jewel has also reconciled with her mother, after years of estrangement and legal disputes. She has forgiven her for the past wrongs and accepted her as part of her life. She has also expressed gratitude for her mother’s musical influence and support.
Jewel is proud of her Kilcher roots and considers them a source of strength and inspiration. She has said that growing up on the homestead taught her valuable lessons about survival, resilience, creativity, and compassion. She has also said that she hopes to pass on these values to her son Kase, whom she had with her ex-husband Ty Murray, a professional rodeo cowboy.
Jewel is indeed related to the Kilchers, as she is the daughter of Atz Kilcher and the granddaughter of Yule and Ruth Kilcher. She is part of a large and talented family that has made a mark in Alaska and beyond. She is also a successful and versatile artist who has touched millions of people with her music and message. She is a living proof that one can overcome adversity and achieve greatness with passion and perseverance.